Ten Commandments for Leading and Planning

1. Large group meetings are the most visible part of the InterVarsity work on campus. Treat them as a tool to channel students into deeper, more committed forms of teaching and training (e.g., small groups, conferences).
2. Use large group meetings to communicate your overall theme for the semester or year. What do you want to accomplish in the lives of those who attend? Be specific. Make sure you know how this semester's theme and weekly topics fit into your Long Range Plan for discipleship training and campus penetration. Let your chapter know where you are going.
3. Make sure you have a clear purpose for each meeting and an outline of what you want to accomplish. Aim for contuity between the meetings. Some topics, however interesting, are just not useful in accomplishing the overall plan. Reserve some vacant dates for flexibility.
4. Pay attention to detail. It makes the difference between a mediocre and a great meeting. This includes: who will pray and for what; a master of ceremonies who has presence, is sincere, flexible and knows the purpose of the meeting; music which fits the theme of the meeting, led by a team of core students; well-rehearsed skits; printed announcements (keep to a minimum); book plugs by people who have read the book (make sure there are copies available for sale); start and end on time. Your attention to detail will communicate care and increase the value of the meeting.
5. Alter the format. Don't plan a long string of speakers. Use media tools. Break up into small groups with core people as leaders (assigned questions). Alternate formal meetings with informal. Some weeks stress body life, others give more time to content. The opposite of creativity is not dullness, but laziness!
6. Use your core both in format and planning. Get their feedback. Use their ideas. Large groups can develop potential leaders. Communicate that the chapter welcomes involvement from everyone. Use them consistently.
7. Recognize different levels of commitment. Don't scare people away by absolutes regarding involvement in chapter life. Rather, always provide opportunities for deeper participation. Because your objective (through the message and format) is to teach and channel, be sure to provide avenues for response. Don't just contribute to their knowledge. Help them grow in action.
8. Someone said that one evidence of God's grace in a group is in how it treats its visitors. Don't be afraid to put them on the spot to welcome them. If possible, have the friend who brought them or a greeter introduce them to the group. Follow up on them, perhaps by having small group leaders call with an invitation to their studies.
9. Expect problems and problem people. God allows them. Have a back-up plan in case a speaker doesn't show.
10. Above all, pray—before, during and after. Rivet yourself to God's work and its principles in planning your objectives and format. He will give you success. (2 Thes. 1:11-12)