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Showing posts from February, 2009

INFLUENCE: Invest and Invite

What is the greatest investment another person has ever made in your life?
Read Mark 2:13-17.
Jesus' command to Matthew was, "Follow Me".  If Jesus were to say those words to us today, what do you think he would mean?  What would we do if we actually followed him?
Apparently Matthew had a lot of friends who were not very religious.  Do you think he wondered what they would think of him if he followed Jesus?  Why do you think he decided to follow?
Why do you think the Scribes and Pharisees objected to Jesus' eating a meal with the tax collectors* and sinners?
With what kind of person do you think the Scribes and Pharisees expected Jesus to spend his time?  Can you think of a modern day example in which one Christian might get upset about the type of people another Christian is spending their time with?  How would Jesus respond?
In this story, what do you think makes a person sick (according to Jesus)?
In this story, is it a good or bad thing to be considered "healthy&qu…

Don't Be Shy

by Carol L. Duff

Do members of your group struggle with shyness? Here are tips to help you minister to them.

Recognize who they are. Obviously, members who avoid eye contact and blush when you call on them are shy. But what about the businessman who ducks out as soon as the group is dismissed? The nurse who never talks to anyone and seems snobbish and bored? Or the professor who is always busy when there is a group social function? These people may also be acting from shyness.

Be sensitive. Activities such as group prayer put shy people on the spot. Even if you explain that it's OK not to pray aloud, they'll fear being labeled unspiritual. Instead of praying around the circle, ask for volunteers, or select people you know are comfortable praying publicly.

Help them connect. Try an icebreaker to reveal things members have in common. You might ask a question and instruct them to go to an area of the room based on their answers. For instance, ask, "Where did you grow…

Gospel Focused Small Groups

This is from Ben Reed, who blogs at Life and Theology:Like I said in the last post, I fully believe in our system of creating followers of Christ. However, I would be ready to throw it out today if the system were the problem.  I never want to be so connected to community groups, and the way that we do them at Grace Community Church, that I am unwilling to abandon them in favor of true discipleship.  My goal in ministry, in a broad stroke, is to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them inthe name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20)  My goal is not to start 5,000 community groups and train 10,000 leaders to host a group in their home.  I want to make passionate disciples of Christ!  Right now, the way that I do that is to start new community groups, shepherd our current community group leaders, and recruit new leaders.  Though these activities may seem mundane, I believe that tr…

LIFEgroup Questions for Influence Week One

Big Idea: Rather than pulling us into away from the world in a “holy huddle” Jesus sends us to our family and friends to tell the story of how He has changed our lives.

What has been the best thing that has happened to you this week?

Read Psalm 9:1-2. Have everyone in the group mention one thing for which they are thankful to God.

How often do you spend time "recounting all of God's wonderful deeds"? How do you think your life would be different if you kept in a prominent place a list of God's wonderful deeds? 

What is the most remarkable thing you've every witnessed God do in your life or in someone else's life?

Have someone (or a few people) summarize the story of Jesus healing the demoniac from Mark 5.

If you were the man who got healed in this story, would you think about God differently than you do right now? Why or why not?

Read Mark 5:18-20. Why did Jesus not let the man follow Him? What mission did Jesus send the man to accomplish?

If you were sent to "p…

Welcome Visits

by Robyn Adams

When I led a small group of young adults a few years ago, I became burdened for the elderly homebound of our church. I coordinated a Saturday-afternoon event to connect the two groups.

First, I asked my husband, a pastor at the church, for the names, phone numbers, and addresses of the older members who were unable to attend services. (Be sure to communicate your plans when you request such information from your pastor.) On the day of the event, we called these members to ask permission to stop by with care bags.

Before making the visits, our group put together the care bags, using bright, colorful sacks for visual appeal. Each contained items such as cookies, nuts, fruit (for diabetics), and large-print Christian magazines. We then broke into groups of three. Each group visited two or three homebound members. When we dropped off the bags, we said, "We made this bag for you to remind you that your church loves you." Many of the elderly accepted the bags with grat…

Discussion Questions for DNA:Grace-Filled

How would you describe a person who is "grace-filled"? What do you think would be their strong character traits? What would be their weaker character traits?

