I tend to be just a bit of a “home-body.” Maybe it’s a streak of laziness. Maybe it’s that introvert part of me. But sometimes (many times?) it’s a lot easier to “do nothing” than to “do something.” This even extends to those good things, like family activities. For me, sometimes it’s easier to not participate (yes, I know that sounds terrible, but it’s true!) But most often I end up choosing to participate because I want my kids to remember their dad doing things with them, rather than them doing things without me. I guess many times quite frankly I am doing it for the “sake of children and the family.”
However, after I’m engaged, I find out very quickly that it was actually me that needed this experience perhaps even more than them. Now I didn’t necessarily need the activity we were engaged in. What I needed was enjoying and being with my family, and my friends. I needed to remember what was important, that life really isn’t all about me. I needed to be reminded that I belong to my family and they belong to me. I am a part of them. And that is a really good thing. For which I am so very thankful.
Being a part of a Small Group is kind of like that. Now initially we might actually join because we are focused on some things we can get out of it. Good things, but perhaps the more obvious things – learn the bible, meet some new people, help with certain challenges in life. Then we realize that these are real flesh and blood people who have hurts, challenges, pains, pressures and needs just like us. Very soon as we understand what a group is really all about, we are making that choice to come to each meeting because of them, not us. We begin to understand why our commitment to the group is so important – because others do need what we have to offer. And that’s a great thing.
Then something revolutionary happens. God begins to do a work in our life. We begin to learn and experience life in a whole new way. We experience it with others. We experience it in the context of loving, supporting relationships. We experience it with the prayer of others behind us. We experience the giving of ourselves to others. We begin to understand what commitment to others is all about. The “one another’s” of Scripture come alive. What is happening is that God is opening up a whole new way of life for us. A whole new life for us, where we belong to others and they belong to us.
In this context, God reveals himself to us in a whole new way, and we begin to grow in new ways. We chose to keep coming for them. Then we realized that we needed that group perhaps more than they ever needed us. Because God did something in us “above and beyond what we could every ask or think.” Something we couldn’t do for ourselves and quite often didn’t expect. Joy is the result. Gratitude and thankfulness to God. With that group of people we belong to.
I have a tendency to misplace things. It’s even worse in my office. When I get busy, papers or other items might not get back to where they belong quite as quickly as they should. Usually after looking for a while, I resort to the 20-second rule, giving myself 20 seconds to find what is missing. I count out loud 1 to 20 (slowly of course), and most of the time, with that laser focus in operation for 20 seconds…. success!
I was using the 20-second rule last week and it failed. Continue reading
Use your plan as a guide, not as a time clock to punch in and out, for each item on the agenda. You have planned what you believe to be beneficial things for the group, and ideally it would be great if you did them. However, God may have different plans. Continue reading
It is equally important to end on time. When the members read the sign-up sheet which said the meeting would end at 8:30 p.m., they will expect it to end at 8:30! People have counted the cost of being part of the group and it usually doesn’t include an unspoken extended meeting time. Continue reading
There are several reasons it’s important to start on time:
- You’ve planned a full meeting with many great things to do.
- If the leader waits until everyone gets there, they are rewarding the late ones and penalizing the ones who arrived on time.
- By waiting, the leader trains people to come late because that is when they actually start.
In most groups, the prayer time almost becomes an afterthought. It is often filled with non-personal requests, typically for someone else outside the group, but not for the person sharing the request. Continue reading
Formally or informally, many churches promote the concept of co-leadership or “apprentice” leaders. A co-leader is a secondary leader who assists with the group and is trained by the leader to do these tasks effectively (II Tim. 2:2). A co-leader will be assigned tasks throughout the group life as they are able, such as: Continue reading
A leader is one who guides, organizes, or directs people or a process toward a desired end. In order for a small group to accomplish its purposes, it must have a leader who can guide and direct it. The leader must decide what the group will do each meeting, as well as how it will be done. The leader also must conduct the meetings and take steps to make sure they are effective and productive.
Leadership tasks include (but are not limited to): Continue reading
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
I must apologize for not submitting too many posts in the last few weeks-months. I’ve been working hard to finish my first book entitled, SMALL GROUP SUCCESS: Changing Lives One Group at a Time. It has 16 chapters, incorporates many of the blog posts on this website and covers the following major headings:
- Understanding Small Groups
- Leading a Small Group
- Building Christian Community
- Cultivating Spiritual Growth
- Activating Prayer and Worship
- Developing Outreach and Mission
- Final Thoughts