Posts filed under ‘Small Groups’

Grateful 43 – Things about my #MultiplyCNC Small Group

“Having small group once a week gives me a lot of encouragement and accountability. Even though I go to church, I don’t really know many people there, but my real community is my small group.” ~ Jeremy Lin

I do know a lot of people at church. I want to get to better know those people and others but church-time isn’t the time to get to know folks better. Church-time is the time to worship God. The community part happens before or after church like in a small group.

It has been awhile since I’ve been part of a small group. I’ve missed this personalized encouragement, accountability, and community that comes from being part of an ongoing small group.

This past week our church launched small groups to go with a new series Pastor Mike and Pastor Phil will be preaching: Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples by Francis Chan.

Last night I met up with my new group. And even though we’ve only met once I am already grateful. I am grateful 4 3 things about my Multiply small group.

ONE. They kept me on my toes. We didn’t just agree with one another. We challenged (in a good way) and discussed the material and opinions. This type of discussion helped me to get more serious with the material by bringing in a different viewpoint and by causing me to refine my half-baked ideas into something that is more truthful. I came away with 4 thoughts I want to keep pondering, I look forward to more of the same.

TWO. I am not the leader of the group. I get to experience Julie’s leadership and see how to do small groups better. I get to stay in student mode and not teacher mode. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE being in teacher mode. But I need to be in student mode right now. It is hard to explain what I am feeling and needing. But I am grateful to be exploring Multiply for this time with this group as a student.

THREE. It was an honour to hear life. Everyone is going through something. This is true whether we can see it or not. And last night we heard a bit about the life of some of the ladies. We heard their pain, struggle, growth, doubt, frustration and desire to do all this with God.Wow! I thought, :This is a safe place.” And then I realized I wanted to be more like them. I am grateful these gals felt safe enough to share. And I am grateful that their sharing their life inspires me to be a better woman.

Your Turn . . . Are you in a Multiply small group? Some other small group? . . . What is a reason you are grateful for your group?

I am writing a gratitude series titled Grateful 43. I will do this for 43 days. And I will write three things for which I am grateful 4 each topic. Do you see the play on the words 43 and FOR THREE?  Go here for the 43 Days of Gratitude JOURNAL Prompts

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Small Group Table of Contents

The folks in our small group are willing to have  fun while we undertake the serious business of becoming more like Jesus. (I am the one in the white mask.

The folks in our small group are willing to have fun while we undertake the serious business of becoming more like Jesus. Come join us. (I am the one in the white mask.)

Tips for Better Small Groups

Why Join a Small Group 

Your Turn . . . Do you belong to a small group? If not, then join or start one today! You won’t regret the investment of your time and energy.

Related Post . . . 12 Ways to Develop Community at CNC This Winter

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“Uncovering the Mystery of the Bible” Small Group Starts 9/11/11

Ron Stilwell  will be teaching a class at Cordova Neighborhood Church called Uncovering the Mystery of the Bible. It starts Sunday, September 11th at 9:30 am. Room is TBD.

We have a book called the Bible. It is very important to us.

  • So why do we believe it?
  • How did it come about?
  • How should we interpret it?

Many Christians have these questions but never get them answered.

In this class you will explore the answers to these questions and more. Be prepared to take notes and bring your thinking cap.

Sign up by commenting on this post or in Rudat Hall this coming Sunday.

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Marriage Built to Last Small Group Starts April 10th

This free 6 week small group is like a Marriage Seminar without the high cost and investment of time away. The teaching is great for couples who are doing well in their relationship and need little input and for those who are in a season of conflict. The material is also helpful for engaged couples. No book is needed. The group is led by Grant and Jodi, Sundays at Cordova Neighborhood Church at 9:30 am.

The last group that went through this study said it had useful ideas, was not cheezy, and provided material for in-depth discussions at the group and at home.

Grant says, “In this 6 week series, you’ll spend the first 20-30 minutes of each session watching the video. The video has 24 couples–including quarterback Kurt Warner and his wife Brenda–sharing real-life stories about their questions and struggles to build strong marriages.

Chip Ingram, Senior Pastor of Venture Christian Church in Los Gatos, CA will then share some biblical principles on marriage and offer suggestions.” The intent of the biblical, practical teaching is to help couples “live intentionality and love biblically.”

