Some months ago, I gave you a glimpse of the “whys” and “whats” of Discipleship Triads and how they operate at CenterPointe Church, a young church plant in Plainfield, IL. Writing the final report for the Sustaining Congregational Excellence Grant which supported this project for our church gave me the opportunity to reflect on the effectiveness of Discipleship Triads and celebrate how God has worked in and through them in our setting.
So, we are way behind the eight ball in giving our small groups ministry some overdue attention. While we have had a pretty vibrant number of small groups meeting together for years to study a wide range of topics, it has been sort of running without any coordinated effort or inter-action ...
I am often asked the question, “Why are believers not declaring the gospel?” My firm belief, pastoral experience and observation is that “believers do not declare the gospel if they do not delight in God.” As we all know, people will talk about what they find most interesting or exciting. If you really like sports, cooking, children, etc… you will talk to others about those things or about the relationships that matter the most to you.
If you follow this blog, you know that I often compare a small group discipleship ministry to a garden. A small group creates an environment for spiritual growth. In the small group, we can we spur one another on in growing together in knowing and following God. Hebrews 1:24-25 is a great overview of the purpose of a discipleship small group:
It is easy to get in a rut. Here are a couple of small group prayer ideas. Experiment with them in your group. Share your experiences and other prayer ideas. “Let us spur one another on...”
A quality Koosh ball is my favorite tool to illustrate small group the communication opportunities and challenges.Buy a Koosh ball. Take the ball to your group and throw it around.
The Bible Study group/small group that I am part of has decided to study the book "the Harbinger" by Jonathan Cahn. I have mixed feelings about this book being an appropriate one for use as a Bible Study. In my opinion the passage of Isaiah 9:10-11 is only loosely connected with the book. I am...
Small Group leaders dream of lively discussions with lots of interaction. Here are a few tips for leaders to use in leading small group conversations.
“A couple years ago we built a discipleship and leadership development system for our whole congregation. But when we implemented our new discipleship system, it flopped. Creating and implementing a workable discipleship system for the whole congregation is very difficult.”
We are still in the early stages of this small group experiment, but so far the results have been great. As pastors, we feel the congregation is more involved and interacting with the weekend messages. The format means that we don’t have to create something new – it flows out of what we are already doing.
With all the choices of small group options, why choose sermon based small groups? Two selling points are: 1) it allows people at a variety of spiritual stages to dig deeper than a thirty minute message, and 2) it takes little preparation for either the facilitator or the group member.
Imagine small group leaders and teams standing as scarecrows over our groups and ministries to guard against Satan’s assaults. Farmers place scarecrows in gardens because the farmer expects birds to go after his seeds. It is naïve of us to not be ready for Satan’s attempts to wreak havoc in our Christian communities.
Last week I blogged about adding mission and service to your small group. We reviewed some of the benefits that an infusion of mission can provide your group. These benefits included a deeper level of community (communitas) and opportunities for many different gifts and abilities to be used...
Things got exciting around our congregation this summer. Two things happened specifically with our youth group. First of all, they went on a mission trip to Logan County, WV to work with Disaster Relief Services in the wake of the floods of this spring. It was a great trip where they worked hard, often under difficult conditions. The second thing that happened was even more unusual. Plastic flamingos began appearing in front yards throughout our community.
What do you do? I am a “facilitative, organizing catalyst who brings energy, creativity andpassion to change or development-oriented efforts (catalyst) through building structures, methods or programs (organizing) that equip, empower or provide tools for growth (facilitative).” That is a mouth full.
The CRC that nurtured my growth as a child taught me that Jesus saves and is present for me to reach out to in prayer in times of need. There were also lessons about discipleship that the church of my childhood never taught me.
The Coffee Break idea started forty years ago and has grown into a missional movement of the CRC and many other denominations. Hear are some themes that might ignite kingdom growth in Coffee Break and small groups today.
Small groups are small organizations. Small Groups and leaders can envision, model and practice spiritual transforming patterns. Jesus did that with his disciples. He led with prayer and dependency on the Word of God. He sent them out to do what he did, then brought them back for debriefing. The disciples followed...
Melissa is a mom to active young children and her husband works long hours. She felt like her life was spinning out of control. Convinced that she’d keep perspective if she could to find even minutes alone with God, she asked her triad to hold her accountable to do that. She now finds regular...
God’s call to make disciples is undeniably clear. The strategy of how to go about disciple making can sometimes get fuzzy. Well-designed small groups of 8 – 12 are great environments for spiritual growth until the primary objective is lost and the natural tendency towards social fellowship...
How does Alpha work? Alpha is a practical introduction to the Christian faith, where guests can explore the meaning of life and ask questions in a non-threatening, relaxed setting. The traditional Alpha course is 10 weeks long and includes a day or weekend long retreat half-way through the course. Alpha is simple and includes...
Looking for a way to mobilize more people in evangelism in 1999, a few of us at church stumbled on to the Alpha Course. We were drawn to it because it offered a simple way to involve people in bringing the Gospel to their friends. We got a small pilot group together, followed the instructions, and went for it.
A metaphor that has helped me understand and lead small group ministry is this: Growing a small group discipleship ministry is like growing a garden. Small group coordinators and leaders must ask gardening questions. How would you answer these questions about your small group ministry?
"Time flies when you're having fun." I guess I would say that would be my mantra too having been the guide of the Network's Small Groups section for some sixteen months or so. I don't know where the time went. And now that I'm moving on I thought I'd just do a little reflecting.
The Sonship material comes in various formats, some which are shorter and less intensive than others. When considering how to use Sonship, it should be noted that more is better. However, being exposed to the material in any of several formats has value.