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Showing posts from June, 2011

5 Key Character Traits for Small Group Leaders

This afternoon I sat down and started jotting down a list of necessary characteristics for a good small group leader.  I quickly realized that this could be a very long list, and there was no way I was going to be able to whittle it down to three key words that all started with the same letter. So instead, I thought I'd just share the first five on my list with you today.  Maybe someday I'll share some of the other ones.

Remember, each of these character traits comes in different amounts for different people. Some leaders are great at two, while they're still growing the other three. You don't have to be perfect in every area to be a great leader, you just need to know which areas of your life require the most effort currently. That said, here are five character traits that can help you be a better small group leader:

1. CONSISTENCY. At the very least, this applies to group attendance.  But it also applies to other areas as well. How you interact with people, how you le…

Small Groups Are NOT A New Fad

Over 300 years ago, John Wesley (founder of the Methodist church in America) challenged his people to regularly meet together for the purpose of spiritual growth. These small groups he encouraged his people to join were based on a model of group discipleship he had experienced himself while in college. The following post is from Britten Taylor, and is a great introduction to John Wesley and his model of small groups:

There are few people who challenge me more in my pursuit of Christ than John Wesley. If you have never read of his life then I beg you to pick up a Wesley biography.  His devotion to Christ and desire to walk in a manner worthy of Him will convict and inspire you greatly.  It will pretty much ‘rock your world’ (yes, I am aware that is a phrase straight out of the 80′s). When Wesley was at Oxford he got a few of his closest buddies and formed a small group called the “Holy Club”.  The group had a few other studs, namely George Whitfield and Charles Wesley. The goal was for t…

3 Easy Steps for Studying Bible Passages as a Small Group

Studying God's Word together as a group is one of the best ways to gain a fresh perspective on passages with which you may already be very familiar. Sometimes, though, groups are nervous about working through a passage because they are concerned the process may be too complex.

Here is a simple process you can use as a group (it will also work for you as an individual) to consider the meaning of a passage and how it can be applied in your life. This process is called the "CRA Process" (I discovered it at Justin Hutt's blog. You can read more about it here). The three steps are COPY, Re-WRITE, and APPLY:

1) Copy Deuteronomy 6:4-9 word-for-word. 4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and w…

Becoming a Prayer Focused Group: 3 Ideas to Boost Your Group's Prayer Time

A group that wants to care for one another must be willing to pray for each other. Sometimes, it's a good idea to spend a significant amount of your group time simply talking about prayer and praying together. Here's an idea for three exercises you can do in one group meeting to focus yourselves on prayer:

1. Begin by praying prayers of thanksgiving. Spend some time allowing everyone in the group to share a few things in their life for which they are thankful. These can be "big" things and "small" things. Once everyone has had a few opportunities to share, select 2-3 people to close this portion by praying prayers of thanksgiving. Before they pray, though, have someone read aloud Psalm 96:1-6.

2. Pass out paper to everyone in the group and have them write their name on the paper, as well as one personal request. Place all the papers in a box and have everyone draw a paper out. Once everyone has a request for which they will pray, give them a few minutes to t…

7 Steps Toward a Life-Changing Group Quest

We all have virtues we'd like to develop in our life, and we all have vices we'd like to destroy in our life. The people who are around us and with whom we are sharing our life (our small group) could be our most powerful allies in these struggles... if we let them.

Think about what might happen if you covenanted together with 2-3 others from your small group, and devoted yourselves to one another for a 3-4 month period of time with the following steps guiding your journey together:
determine a life-virtue to be developedcraft an impossible quest toward that virtueobserve someone else who is modelling a similar questassist someone else in their completion of a similar questattempt and fail at the questcomplete and memorialize the questdetermine a new life-virtue to be developed

How Can a Small Group Continue to Thrive Through the Summer?

Summer can be a difficult time for small groups. Should your group keep meeting? Should your group take time off? Should you do something different for the summer? Should you do nothing for the summer?

I think each group needs to figure this out on their own. Your group's own culture will determine what you should do for the summer. However, I'm of the mindset that you should do something! Summer can provide several great opportunities for unique relationship building.

This morning, I came across this helpful blog post by Rob Bentz. He suggests 4 things that will ensure your group fails this summer. These are good suggestions (and good things to avoid!). As always, eat the meat and spit out the bones!:

1. Stay in touch on Facebook only
Be sure to avoid any face-to-face time. Don’t get together for a barbeque. Don’t meet together for a few minutes at church. Don’t even set up play-dates for the kiddos. Just type out a friendly message every other week or so.

2. Don’t Mention your …

Growing Closer to Each Other; Growing More Like Christ

How close a person stands to you should be somewhat dependent on how well that person knows you.

You wouldn't expect a complete stranger to be standing nose-to-nose with you (unless you are at Disney World on a crowded monorail). Conversely, you might wonder if something is amiss if your spouse is never willing to stand within ten feet of you.

We can learn alot of relationships by simply observing the average amount of space between two people (assuming personal hygiene isn't an issue).

Similar principles apply in small groups. Not every small group activity is appropriate for every small group. It may not be a good idea to ask people to confess their deepest sin in a group that has been together for three weeks (confession is one of those activities that requires a GREAT amount of trust). At the same time, you might wonder about a group that has been together for four years but is still unwilling to share prayer requests with each other.

As the relationships within a group de…