“You’ll spend the remaining 30 or so minutes going over some discussion questions about the video. Having the couples on the video share will help jump start our discussion–without putting us on the spot to share too deeply about our own marriages.  We’ll end each session with a few minutes of prayer.”

Here is the tentative schedule of sessions (breaks due to holidays and scheduling conflicts)

April 10 . . . “Adjusting to Expectations”
April 17 . . . “Learning to Communicate Clearly”
May 1 . . . . . “Breaking Down Walls”
May 22 . . . . “Resolving Conflict”
June 5 . . . . . “Restoring Sex and Intimacy”
June 12 . . . . “Striving for a Christ-Centered Marriage”

Grant and Jodi “hope that each session will be challenging but encouraging.

Sign up today through the office or in Rudat Hall on Sunday.

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9 Ways to Have a Memorable Small Group

We all know what a bad small group looks like. But what distinguishes a good group from a memorable group? What specific things can a teacher, leader, or facilitator do to make their small group memorable? Below are 9 ideas.

  1. Pray for the group on a regular basis. Research has shown that this one activity makes the biggest difference in the health of a group. Tapping into this supernatural power is smart. “Praying for another person is like touching God with one hand and touching the person with the other.  That’s what intercessory prayer is all about” (When God’s People  Pray, Jim Cymbala). HT to Brenda for the quote.
  2. Keep in touch during the week. This lets the group know that you care about them. You have probably heard the true saying, “They don’t care what you know, until they know you care.” Make contact via an email, text or IM. Send notes just because or when someone misses a class. Phone to follow up on a conversation or to say, “I prayed for you today.”
  3. Support community between the group members. The more connected a group is to one another, the better the communication and (emotional and spiritual) growth of the participants. Do this by not making all the follow-up calls yourself; share the task. Also have a few activities outside of regular meetings so that  the members can get to know one another better.
  4. Foster respectful interaction. Most likely there will be diverse opinions voiced. This can be a great asset to a group. But be sure to cultivate an environment of respect. This is done by maintaining appropriate eye contact (no staring or avoiding), giving people time to respond, no attacking of a person, and by using people’s names.
  5. Be prepared. Make preparation for the group a priority. When you are not prepared it lessens your credibility as a teacher. It also causes others to doubt your trustworthyness. This will negatively impact the relationships you are trying to build. And once you’ve lost credibility, it is hard to get it back.
  6. Go with the flow. While it is necessary to be prepared and to stick to the topic at hand, it is also good to sometimes go with the flow of the conversation. You have to listen well to the conversation and for God’s leading voice. My prayer at these times is, “Lord, show me how and when to segue back to the topic.”  He always does.
  7. Allow some chit chat at the beginning. This helps set people at ease. It helps everyone to transition from their busy day to the group’s agenda. And it helps other’s to get to know one another better. Instead of chit chat, you can also use a purposeful ice breaker to accomplish the previous three goals.
  8. Start and end on time. We are busy people. Most have a full list of events and to-do’s on both sides of the time you meet. Making it a habit to start and end on time shows respect and understanding. It allows the participants to relax and be fully engaged in the time you are together because they know you are a responsible time-keeper.
  9. Don’t be a know-it-all. Even if you do know-it-all, allow the group to discover most of the principles for themselves. Self-discovery has a greater impact than straight lecture. You can aid self-discovery by asking open-ended questions, by leaving time for the group to think through and talk about their answers before moving on, and by letting others give the answers to the questions asked.

Your Turn . . .

  • What have you found to be essential for a leader/teacher/facilitator to do in order to have a memorable group?
  • What are some of the qualities of memorable groups you’ve belonged to?

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10 Benefits of Praying With a Group

This past year I was part of a small group called The Power of a Praying Woman. In fact, I took that class twice. It was an awesome, instructional time of learning how to pray out loud. Lynette did an awesome job facilitating this group. Besides the instruction, we also had time to actually put the instruction into practice via prayer at each session.

We received benefits from praying together as a group. I came up with 10 benefits.

