The small group is a unique setting for God to accomplish the purposes He has spelled out for His people in the Scriptures. Small groups, therefore, seem to be uniquely qualified to accomplish the following four-core purposes: Continue reading
Today I want to talk about study material. The advantages of using the Bible as your source of study material in the group are many. Specifically, the positives of an effectively led Bible discussion is that:
- the learners are directly studying the word of God; Continue reading
Let’s talk small group meeting format. So, what do you do in a meeting? This subject will be discussed in more detail in subsequent blog posts. However, I simply want to present an overview here. In a typical small group designed to accomplish the purposes I have described elsewhere for small groups, it is recommended that the meeting consist generally of the following (with approximate time frames given): Continue reading
The challenge of children is one of the most difficult to overcome in small group ministry. The options generally are: include them in the meeting, have group childcare somewhere, have individual childcare somewhere, have them in the meeting location separate from the meeting but without childcare. I will discuss the ideal and best solution and while doing so, will explain while the other alternatives are less than ideal. Continue reading
Because a primary purpose of the group is to build relationships and to interact over the Scriptures in such a way as to cultivate spiritual growth, an atmosphere that enhances this is preferred. Therefore, the more the setting can be a home or resemble a home the better. If the small group meets at the church or in another location, a classroom setting should be avoided and whatever possible should be done to re-create a home setting (chairs in circle, couch added, etc.) in order to put people at ease. Continue reading
Meeting time may be dictated by the meeting day chosen, whether it is weekly or biweekly, how long you want the meeting to go, and ultimately by the leader’s schedule or preferences. Those choosing what time works best for them when they are considering joining a group will consider a number of factors including: work schedule and commitments, babysitting schedules, the need for kids to be in bed on a school night, or in the opposite direction, the lack of a commitment on a weekend night. Typically, groups might start anywhere from 6:00 to 7:30 PM. Groups meeting during the day or in the early morning hours would choose the time that is most conducive to the members they are trying to reach.
The advantage of meeting during the week is that it provides a mid-week spiritual emphasis between Sunday morning services.
The length of your meeting will be dictated by your purposes, by the make-up of your group, and by the logistics of the meeting place or limitations of the leader’s time commitment. Generally, groups meet for 90 minutes or 2 hours. What you can accomplish will of course be dictated by the length of time you meet. Continue reading
How often a group meets is an important consideration and may be determined by church leadership. Frequently, however, the leader may need to decide in advance the desired frequency of the group they will lead. Typically, groups will meet either weekly or bi-weekly. Occasionally groups will also meet monthly. Sometimes the frequency of the group meeting is partially dictated by the overall time period in which the group will be meeting as well as the specific purpose of the group. Continue reading
As explained elsewhere, building Christian community is simply the group dynamics related to trust and openness. Openness of a personal nature requires trust. The more you trust someone, the more you are willing and able to disclose your life and what is going on in your life to that group. The more you disclose your life, the more people are able to enter into a relationship with you where love, encouragement, ministry can occur.
Ministry occurs with the most significant results when it impacts who we really are: fears, hopes, temptations, doubts, fears, desires, troubles and pressures. For this to occur we must open ourselves up and share these things; for this to occur there has to be opportunity (in a successful small group) and trust in the other parties. Trust must be built over time as you get to know people and as you understand they will honor the commitments made in the group to you (e.g. confidentiality, etc. to be explained more fully elsewhere).