Skip to main content

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


Popular posts from this blog

Discussion Questions for Easter

Have several people ask the question, “What’s the most important thing you’ve ever done?”
Ask other people, “What do you hope to accomplish in the next several years of your life?”
Tell your class that today you’ll be talking about “life mission” or the one most important thing you do that drives everything else. Tell them that Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is the defining moment in history, so it should be the defining moment in our lives.
Read 1 Corinthians 15:12-19. How does the resurrection impact some of the crucial beliefs of Christianity? 
How would Christianity be different if there was no resurrection? How would you be different without the resurrection?
Read 1 Corinthians 15:50-58. What are some specific ways that the resurrection gives us hope?
If you had been a friend of Jesus when he was on earth, how would the resurrection have impacted your life? 
How do you think his followers then were effected by the resurrection?
Read 1 Corinthians 15:58. What do you t…

21 Bible Passages With Which Every Small Group Leader Should Be Familiar

Matthew 5:23-24.
23"Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.

Luke 10:1-11.
1After this the Lord appointed seventy-two[a] others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. 2He told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. 3Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. 4Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.

5"When you enter a house, first say, 'Peace to this house.' 6If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you. 7Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to hous…

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.