Alignment, Sermons, and Small Groups

CCC, a church in Chicago uses a "Big Idea" to really drive their spiritual formation. The Big Idea is the main point of the sermon, but is also the driving idea behind their small group meetings. Here's why, according to Jon Ferguson:
At CCC, we've experienced a number of benefits from using The Big Idea in our small groups. Here are three reasons why the Big Idea is a huge "win" for small groups:

# 1 The BIG IDEA Increases Application and Transformation

Without a doubt life change is most likely to occur within the context of community. Giving people a chance to sit in a circle with others on a similar spiritual journey to interact on the content of our weekend celebration services significantly increases the likelihood of people actually applying the topic to their life... because the topic of the discussion guide is directly tied to the topic for our weekend celebration services, every weekend our campus pastors and teaching team have a great opportunity to invite people to explore the topic further in a small group.

# 2 The BIG IDEA Diminishes Peoples Fears of Leading a Small Group

We have found that the most common fears among potential small group leaders are the following:

- "I don't know enough about the Bible."

- "I don't have enough time to be a good leader."

- "I've never thought of myself as a leader."

The weekend prior to the launch of every BIG IDEA series we publish a small group discussion guide with a small group lesson that parallels each topic (or week) in that BIG IDEA series. Developing these discussion guides and making them available to our leaders significantly reduces their insecurities regarding leading. The Bible verses for discussion are included in the discussion guide, and the lessons require minimal preparation with helpful insights and directions for the leaders.

# 3 The BIG IDEA Eliminates the Problem of "What Do We Study Next?"

Small groups tend to get overly focused on the topics or subject matter for their discussions, often at the expense of developing relationships and experiencing genuine biblical community. The relational small group experience can easily slip into more of a classroom teacher/student context.
What do you think? Is it more beneficial to align messages or allow for variety? Vote below!

Should Calvary's Small Groups Study the Same Topic as Sunday's Sermon?
yes, all the time.
yes, most of the time (6-9 months of the year)
yes, occasionally (less than half the time)
no, never.
Free polls from