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Showing posts from October, 2006

A SOLID FOUNDATION

The Leaning Tower of Pisa has foundational issues. Since its initial construction, the tower has leaned due to problems with the foundation and the soil on which it is built.

Everyone understands that anytime we undertake a building project of any size, it is important to initially consider the strength and reliability of the foundation. Otherwise, the building will end up like the Tower, leaning. Or perhaps worse, your building may fall!

As we undertake this exciting process of growing formative, caring, and missional LIFEGroups, we need to be careful to consider our foundation.

By the end of 2006, we will be very close to reaching our goal of having 40 healthy and identifiable LIFEGroups at Calvary. However, if we do not have a strong foundation for our LIFEGroups, we will be unable to see this early success translate into long-term health.

Over the next two months, you will hear a lot about LIFESupport Groups. These are groups specifically designed for you, the LIFEGroup driver. …

Missional Ideas for Your Group

- Contact the Rescue Mission. Both their men's building and their women's building always needs help.

- Volunteer at International Aid.

- Call Hope's Outlet. They need help stocking merchandise, but they can also connect you with people needing to be discipled. They will be passing out free food over the holidays, you can contribute and/or help pass the food out.

- Big Brother/Big Sister.

- Connect with a public school teacher. They can give you plenty of ideas for helping students and showing Jesus' love to their class.

- Adopt a missionary. Our Missions Task Force can give you more info.

- Every member commit to sharing your faith at least once during the week. Pray for each other, hold each other accountable.

- Adopt an oppressed people group for prayer.

- Take on a compassion child.

- Make a financial contribution to a village in a developing country.

- Get Creative!

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Formative: Sunday Questions

After reading each of the seven letters, discuss a single sentence to describe what Jesus praised and to describe what Jesus told the group to repent of.

Here as in nearly all the books of the New Testament which were letters, Jesus speaks to a church rather than to individuals. What do we learn from that?

Which church do you believe Calvary Church is most like and why?

Discuss what you think Jesus would praise in our church and what would He ask us to repent of?

Which church is the best picture of your own spiritual condition and why? What would you like to do about it?

Leading a Discussion

from discipleship journal, here are some helpful hints for leading discussion.

1. Wait out the silence. After you ask a question, don't rush to rephrase or answer it. Allow group members time to think.

2. Watch faces. If you see the wheels turning, invite members to think aloud: "Mike, did you have a thought you'd like to share?"

3. Ask follow-up questions. This draws the speaker out and helps everyone think about the subject more thoroughly. You might ask,
- "What do you mean by that?"
- "In what way?"
- "Why do you think that is?"

4. Know when to contribute. You don't need to do what your group members have already done. If a member has offered a gentle, appropriate correction to a wrong answer, it's not necessary to add to it. If the group has covered a question well and your answer is the same, go to the next question. However, if you have a different answer to offer, do so respectfully. "I thought of it from a differ…

Formative: Read the Bible Together

One way of forming each other is to commit to reading the same Bible passages together. Of course, reading itself is not enough. Formation happens when we start to press and mold one another. If your group is all reading the same passages, you can come together and discuss not just what the words mean, but how they should change you.

Discipleship Journal provides several Bible reading plans. Click the link below to find one that fits your group.

Reading Plans Here





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Caring: Creative Ideas for Group Prayer

1. Take turns having a group member sit in the middle of a circle. Have everyone in the group lay their hands on the person and pray specifically for the issues they are facing right now.

2. Choose a country in the world and spend a week researching that country. As a group pray for the countries' spiritual, political, social, and physical needs. Pray for the missionaries you may know of serving in that country.

3. Have each person share about a person they have contact with that needs Christ. Pray specifically that God will create faith sharing opportunities with those people.

4. Allow time for everyone to quietly pray and meditate. After several minutes share with each other some encouraging things that God brought to mind during the quiet time.

5. Have each person write their name on a card. Pass the cards out to others in the group. Everyone in the group should commit to carrying the card with them all week and praying for the person on the card everytime they remember.

Formative: Points of Interest from Sunday

More Christians disagree on how to interpret the book of Revelation than any other book of the Bible.Your interpretation of Revelation will be determined to a large degree by your understanding of:The relationship of Israel and the Church (Romans 9-11)Daniel's prophetic writing (Daniel 7-9, 12)The Millenium (Revelation 20)The Biblical Story of Creation - Fall - Redemption - Restoration"I've read the last chapter, God wins and so do his people"Revelation 1:19 holds the key to understanding the whole bookWe are just a dot on the toilet paper of eternityAll Church Assignment:Read Revelation 2 and 3. Which of the seven churches best describes us? If Jesus were to speak to us, what would he commend? What would he tell us to repent of?

Formative: Discussion Questions from Sunday

1. If the book of Revelation were removed from our Bible, what difference would it make? How would it affect the Bible's message? How would it affect your life?

2. In the first chapter of Revelation, what indications do you find that this is a book about future events including the end times?

3. Read Revelation 1:7. Why do you think "all the peoples of the earth will mourn" when they see Jesus' second coming?

4. Read Revelation 1:12,13,20. Why do you think God uses a lampstand as a symbol for a church? What does this mean for our church?

5. Read Revelation 1:18-21. What impresses you most about John's description of Jesus? What do you think you will feel when you see Him this way?

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Your Group is Having Success When...

- You run out of time at the end of the meeting

- You are finding ways to spend time together outside of "meetings"

- You call each other when you need help

- You can't wait to get together so you can share something that happened

- You pray together

- You confess to each other

- You don't have a routine

- You have a comfortable routine

- You laugh until you cry

- You cry until you laugh

- You enjoy your group so much you want others to share your experience

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Serve

Help the members of your group be more caring by assisting them in discovering and utilizing their giftedness.

This new booklet can be used by individuals or groups to walk through the process of figuring out giftedness and then finding a place to use it.



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Formative: Discussion Questions from Sunday

1. Read Deuteronomy 6:1-9. Why do so many Christian families not talk about spiritual things during the natural flow of daily life (as commanded in Deut. 6:7)? How could a family intentionally improve this?

2. Read Matthew 18:1-6 and Mark 1:14. Why did Jesus feel so strongly about how children are treated? What are some ways we might cause children to sin or hinder them from coming to Jesus?

3. Read Mark 10:15. What does it mean to receive the kingdom of God like a little child?

4. Read Ephesians 6:4 and Colossians 3:21. What are some ways that parents sometimes exasperate or embitter their children? If parents perceive that their child is carrying bitterness, what should they do about it?

How Can Your Group Serve?

This is exerpted from an on-line blog article.

Read the whole post here.

How do you begin?

* As a small group, consider your “neighborhood.” That could be the place you physically live or the marketplace you are most connected to. Here are some questions to consider: Where do you live? Where do you work? Who is your neighbor? How has God uniquely designed your group to contribute to your neighborhood? What do you have to offer?
* Start small. Plan one project for the semester. Get it on the schedule and ask someone in the group to coordinate.
* Find out if you need any sort of special permission or permit from the community to do your project (check with a zone leader or staff member if you have questions or need help).
* Ask another small group to partner with you.
* Secure the necessary materials.
* Cast the vision to the group. Explain why you are serving and what the expectations are for each member.
* Be sure to take time to debrief after the project. Get every…

Getting Ready to Launch

Many of our groups are re-launching this fall. As you drive your group's meetings, one of the things I am asking of you is that you make an effort to direct your group to maintain a formative, caring, and missional focus. The following ideas might make it easier to accomplish this.

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 li…