How does God show himself to be "grace-filled"?

Read Ephesians 2:4-5.

What do you think it means to be "dead in our sins"? (Read Galatians 5:19-22 for a list) Do you see yourself (or your former self) in this list?

How have you experienced the grace of God in your life?

Have a few group members share stories about times other people have extended God's grace to them. How did it impact their life?

As a group, make a list of opportunities you might have to show grace to other people. When is it easy to show grace to people? When is it difficult to show grace to people?

How would your life be different if you determined to be a person who showed grace to everyone you came into contact with? Are there limits to the amount of grace you should show some people? Why or why not?

For groups with families: …

Thankful Connections

Listing the reasons you appreciate others can solidify your bond with them.
Philippians 1:1-8

Let's take a cue from the words of Thanksgiving in Paul's prayer for the Philippian Christians. He began by thanking God for his fellow believers, thus deepening his connection with them in the most foundational way. When believers today follow his example, expressing thanks for one another, the bond among them also grows stronger.

Use this exercise in board meetings, small groups, staff retreats, Sunday school classes, ministry teams, or other small group settings.

Read Philippians 1:3-8 aloud.Explain to group members that you'll use the next 30 to 45 minutes simply expressing thanks for each member. When we affirm fellow Christians, we honor God, who has placed these people in our lives.Start with one group member saying something like: "Let's take a few minutes to thank God for Jess. What do you see in Jeff's life that prompts you to thank God for Je…

Missional Opportunities in West Michigan!

Habitat for Humanity

Muskegon Rescue Mission

Healthy Neighborhood Project - McLaughlin Neighborhood
Contact: Carlos Avrard

Love, INC

Sacred Suds

Hope’s Outlet

Every Women’s Place

International Aid

Forgotten Man Ministries
*ask for the chaplain

Inside the DNA of A Heathy Church: RELATIONALLY DRIVEN

How do you know when someone really loves you?  How do you most often show your love to others?
Read John 13:34-35.
What do you think it means to love others as Jesus loved you?  How is Jesus' love for you different than someone else's love for you?  How is it different than your own love for yourself?
Before giving this command, Jesus had already demonstrated his love for his disciples by washing their feet.
What do you think Jesus was thinking about as He washed Judas' feet?  What would you have been thinking about as you washed Judas' feet?
What kind of attitude is required for someone to serve other people?
Since we wear shoes and socks, we don't really wash each other's feet anymore.  What are some other simple ways you could serve other people?  Is there something you could do to serve someone else in this group?
In John 15:13, Jesus says the greatest love is laying down your life for your friends.  Less than a day after speaking these words, He demonstrated tha…

Prayer Prompts

by Len Woods

When small-group leaders in out church noted that their group prayer times tended to be outswardly focused and "safe," we developed a list of prayer prompts to help members articulate the personal struggles they might face.

The next time their groups met, leaders distributed copies of the list to group members. Leaders read a few of the prompts that described their own current situation, adding specific details where appropriate. Then they encouraged others in the group to do the same. (Leaders should remind members that anything shared in the group must remain confidential.) After using the prompts for a few weeks, members grew more comfortable relating personal prayer requests in their group.

Here are a few of the prompts we used.

Spiritual Growth
"My desire to live for God has fizzled. Pray that I'll recapture my passion.""I keep encountering the same temptations. Pray that I will resist them through God's strength.""I don…

Applying Sunday's Sermon

Beth Kolar is a small group coordinator at Community Christian Church in Yorkvile, IL.  CCC's small groups use a "big idea" curriculum, which means their study is designed to flow out of Sunday's sermon.Your group can use discussion guides every week that are based on our Sunday sermons also.  We print the questions here on Friday, you can also read them in the LIFEgroup Weekly which you can pick up in the main hall at the church building.Beth posted a short note about how she prepares for her group meetings.  I think this is interesting and helpful. Check it out:Here is what preparation for my group time looks like:
Sunday morning –Attend service, take notes on my Blackberry (You thought I was texting my friends, didn’t you!?) Add questions about what I didn’t get, tangents in my own mind and quotes of interest.Sunday afternoon – Read my notes, pray, review the Big Idea Guide in the light of who is in my group, recent conversations, or what I really want them to ‘get…