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10 Summer Activities To Keep Your Small Group Connected

I just sent an email to all our small group leaders (I do this 3-4 times each month). This week's focus was STAYING CONNECTED THROUGH THE SUMMER. Below is a list of 10 summer activities a small group can use to stay connected. These are specifically created for groups at The Gathering, but you can pretty easily modify the list to fit your church or your community.
Go to a Dragon's Game together. You can buy tickets as a group from the church for the game on July 11.Design a Progressive Dinner. Have appetizers at one house, salad at another, the main course somewhere else and dessert at a final destination.Have a monthly barbecue party.Serve together. Pick a place (Good Neighbor House, St. Vincents, Victory Project, Pirate Packs, Caring Partners International, One Bistro) and sign up to serve as a group one afternoon or evening.Meet up at the Family Movie Night on June 15.Spend a day at King's Island.Work at the church for an afternoon. We have many projects both inside and…
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20 Questions to Build Group Connections

Here is a great exercise for a new group. The instructions are pretty simple. Go around the group giving each person the opportunity to choose one question and answer it honestly. Anyone can follow-up with an opinion or clarifying question (no critiquing each other's answers, though). Once a question has been answered, no one else may answer that question.

If your group is larger, you may want to alter the rule and allow each question to be answered 2 or 3 times. Ideally, each person should end up answering 3-5 questions.

As the leader, pay attention to the conversation. Let the discussion run its course as this is how people in the group build their relationships with one another. You can use these questions, modify them or create your own.

4 Conversations To Grow Your Small Group

Small groups provide the ideal environment for New Testament discipleship. Every picture we have of the early church is painted in the context of relational interaction. The first Christians were always together, always building each other up, always helping one another be formed into the image of Christ.

In your small group, you can facilitate New Testament type discipleship by regularly implementing the four following conversations into your group time:

1. Build authentic relationships.  Caring for one another and building one another up will occur more effectively if everyone in your group feels comfortable with one another. Spend time every time you’re together asking and answering questions about each other. Good questions can often launch your group into fruitful inter-personal discussion. Consider the following ten week schedule for your opening Q&A time:
· Who are your heroes?· What are your strengths?· What unique skills do you have?· What are your most important beliefs?·…

Groups That Play Together Stay Together and Grow Together

Groups that stick together, grow together. Relational growth within a small group context almost always leads to spiritual growth.

As we deepen our connections, our trust in one another grows, allowing us to be more authentic with each other and more open to correction from one another. When that authenticity and correction is prompted from and rooted in God's Word, spiritual fruit is the result.

Groups are often tempted to shortcut the "fun" times because they want to get to the "deeper" study. Unfortunately, without relational connections, most change is either intellectual or surface only and very temporal. Groups that spend time getting to know one another are far more likely to produce long-term, Spirit-prompted life change.

One of the best practices a group can use to get to know one another is simply asking and answering questions. Well-crafted questions have the potential to create laughter, invite introspection and break down walls within the group. I…

Building a Sustainable Small Group

Starting a small group is just step one. Building a group that maintains health over time requires extra effort. Proper structure can lead to sustainability. I recently created this image to illustrate the structure we desire our small groups to build. Key ideas are as follows:

the primary purpose of the group is to learn to love and be loved as Jesus loved us.
members of the group are growing in Christ, caring for one another and together focusing on the mission of Jesus
each meeting includes food, friends, faith and focus
outsiders are welcomed and invited

Below is a brief slideshow to unpack these ideas a little bit more.

How to build a healthy lifegroup from David Rudd

5 Conversations Every Small Group Should Have

Small group gatherings are not business meetings. They need not have rigid agendas or strict time constraints. Although effective groups often follow set curriculum, there are times when they can take a break from their plans and have conversations about their group’s health.

These five questions can be used together or one at a time. They are designed to help groups’ determine their identity, diagnoses their health and develop a plan for the future.
How can we meet one another’s needs? Acts is full of stories about Christians finding creative means by which they can meet each other’s needs. Some even sold their properties and possessions.
The small group is the ideal lab in which we can work out what it truly means to love one another as Jesus loved us. If the greatest love of all is laying down our lives for each other (and it is), then meeting the needs of others in our group should be one of our first and highest priorities.
How can we encourage one another? 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says,…