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Showing posts from December, 2008

Building Community


Within your small group or Sunday school class, invite people to join in an anonymous gift exchange. Participants receive the name of another person who signed up and then buy that person inexpensive gifts. If possible arrange the pairings so participants receive the names of people they don’t know already – discovering what another person likes or enjoys is part of the community-building process.

Agree on both a number of gifts to be exchanged (three works well) and dates on which those gifts will be exchanged anonymously. For example, perhaps an adult Sunday school class would pick three Sundays between Thanksgiving and Epiphany on which to bring wrapped presents to a classroom at church. At the end of class, the gifts would be distributed to recipients so they can be opened in a group setting.

An encouragement: Keep the pairing of recipients the same throughout the gift exchange. It prompts deeper discovery when Jack has to find out enou…

What To Do With Late-Comers?

How do you respond when someone shows up late for your group meeting? Consider the following quote:

"When I'm late to church, people turn around and stare at me with frowns of disapproval. I get the clear message that I'm not as responsible as they are. When I'm late to Alcoholics Anonymous, the meeting comes to a halt, and everyone jumps up to hug and welcome me. They realize that my lateness may be a sign that I almost didn't make it. When I show up, it proves that my desperate need for them won out over my desperate need for alcohol."
So... how do you respond when someone shows up late for your group meeting?

This quote is from a friend of Phillip Yancey, as quoted by Sam O'Neal at

All Head, No Hands

Henry Edward Manning (1808-1892) was archdeacon of Chichester in the Church of England.

James 1:22 tells us, "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." James is here warning us against a very common and subtle temptation: the substituting of Christian knowledge for Christian obedience and the danger of hearing without doing the Word of God. Let's consider this more fully.

The Man in the Mirror.
First, we must remember that this knowledge without obedience ends in nothing. James says it is like a man who looks at his own face in a glass (vv. 23-24). For the time he has the clearest perception of countenance. But when he has gone his way, the whole image fades, and the vividness of other objects overpowers it.
Nothing can better express the shallowness and fleetingness of knowledge without obedience. For the time it is vivid and exact, but it fades off into nothing - no resolution recorded in the conscience or, if recorded, none m…

10 Commands for Leading Discussion: Don't Be Afraid of Silence

Read the previous "Discussion Commandment" here.
When leading a discussion, few things are more awkward and sometime discouraging than a prolonged silence. When you ask an open-ended question, and no one jumps in to answer; the temptation is to fill the silence with your own thoughts. However, if you aren't willing to live with silence, you'll slowly create a culture in your group which is unfriendly to discussion.Silence is a sign that people are thinking. As a group leader, you've had an opportunity to look at your discussion questions ahead of time, and likely you've thought through your own answers to those questions. In many group settings, the group members haven't had that opportunity. The first time they hear the question, they may want to take a few moments to process their answer before speaking out loud. Allowing your group to sit in silence for a few moments will, over time, allow your group to have more robust and thoughtful discussions.…

Life Transformation Groups

I received this in article in an email today from Josh Hunt. It's about Life Transformation Groups, which is a concept I really like, and something I've thought about a lot. Before you get to the article, I've included some links to related posts.

Getting Down to the Basics
Breaking Small Groups Down to Mentoring Relationships

How big should a group be?

Peter Wagner used to talk about the three "Cs"--

* Celebration -- unlimited size
* Congregation -- up to a hundred or so
* Cell -- small group, less than 20

Neil Cole has a different answer: three.

He calls it a Life Transformation Group (LTG) and has written a brand new book on it - Search and Rescue. Great read.

Perhaps you would consider starting a Life Transformation Group and making them a part of the culture of your small group and church. Here is some more information to help you decide.
What is a Life Transformation Group?

A life transformation group is a simple but powerful concept. It is a group of two o…

One-to-One Discipleship and Small Group Discipleship

Randall Neighbor has some interesting thoughts about the relationship between one-to-one discipleship (mentoring) and small group discipleship. He says:

1. One-to-one discipleship is far superior to classroom methods or even small group discipleship. It sharpens the disciple maker as much as it does the person being discipled, and creates a leader of one.

2. Small groups have their unique benefits, but are not enough to disciple the members of the groups. They need the one-on-one relationships in addition to the small group friendships and ministry environment.

3. The combination of the two is seriously powerful. Doing either with great competence will yield some fruit for sure, but put them together and BAM!, it's kicked up a notch to a level that is truly dangerous to the enemy's strategy in the life of a believer.

What do you think? How can LIFEgroups create a benefit like that of one-to-one discipleship? Over the coming weeks, I may spend some time exploring this question, …