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Showing posts from October, 2011

10 Reminders Small Group Leaders Need

I came across this list last week, it's a nice reminder of some of the things that should be important to every small group leader. You can read the entire blog post here. The author, Jon Stolpe, expands on each of these points with his own thoughts: 1. Small group leaders are important. 2. Small group leaders set the tone. 3. Small groups are not about small group leaders. 3A. Small groups aren’t just about the groups either. 4. Small group leaders aren’t supposed to live on an island. 5. Small group leaders must be invitational. 6. Small group leaders aren’t perfect. 7. Being a small group leader isn’t always easy. 8. Seek advice and wisdom from trusted advisers. 9. Lean into the small group leader community. 9A. Be patient. It may take time for your small group to grow. 10. Be passionate!

9 Ways Your Group Can Be Missional Right Now

One of my desires is that every small group to which I am connected will develop a missional strand in their DNA. In other words, I want them to exist for a purpose greater than just meeting together. Groups can become missional in many ways, but often it requires taking a few baby steps to get going. Here are some thoughts I came across yesterday which can be good first steps for a group that wants to be more externally-focused: 1. Find a single mom or single dad with whom your group can develop an ongoing relationship.
2. Have your group trained to provide respite care for foster families and volunteer to babysit for a local foster family.
3. Plan a group project to raise money to care for orphans.
4. Your group can throw a shower for a family adopting or fostering an older child.
5. Consider donating medical supplies, an appliance, or other items to an orphanage or women’s shelter as Christmas gifts.
6. Build a long-term relationship between your small group and a widow.
7. Go Christ…

Relationships Are Like Legos

I borrowed this article from Matt Lane. He has some good thoughts about making room for new relationships. Plus, I like legos!
You can read Matt's blog at:

Last Wednesday during our small group we had a discussion about Legos. Yes those Legos. We took a break from our normal sermon based discussion to talk about why we meet and what we hope to accomplish.
And here is the main point: deep spiritual relationships
Our hope of course is that there is fruit from that main point but that is why we meet.
Now to the lego part.
Larry Osbourne in Sticky Church says, “I think of people as being like Legos. We all have a limited numeber of connectors. Introverts have a few. Some extroverts have dozens. But either way, once they’re full, they’re full. And when that happens, we tend to be friendly but to not connect. It’s what happens when when you move to a new town and are exited by everyone’s friendliness, only to be discouraged three months later that you haven’t connect…

How to Handle Conflict Within Your Group

onflict is always awkward. Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a conflict between two other people? These situations are always awkward, especially when everyone is friends, and deep relationships are at stake. Most small group leaders will face this dilemma at some point in their ministry. What will you do?
2 Samuel tells an interesting story from the life of David that provides us with three great principles to remember when you find yourself trying to help resolve conflict.
David and his followers are on the run from Jerusalem. His son, Absalom, has led a rebellion and seized control of the capitol city. As they leave, they are approached by a man named Ziba who brings them many gifts of food, drinks, and animals. David knew that Ziba was the servant of Mephibosheth (a crippled descendant of Saul to whom David had shown great kindness). David asked Ziba where Mephibosheth was, and Ziba answered that his master had stayed in Jerusalem to welcome Absalom.
After the rebellion w…

11 Reasons Home Groups Fail

An article by Dennis McCallum points out eleven reasons "home groups" fail. Read the whole article by clicking here. Read the main points below:
1. They are often not based on New Testament theory
2. The wrong criteria are sometimes followed for the selection of leaders
3. Frequently, insufficient authority is given to the leaders
4. The groups may have an unhealthy inward-focus
5. There is often no provision for church discipline within the small group
6. All groups may be the same, rather than diversified and matched to their members
7. There may be no adequate equipping offered to would-be leaders
8. The church may set no multiplication goals, and may have no good plan for multiplying home groups
9. Small groups are sometimes viewed as peripheral rather than central to the life of the church
10. They are sometimes viewed as a threat by the pastor(s) of the church.
11. Home groups are often introduced in a programmatic, not a natural way.

3 Things Every Small Group Needs

Gene Getz wrote in his book, Sharpening the Focus of the Church:
Believers need...three vital experiences to grow into mature Christians. They need good Bible teaching that will give them theological and spiritual stability; they need deep and satisfying relationships both with each other and with Jesus Christ; and they need to experience seeing people come to Jesus Christ as a result of corporate and individual witness to the non-Christian world.We sum up these "three vital experiences" with the words:




While you are re-launching your group this fall, it's a great time to talk to your group about these three foundational activities of a LIFEGroup. Discuss how you are presently accomplishing them, and what you might do this year to better accomplish these vital experiences.

