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SMALL GROUP RESOURCES

Welcome to this section on Small Group Leaders' resources , overviews and to find study guide suggestions or downloads!

Continue reading for a better understanding of what a Small Group is and why it is one of the many contexts for Discipleship. You'll also find a list of suggestions to help you become more effective in calling others to follow Jesus through 'doing life together'.

What is a Small Group?

The definition of a Holistic Small Group at the Forest Lake Church is based on one of its Vision element:

A disciple-making community nurturning faith, relationships and service.

Why Small Groups?

Based on the characteristics of a disciple, here are the activities that a disciple engages in:

  • Involved in a group seeking to connect with God through prayer and God's Word.
  • Seeks to live among the broken and use their spheres of influence through modeling the character of Jesus.
  • Chooses to live a life in obedience to God through being accountable to other believers
  • Practices spiritual disciplines that leads to inner peace
  • Loves others and finds ways for those around them to experience their love in a tangible way
  • These descriptions of what a disciple does become real within the context of group life or community. Jesus certainly modeled this fact in his lifetime as He gathered the Twelve around Him. Read the Book of Acts! His small group of empowered disciples made an impact for God's Kingdom! (Source: Bill Hull on Discipleship)

    Small Group Leaders' Profile:

    The ministry leader should primarily be committed to the ABC's (Values), Mission and Vision of the Forest Lake Church. The 'leader' is actually a facilitator in a study setting because he or she asks questions or shares in a way that encourages others to talk within the circle. Here is a summary of additional traits for you to reflect on as you consider servant-leadership for a Smalll Group:

    Character

    To be the kind of person others will follow, it is important to exhibit teachability, humility and growth.

    Availability

    To lead a group require commitment and making time to be present for others. It may look like 5 to 10 hours a week if one considers initial preparation, leaders' meeting and the small group meeting itself.

    Various Kinds of Small Groups:

  • Study: usually involves a curriculum or a book of the Bible with the objective to become better disciples.
  • Affinity: people are brought together through shared interests, hobbies or skills.
  • Care/Support: the focus is on accountability and/or emotional, social or physical support.
  • Prayer: Prayer, learning how to pray and intercessory prayers are the main emphasis.
  • Service: Every group ought to have a component of serving outside of their circle, but this group of usually ecclectic individuals are brought together mainly to work on a outreach service or activity.
  • Suggested steps to organizing a Small Group :

    1. Review the 5 guidelines for starting a group based at Forest Lake Church.

    2. Prayerfully consider what kind of group you and another will be facilitating. (See 'Various Kinds' list above)

    3. Begin to send personal invitations or talking to potential group members.

    4. Invite people for a potluck and propose your idea. If it's a Study, find out what they would like to focus on.

    5. If starting a weekly Study, spend the first meeting on agreeing and establishing a Group Covenant.

    Outline for conducting a Small Group Study meeting-The 5 W's*

    Welcome: We develop community by sharing aspects of our lives through introduction, icebreaker, etc. (15mins)

    Worship: We celebrate God through songs, or Scripture or testimonies or other creative means. (15mins)

    Word: We connect with God through Scripture, share how to apply it to our personal lives. (30mins)

    Witness: We pray for one another and plan on how to reach out to others beyond ourselves. (15mins)

    Here's an extra 'W' suggested by Small Group coach, Don James:

    'Wasting Time"!?: We set some time to simply talk or maybe organize a game night together!

    *Adapted from Dr. Joel Comiskey's on How to Lead a Great Cell Group Meeting...

    Here's a list of more materials that can further assist you with learning how to establishing healthy Holistic Small Groups for Discipleship within your congregation:

    Suggested Readings:

    Books

    The Life and Mission of the Local Church by Russell C. Burrill

    Destination: Community Small Group Manual by Rick Howerton

    Spiritual Body Building by Kim Johnson

    Handout

    RELATIONSHIPS IN MINISTRY AND SMALL GROUP More helpful tips in an easy to remember format !

    (based on Fields/Warren)

    Links for Small Group Study Guides:

  • Interactive Sermon Study Guides 2014: Taking Risks
  • A.C.T.S. of HoPE Group Prayer Guides
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