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Showing posts from September, 2011

Getting Re-Acquainted With Your Group

The first night of a group meeting is often a good time to "get re-acquainted." This is an exercise our group often does to simply promote discussion. Everyone gets a chance to talk, and no one is allowed to go twice until everyone has participated. Each person simply chooses a category and then adds to the list in that category. Once a category is full, no one else can use that one (this helps encourage people to participate early rather than waiting until the end!):

A 7 Step Process for Small Group Prayer Meetings

Praying together in small groups is often one of the most awkward and difficult disciplines to develop. Here is a seven step process you can use to devote one of your group meetings to prayer. This will help the group to become more comfortable with the idea of prayer together, while also providing a good model for them to adopt in their personal prayer practice:
1. Focus – Relax, be calm, be still. Give everyone a moment to clear their mind of the day's clutter, and to simply be present in the moment. Perhaps choose an applicable verse or passage you can read during this time.
2. Thanksgiving – Have group members simply call out some of the things for which they are grateful. These might be big items or small items. They may be something that God has done for them or they may be thankful for an attribute of God. Close the time by leading the group in a short prayer of thanksgiving.
3. Requests – Take a couple minutes and have everyone speak to the people on each side of them. Duri…

10 "Must Do" Things for Every Small Group Leader

This is a great list for every one who leads a small group of any size. Thinking about these 10 things every so often will help you keep your focus on what is really important in your group. I borrowed this list from the Bay Area Momma blog. You can read the entire post by clicking here.1- Keep yourself pure. Right heart, attitude, motives, actions, speech and expectations! I tim. 5:222- Come Ready. Be there early, Be prayed up, read up (bible) and ready with a plan.3- Pray Before You Say. Speak only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs.4- Don’t dominate or be dominated. Interact.5- Love those in your group more than you expect from them. Invest into their lives by Loving them and knowing about them. Contact them outside of group setting. (FB- twitter, phone, email ect.) Seek them out!6- Don’t tolerate negativity. In yourself or your group. Choose Joy! Smile!7- Incorporate Jesus and The Word Of

What's On Your Group's "Kill List"?

The goal of Small Groups is SPIRITUAL FORMATION of the members. If people in the group are not being formed by the Spirit into the image of the Son, then the group is not worth having. One of the Bible's great passages about spiritual formation is Colossians 3. It includes some vivid pictures of the necessary work if we are to become like Christ.
We must remember when we read these passages that the “you” is plural. Paul did not have the individual in mind first and foremost, he had the community in mind. Again, it is fair to say that God’s intent is for us to be formed in his image within a community where our individuality can truely become all it was meant to become.
Spiritual Formation from Colossians 3.
Put to death Sexual immoralityImpurityLustEvil Desires
Rid Yourselves AngerRageMaliceSlanderFilthy language
Clothe yourselves CompassionKindnessHumilityGentlenessPatience
A Small Group WorkSheet Based on These Lists

Small Groups: Helping to Synthesize John 13 and Acts 2

Just before he died, Jesus gave a "new" command to his disciples, telling them to love one another with the same love he had loved them. (This is recorded in John 13)
Acts 2:42-47 gives us a vivid picture of how Jesus’ first followers lived this out. Four key words help us understand how Calvary is living out these relationships, particularly through LIFEgroups:

“devoted” (vs. 42) – Being part of the church is a crucially important element of a person’s life; LIFEgroups allow someone to be devoted to relationships rather than programs or meeting times.
“everyone” (vs. 43) – No one was sitting on the sidelines of the Acts 2 church. Because of their size, LIFEgroups provide an environment in which everyone can actively participate.

“together” (vs. 44) – Lone Rangers were not an option in Acts 2. Individualism was non-existent; LIFEgroups are formed on the idea that Christians should be living life together with other Christians, not alone.

“every day” (vs. 46) – Acts 2 believer…

15 Ideas to Help You Share Your Life This Week

1. Meet with someone to share a half an hour of prayer.

2. Read through a chapter or book of the Bible with someone.

3. Write a note of encouragement to everyone in your LIFEgroup.

4. Invite a family to your home for dinner and games.

5. Volunteer with a friend at a local ministry agency.

6. Give away an evening to help someone else with a home project.

7. Start or join a Facebook group centered around prayer for one another.

8. Have lunch today with a group no smaller than 10.

9. Make one encouraging phone call each night of the week.

10. Invite two or three others to join you for coffee and fellowship.

11. Visit a hospital just to bring encouragement to strangers.

12. Share with your LIFEgroup something you discovered in the Bible this week.

13. Bring a meal to your neighbors for no reason.

14. Find someone at church you don’t know and invite them for ice-cream Sunday night.

15. Adopt a highway mile with your LIFEgroup.

Eight Marks of a Christian Community

If you asked me what are the evidences of a true Christian Community. I might point to some things like these:
Members who are committed to a life of obedience to God through faith in His SonSeeking to better understand God’s nature and enact his character as a groupHaving the confidence to ask for prayer from one anotherSharing personal needs and struggles with each other and seeking as a group to meet those needs and alleviate those strugglesExhorting one another to live the lifestyle of a Christ follower rather than the lifestyle of the worldFulfilling the Great Commission by bearing witness to the Kingdom, confessing the Gospel, and making new disciplesFinding ways to “love our neighbors” by meeting the needs of those in West Michigan and around the world Should each of these "marks" be true of small groups? Why or why not? What would you add? What would you subtract?

A Simple First Step to Help Small Groups Be More Generous

Every group should exist for a purpose beyond meeting together. At Calvary, we talk about groups being "missional" because we want them to have a mission they are accomplishing together. I think this is a healthy endeavor for any group.
If your group is looking for an easy first step into having a missional mindset, I'd recommend KIVA. This is nothing more than a financial investment (no time, no effort), which is often the easiest way for people to begin their "generosity journey".
I'm a big fan of Kiva, and have invested with them on several occasions. Using Kiva, myself and a many other people have banded together to loan people the money they need to launch their own businesses (like buying a cow and selling its milk). The'll pay us back eventually and with my Kiva account, I'll use the money I get back to help make another loan to someone else.
Learn more about Kiva here.
It's certainly sobering to think that for less money than it costs for …

Meandering Thoughts About the Nature of Small Groups: you are THE church.

I can't prove this, but I think the early church meetings were a lot more like small group meetings than they were like big church meetings. I base this partly on the idea that the first Christians met in houses rather than auditoriums. I think those early gatherings consisted of people sitting in circles and facing each other rather in than in rows staring at the backs of other people's heads.
I think in first century church gatherings, the followers of Christ enjoyed coming together and sharing their lives. I think they loved the opportunity to get together and encourage one another. I think they found joy together in focusing on Christ and how He was changing their life.
At this point, it feels that I'm rambling on, but I'm actually writing all this for a simple reason. I think we should be careful not to underestimate our small group time. Sometimes, we are tempted to view a small group meeting as a "part of" church. It is much bigger than that.
When your g…