10 Simple Ice Breakers for Small Groups

While digging around in some old archives, I found this list. I didn't write it; but it's absolutely worth sharing. If your group is in need of some relational building, try this list of 10 Simple Icebreakers:
10. Share one food item that best describes the last year of your life. (example: "frozen pizza" because I did a 180-degree turn this year, or "cinnamon roll" because it had lots of twists and turns but overall was pretty sweet)

9. What one item in the kitchen best describes you and your personality?

8. What's your favorite concert you've ever attended?

7. What cartoon character best describes you?

6. If you could live anywhere in the world for a year, where would it be?

5. Complete the statement "I recommend..."(it can be a show, movie, book, restaurant, website, activity, etc.)

4. If you knew could you try anything and not fail (and money was no object), what dream would you attempt?

3. What super-power would you most like to have, and why…

21 Bible Passages Every Small Group Leader Should Study

The following passages are not necessarily THE MOST important passages a small group leader needs to know, but each of them are useful for developing a leader's understanding of his or her group dynamic. I would recommend taking time to read and contemplate each of these passages, asking yourself the following questions: What does this passage teach me about the character and attributes of God? How should the character and attributes of our group be formed by this passage? Can I envision a specific instance in our group to which this passage might apply?
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, "…

Sometimes Simple is Best

Most small group Bible studies consist of anywhere from 12-20 questions. I think the rationale often is that you need a lot of questions in order to fill the group time. However, for my group tonight, we'll just be focusing on four simple questions. We've been together long enough that I know we can have a pretty robust discussion no matter how many questions we ask. Therefore, I tried to identify four simple questions that will enable us to unpack the texts we are looking at, as well as take the time to let them seep into our hearts. Hopefully, we'll all come away with something.
Here's what our discussion guide looks like for tonight (it's postcard size)

I imagine our discussion will last about 45 minutes to 1 hour. If it's shorter, that's okay; we'll just use the time to pray.

7 Character Traits of a Spiritually Formative Small Group

What makes a group discussion a spiritually-formative discussion?
I don't have a definitive list, but here are a couple thoughts I had that might be a starting point:
dedication to finding the best possible representation of God's truthcommunal sensitivity to the moving of the Spirithumility to avoid authoritative posturing and proclamationsacceptance of Scriptural authority...being mindful of appropriate interpretationopenness to new ideas and new paradigmsdesire to be corrected and re-formedability to live with tension (mentally, socially, spiritually, etc.)
I think most small group leaders want their groups to be spiritually-formative. However, sometimes that is difficult to achieve because formation means CHANGE and change is DIFFICULT. However, if the culture of the group is designed for change, it can perhaps be easier. I think the above thoughts are an indicator that groups need to be really open to change in many ways if they are going to be formative.
A group culture that…

10 Questions To Help Develop Life-Sharing Relationships

Getting to know one another requires conversations to go deeper than, "Nice weather, huh?"
We all want the people in our small groups to develop life-sharing relationships. We all want them to have the kinds of relationships that will permit them to open up and talk about the deep hurts and struggles in their lives. We want them to have the type of relationship that enables them to celebrate one another's victories.
So how do we build those kind of relationships? By listening to people as they talk to one another.
Here are a series of questions you can use to help the people in your group get to know each other a little bit better:
Who are your heroes? Why?
What do you think are your greatest strengths?
What unique skills do you have that you enjoy using?
Using only 1-2 sentences, explain your belief about God.
What is something you value more than most other things in life?
If you had a mission statement for the coming week, what would it be?
What television show or book interest…

TiVo Church (or "How Small Groups Solve Everything")

TiVo provides: unlimited opportunity to watch whatever i believe to be valuable whenever i desire to watch it. TiVo also provides a nice acrostic to describe what i perceive to be three critical factors that hinder volunteerism in the church.
T -- Time -- people are rarely willing to give up any of their time to add a new activity to their schedule
V -- Value -- most people have not bought into a vision/lifestyle that places a high value on church volunteerism. this is probably a greater reflection of our inability to sell a vision and build buzz than anything else.
O -- Opportunity -- many people who might be willing to volunteer are not sure where they can, or worse yet, there are so many options they are not sure which one too choose, so they don't do any.
What is the solution?
LIFEGroups. (am i serious? what? are LIFEGroups the solution to everything?)
You betcha.
LIFEGroups get people together. When people are sharing their lives, time ceases to be a big issue. We make time to be with o…