Guys and girls small groups can be a tricky subject to navigate. It’s so much easier to get people to open up and talk if they don’t have to worry about what the other gender thinks. But students can also glean new perspectives and new conversations can be generated rather than the same old ones rotating. If you’re looking to combine guys and girls for small group time, here are some things to keep in mind.
Topic is very key in situations like this. There are just some things that guys and girls don’t need to talk about together because the Bible holds them to different standards. Marriage and intimacy are great examples of that. While they’re good to discuss in large group settings, small groups involve discussion and that’s where things can get tricky. Things such as the Holy Spirit, salvation, humility, and such are all perfectly fine because the standards and ideals are held consistently throughout the Bible, no matter the gender. Those are topics that can generate new insights and perspectives on what one gender sees compared to another.
Consider timing. Timing is so key because it can make or break the conversations. Perhaps it’s best if your small groups remain gender seperated most of the time but once a month they combine to throw in a twist. Maybe you want to do it year round, or once a semester. If you’re transitioning from gender separated groups to mixed groups, baby steps might be a better answer than jumping in full throttle. If you time the frequency of combining guys and girls just right, you’ll have the best opportunities for impactful and meaningful conversations.
Respect is a point to remember when thinking about mixing groups. How well do your guys handle their small group time? Do girls spend the entire time talking and getting off subject? If respect for others won’t show up in the group, perhaps it’s not the best idea to combine. What will the environment look like when you create mixed groups? Perhaps there will be more distractions than discussions. If one group already has enough trouble focusing on the discussion with their own gender, how will they act when combined? Respect can also make or break a group because if some people don’t feel respected, they won’t want to come back.
Mixed groups can be a challenge, but they can also be so rewarding. Keep these three tips in mind when thinking about mixing guys and girls small groups and you’ll reap the best fruit!