5 Ways Facebook Can Improve Your Small Group

Talking badly about Facebook, and piously lamenting about what a time-waster it can be is pretty easy. I know if I'm not careful social media can be a big time-waster for me

However, that doesn't mean everything about Facebook is evil.


In fact, we should probably recognize that half the world is on Facebook; and probably far more than half our church is on Facebook. So instead of condemning Facebook, let's try to think about how it can be beneficial.

A while back I put together a PRIVATE (that's important) Facebook group for my small group. I invited/added all the members of our group (including those who aren't quite as faithful with their attendance), and then I simply sat back and watched to see how we used it.

The following list is based mostly on the things for which I've seen our group use Facebook. A few of the items I've added as my own ideas. Here are FIVE WAYS FACEBOOK CAN IMPROVE YOUR SMALL GROUP:
  • Remind people of upcoming events. We're having a party this Sunday and the host has used Facebook to give directions and remind people what they should bring.
  • Coordinate missional activities. Every month we serve together at a soup kitchen. We use Facebook to let each other know who will be there and who will be missing.
  • Share prayer requests. Since the group is private, people feel free to share things with each other that they might not share with all their Facebook friends. Facebook's structure allows people to respond and encourage.
  • Encourage one another. Sometimes things are shared when we're together that require some "follow-up encouragement." Facebook is a great venue for that.
  • Sharing teaching material. If I want to, I can send out each week's discussion questions ahead of time so the group can be thinking through the material before we ever come together.

Undoubtedly, we'll continue to see more and more venues for social networking in our lifetime. For now, though, Facebook is king. So tame the beast and use it to your benefit. If successful, you'll grow your community!

Developing a Balanced Focus in Your Group



I have always been a strong advocate for balanced groups. I believe groups are best aligned for growth when the members of the group share a formative, caring, and missional focus. The following ideas might make it easier to begin developing that kind of shared focus.

1. Build authentic relationships. Caring for one another and forming one another will happen much 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 using the following questions with each other over a several week period:

· Who are your heroes?

· What are your strengths?

· What unique skills do you have?

· What are your most important beliefs?

· What things do you value?

· What is the mission of your life?

· What things always keep your interest?

· What do you dream about doing?

· What are the key events of your life?

· What is something we need to know about you?

Modify the questions for your group, or use completely different ones. The key is to spend time getting to know one another a little bit better.


2. Set aside time for "Gift Discovery". Allow time on a regular basis to talk about the gifts and talents you see in each other. Discuss how each person might be able to use their gifts to serve in the church as well as to serve those in the world around them. Encourage each person to commit themselves to serving, and hold one another accountable for the commitments made. A healthy group will also use this opportunity to help people realize when they are over-committed or perhaps serving in a venue they are not gifted for.

3. Encourage application. When you study the Bible, take time to talk about how the truths will practically impact people's lives. Allow each person the opportunity to discuss the things in their life they need to change. Take time as a group to follow up on commitments made.

4. Talk about being missional. Schedule time when your group can get together to do something which will show Christ's love to your community. Take time to call Rescue Missions, Habitat for Humanity, thrift stores, or local schools to discover opportunities and schedule a time for your group. If you can’t set a time when you can serve together, take a week off from your meeting and use that time to get out and show Jesus’ love.

6 Things Every Leader Must Do

Not everyone can be a leader all the time, however, at some point in their life most people engage in leadership. When you find yourself leading, consider these six "must-do" activities.


Establish a clear direction. I did not say "choose a direction" or "proclaim a direction". A good leader does not set agendas himself, he observes and listens to his followers/team and establishes a direction which reflects everyone's gifts and passions. Before you can be a vision-caster, you must learn to be a vision-collector.

Explain with precision the roles of those you are guiding. Most people simply want to know what is expected of them. They want to know how they will be evaluated, and they want to know what they can do to help accomplish the "win." While a leader may fully succeed in getting the right people in the right seats on the bus, if he doesn't clearly communicate the expectation, he will fail. It should also be noted that a leader can never get his people into the right roles if he doesn't know his people's gifts, passions, and dreams. True leadership demands a great deal of listening and observing.

Equip completely with the training and resources necessary to accomplish the team's shared vision. A good leader recognizes tht everyone with whom they work has an important role. They must equip them to accomplish that role. Equipping includes training and providing resources, but it also includes assisting someone in maximizing their strengths and minimizing their weaknesses. A good leader recognizes that everyone they lead is unique and therefore they learn to develop creative approaches when equipping different people.

Enable accomplishment by unleashing people in their areas, by giving them necessary authority, and by regularly advocating their efforts in public. Nothing can be more disheartening for someone than to have a leader who doesn't enable them to accomplish their tasks. As a leader, if you can't unleash someone to do a job, it is an indictment against your leadership style. If you aren't willing to give someone the authority to do a job, the likely reason is that you haven't capably equipped them. On the other hand, nothing is more empowering than a leader who not only unleashes people to work, but takes every opportunity to publicly proclaim how much they value and trust the work of those they lead. A leads who does this will have followers who accomplish much.

Encourage perseverance by regularly collecting updates and providing assistance when asked. Those you lead will become discouraged, they will have setbacks. There will be times when they want to quit. You can intervene in those moments and encourage them to carry on. If you step in at the right time and help them to refocus on the ultimate goal, you may keep them from quitting. But you'll never know if they are wearing down if you aren't regularly checking in with them. However, don't check in just to "monitor their progress". Be certain they understand and believe that you are checking in because you want to see them succeed. "Progress reports" should be an exciting and anticipated time, not a dreaded practice. You'll set the tone, and by doing so, you'll create a culture of perseverance.

Evaluate the person's work by rewarding effective accomplishment and by correcting issues which may have led to incompletion. Simply put, "those who have done well with a small thing should be given more. And those who has struggled with a large thing should be given less." good evaluations will help you identify the proper load for all your team members.



COMMUNITY vs. CONSUMING



Some of the greatest blessings we can receive in life, this side of heaven,
are given us through the medium of COMMUNITY...

but only when we are willing to submit ourselves to a COMMUNITY
as a contributor rather than a consumer.






4 Simple Practices Which Will Enhance Every Small Group

No matter what you are doing in your group, the following four practices can help you become a more connected and formative community. Think about way you might implement these four habits into your group life:


1. Build authentic relationships.
Caring for one another and forming one another will happen much 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?
  • What things do you value?
  • What is the mission of your life?
  • What things always keep your interest?
  • What do you dream about doing?
  • What are the key events of your life?
  • What is something we need to know about you?

Modify the questions for your group, or use completely different ones. The key is to spend time getting to know one another a little bit better.

2. Set aside time for "Gift Discovery".
Allow time on a regular basis to talk about the gifts and talents you see in each other. Discuss how each person might be able to use their gifts to serve in the church as well as to serve those in the world around them. Encourage each person to commit themselves to serving, and hold one another accountable for the commitments made. A healthy group will also use this opportunity to help people realize when they are over-committed or perhaps serving in a venue they are not gifted for.

3. Encourage application.
When you study the Bible, take time to talk about how the truths will practically impact people's lives. Allow each person the opportunity to discuss the things in their life they need to change. Take time as a group to follow up on commitments made.

4. Talk about being missional.
Schedule time when your group can get together to do something which will show Christ's love to West Michigan. Many opportunities exist for a group to serve together. You can call the Rescue Mission, Habitat for Humanity, Hope's Outlet, or other places to schedule a time for your group. If you can’t set a time when you can serve together, take a week off from your meeting and use that time to get out and show Jesus’ love.