Small Groups at First Family
Here at First Family, Small Groups are the hub of our ministry. They're where the real ministry of the church takes place as we study God's Word while supporting and sharing our lives with one another. We believe that meeting together on a regular basis is time well spent. Truly, it's where the "family" in First Family Church really comes through. You can look through our various Small Groups below and sign up for one that's right for you! At the bottom of the page, you'll find helpful Small Groups FAQs.
Small Groups FAQ
A Small Group is a home fellowship made up of 10-16 people who meet weekly to share, study and support one another. A trained leader and host lead each group. An average meeting lasts for an hour and a half.
Small Groups meet on various nights of the week in homes throughout the Ankeny/Des Moines area.
Each Small Group session lasts 9 to 11 weeks. We have Fall & Spring sessions. At the end of each session, you will have the choice of staying in the same group, trying a new group, or even taking a break. Most groups stay together throughout the entire year. Small Groups do not meet June through August.
Joining a Small Group requires a 9 to 11-week commitment to attend weekly meetings and do the homework ahead of time. Obviously, allowances are made for sickness, vacation, work conflicts and other special events, but not much more. This commitment is the key to a strong Small Group. You have the first three weeks to attend the group to make sure it’s a good fit for you.
Most of the studies are based on the previous weekend’s message. Small Groups are built on what we call a “Lecture-Lab” model. Imagine the weekend message as a lecture on Christian living based on the Word of God, and the Small Group as a lab where you get to roll up your sleeves and discuss how the weekend’s message works in real life.
Few things in life are free, and Small Groups are no exception! The cost of Small Groups is the cost of commitment. During the first few meetings, each group will complete a group agreement together. This simple form helps each group discuss their priorities and commitment. You have the first three weeks to decide if your group is a good fit for you.
When you join a Small Group, you’re promising to attend and be prepared each week. It’s this commitment that makes Small Groups work. We realize it’s a big commitment, but it only lasts for 9 – 11 weeks. At the end of each quarter, you have the choice of recommitting for another quarter, trying a new group, or taking a break from Small Groups altogether.
Small Groups are for adults only. (Exceptions can be made for nursing newborns, up to six months.) We leave it up to each Small Group to work out their own childcare. Many Small Groups hire a high school or college student to watch the kids in another portion of the home during the group session. Those with kids share the cost of this. Sometimes it works best for families to share a sitter or to swap childcare with another family whose Small Group meets on a different evening.
When selecting a group, we strongly recommend you choose a group based on its leader-host team and station-in-life, rather than its location. Over the years, we’ve found that groups do best when members share a common station-in-life and other interests with their leaders, hosts, and other group members. In the end, you’ll find it’s worth the drive!
Our groups are divided in the following Station-in-Life groupings: College-age Singles, Singles, Engaged/Young Marrieds, Families with Pre-School, Families with Elementary, Families with Teens, Empty Nesters, Retired. Any Adult. Remember, these Station-in-Life groupings are intentionally kept fuzzy and are meant to help you self-select an appropriate group for you. They are not intended to box you in.
If you have any questions (especially if you are new to First Family Church), please don’t hesitate to call the church, and we will gladly assist you. Keep in mind that it might take two or three groups before you find the perfect fit, but don’t worry, you’ll find it!
Before each Small Group quarter begins, there are three ways to sign up for a group – online, at our weekend services, or by calling the church office during the week before each of our Small Group Sessions. During the weekend services, Small Group leaders are available at the Connect Center to help you choose a group and answer any questions. There are two sign-up weekends before the beginning of our Fall Quarter in September, and two sign-up weekends before our Winter Quarter in January.
Yes, our High School and Middle School ministries both offer small groups for students. Our High School ministry offers small groups available for freshman through seniors. The Junior High ministry offers small groups available for 6th-8th grade students. Although these groups are not included on this website, they are very important to our church. For more information about Middle School or High School groups, please contact our Student Ministry Office at 515-965-8300, or email our Youth Director, Jake Walton.