  1. Because you are accepted by group members you learn to accept yourself.
  2. Church attendees, family, work mates and friends become Christians and receive other miracles in their lives.
  3. The answers to prayer bind you together as a group. Your love for each other and for God grows. Your faith also grows.
  4. You become aware of the stressful and crisis situations in one another’s lives. So now you know how to pray specifically for one another.
  5. You are surrounded by God’s presence.
  6. You (eventually) lose your fear of praying out loud because of the practice (of prayer).
  7. You learn how to pray out loud by hearing more experienced people pray.
  8. You realize that you are more like each other than different from each other. So you learn to replace your fear and suspicion of one another with acceptance and love.
  9. You get to know one another better.
  10. You receive God’s love though the other members of the group.

Your Turn . . .

  1. Which of the above benefits have you received because of praying with a group?
  2. What benefit would you add that is not on the list?
  3. Are you part of a praying group? Why or why not?
  4. What will you do this week because of reading this post?

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3 Reasons to Join a Small Group During the Holidays

There is a lot of hustle and bustle at the holidays. The to-do list is unruly, the to-buy list is unmanageable, the to-be list is unreasonable. And yet we often bow before these unrelenting goals and strive to do, to buy and to be out-of-proportion with our time, income, and personality.

Did you know there is an antidote?

Join a small group on Sundays or Wednesday night (for women).

You are probably asking, “You want me to add something else to my list?”

Yep. Here are three reasons why.

Reason 1. Place and time to meet with God. These small groups at CNC were started with a specific purpose in mind. You will get many benefits, but the main purpose is one. The focus is on God. Isn’t that simple? At this hustle-bustle time of year, doesn’t it feel good (emotionally, spiritually and physically) to refocus on the Creator and Reason for the Season?

At 9:30 on Sunday mornings you have two choices.

  • Behind door number one (okay, really it’s door #11) you can attend Ray’s class on the book of Romans. Ray is going through Romans slowly and thoroughly. He’s studying to answer all the questions he has had about this book. Attend his class to get your own questions answered. This group is an on-going group.
  • And behind door #9 is where a group of women are learning how to become godly wives. Sandra and Susan are leading this group through seven traits (a wife can cultivate) that impact a husband for good or ill. Some of these traits are not natural and maybe not even popular. This week’s trait is Adapt (#2). This group will end January 16, 2011.

At 11 am on Sundays you can sit in on Ron’s class. He is teaching on church history in America. Ron is passionately interested in this topic. He has written the book for this class and often passes out support material. Going to this class will give you a balanced and thorough view of God’s involvement in the history of America. This is an on-going group.

Wednesday nights at 7, Untamed is a group for women and led by Carol. The tagline for the book says, “How the wild side of Jesus frees us to live and love with abandon.” The information and questions in the book will challenge some of your ideas about Jesus. Patsy Clairmont says this book made her “laugh out loud and want to fling [herself] more wholeheartedly into [her] faith. This group ends January 19, 2011.

Reason 2. Place and time for community. Expectations are high during the Holidays: expectations we have for others, they have for us, and even the ones we have for ourselves. Carrying around and living by these expectations sure gets tiring and lonely. It tends to isolate us.

So again I say, join a small group.

Members in these groups are grappling with Scripture, voicing their confusions, and sharing their prayer requests. Many lay down some self-imposed armour to get real. And many find a hand of welcome on the shoulder, a hand lifted in prayer on their behalf and a hand of help up when one has fallen. It’s a place to find community during a season of frenzied activity that would rob us of such. It’s a place to find a friend.

Small groups are a place and time for three things. (1) They are a place and time for meeting with God to learn about Him, about how He can make a difference in our lives and about how He intersects with history. (2) Small groups are a place and time to meet with others in a meaningful way. (3) And they are a place and time to give to others in a purposeful manner.

Reason 3.  Place and time for purpose. Each of us was created with certain skills and given certain gifts when we become a Christian.The Bible says we are to use these gifts for the benefit, for the purpose, of building up the members of the church. Encouragers are to encourage. Teachers are to teach. Givers are to give. Mercy people are to show mercy. And so on. We need each other in order to be properly “cheered on.” You have a purpose and a “job” that only you can perform.

Let this Holiday Season be all it can be because you added one item to your to-do list. Join a small group today. If you have any questions, want to host or lead a small group, contact me (Susan) at 635-5992 x14. Just so you know, I regularly satisfy my small group craving by attending a small group (as a participant).

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