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

Related Posts . . . 

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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?

Related Posts . . .

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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?

Related Posts . . .

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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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“Becoming a Godly Wife” Group Begins Sunday, November 14th at the 9:30 Hour

Marriage, like any relationship, takes work for it to succeed. However, not all work is equal or intuitive. But when a wife works on meeting the seven specific needs[1] of a man, it can help him to feel deeply loved. “The power of a woman to complete her husband is immense and often controls whether he becomes all God intended him to be” (Becoming a Godly Wife, p 11). The book candidly discusses these needs and offers marriage exercises for the wife to complete. Implementing information gleaned from the exercises will draw the husband closer to the wife and visa-versa. This would obviously increase the level of commitment, intimacy and joy in their relationship.

During the 20 years of my marriage I read a lot of books on marriage and doubted that this book could show me anything new. However, I was wrong. While I’ve long known that a man values/needs respect and companionship, the chapters on these topics have explained the why and how in a way that makes me truly understand this need. I wish I had known about domestic leadership and attractive soul and body when I was married. Looking back I see how I let pride, insecurity and stubbornness interfere with meeting the needs of my husband, which is something that I truly wanted to do.

I’ve been practicing detached listening. It appears that women as well as men like/value this kind of listening. Since I am not married anymore I can’t practice most of my newly gained insights on a husband. But I have shared them with my mentee. As we discussed each chapter, my friend shared what she did with the information learned. And I’ve seen its good impact on her marriage.

In this class we’ll wrestle with these 7 areas and we’ll pray for each other.

Please sign up and pay for the book ($16) by October 31, 2010. We will meet at CNC in Room 8. If you have a question, contact Sandra Cowell or Susan Wright at 635-5992.

NOTE: I wrote this review 2 years ago. That is when my friend and I went through this book. She is still following some of the book’s suggestions with good results. BTW – There is a Becoming a Godly Husband book that also has great advise.

[1] These seven needs are respect, adapt, domestic leadership, intimacy, companionship, attractive soul & body & listening.

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5 Small Group Myths Busted

Myths abound about all kinds of things. Weird Facts has the 10 most popular science myths. There are even myths about small groups. Continue reading for 5 of them and see them “BUSTED.”

Myth 1: Small groups last too long.

Myth 2: Small groups are in the evening and I don’t like to go out at night.

Myth 3: I’m not smart enough to be part of a small group.

Myth 4: Small groups are only for those who want a study group.

Myth 5: I’m very shy (weird, talkative, beautiful, etc.) and no -one will like me.

Myth 1: Small groups last too long.

Most CNC small groups have a start and end date. They last from 5-12 weeks. Even if you do belong to an on-going group (like the Family Friendly Group or Ray’s Romans class) you have the option of attending as it fits your schedule and preference.

Myth 2: Small groups are in the evening and I don’t like to go out at night.

Yes, we do have some groups that are held in the evening (like The Joyous Crafters, The Revolt College Group and the Pastor’s Class). But there are also 5 groups that will be held on Sunday mornings. Check out the Small Group brochure for information on these groups.

Myth 3: I’m not smart enough to be part of a small group.

Not true. No one is given a Biblical literacy entrance exam. The requirement for a group that is doing a study is that you are interested in the study and that you spend some time each week doing the homework. How much time you study is up to you.

Myth 4: Small groups are only for those who want to study.

Again, not true. Not all the small groups are a learning-type group. I.e. The Prayer for Healing group is just that. It’s a group of folks who pray for those needing healing. The P.E.P. Breakfast Club is a time for those 55+ to get together at the Waffle Shop to talk, eat and have fun.

Myth 5: I’m very shy (weird, talkative, plain, etc.)and no -one will like me.

It is hard to go to a group, or anywhere, when you are not comfortable with yourself. But let me assure you of something. CNC folks are among the friendliest and most accepting of all folks I’ve met in 6 states and 10 countries! Give us a chance to prove that myth wrong.

Small Groups start the week of October 10, 2010. Brochures are in Rudat Hall on Sundays or in the office during the week.

Contact me with questions or ideas at the office (635-5992) or leave a comment.

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I’m Having a Small Group Attack

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I’m Having a Small Group Attack

Every once in a while I get cravings. You know, the usual: chocolate, ice cream, fried foods, and small group.

Small group? Yep. Small group. It’s been months since I last attended a small group and I am having a craving for small group interaction, learning and accountability.

Fortunately, CNC has a new round of small groups starting the week of October 10th. Pick up the updated Small Group brochure in Rudat Hall on Sunday or from the Office today.

Sign up for the small group that looks good. We’ve got a small group for every taste! Contact me if you have any questions or ideas.

Watch this video for an explanation about  “Small Group Attack.”

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11 Ways to Use Facebook in Your Ministry

“Social media essentially is a category of online media where people are talking, participating, sharing, networking, and bookmarking online” (Ron Jones).

Like it or not social media is here to stay. It’s how a huge number of people connect for pleasure, business, education, and information.

The information for this post was researched and blogged September 7, 2010.

  • 1 out of 8 couples married in the U.S. last year met via social media. (Technology and Community)
  • In the near future we will no longer search for products and services they will find us via social media. (Technology and Community)
  • 1 in 6 higher education students are enrolled in online curriculum. (Technology and Community)
  • Digg and Newsvine (2 social news sites) allow readers to not only read but also comment on the articles.

“Social networking now accounts for 11 percent of all time spent online in the US.”  175 million people log in to Facebook each day. And that number is growing exponentially. In fact 96% of GenY’s have joined a social network.” (Technology and Community)

And it’s not just the youth who are online. 1/3rd of Facebook users are in the 35-54 age range.

As you can see, Facebook is one handy tool to have in your ministry toolbox. Below are 11 ways you can use Facebook to connect with and impact people in your ministry.

1. Accountability. Use Facebook to stay on target with goals. When feeling a little shaky ask for prayer and ideas on how to keep motivated. Other’s insights can be helpful in staying the course.

2. Advertising. It is easy to send an event reminder or advertise about an upcoming event on Facebook. Your alert won’t become one of many messages in a crowded email inbox. Plus you can easily include pictures and links without affecting loading time.

3. Closes the Gap. Facebook allows you to converse with friends of friends, thus possibly widening your sphere of influence. On Facebook age is not immediately apparent, an issue, or a liability. In a face-to-face conversation people from different decades might not converse well or easily. But on Facebook it’s ok to be friends with those that are younger and older.

4. Connect. You can get to know others by reading their status updates, checking out their photos, and reading their comments to others. You get to know them on their turf.

5. Equal Opportunity. Facebook allows all sorts of people in all sorts of situations to connect. There is equal opportunity connection for the very shy … slow thinkers (like me) … chronically ill … very talkative … and … service members. You can participate on Facebook if you … live in a different city/country than your friends/family …. work a lot or have opposite shifts from others … and/or have a disability that makes it difficult to communicate easily face-to-face.

6. Information. Share links for useful resources as they relate to your ministry. You Tube, websites, blogs, and news articles are a few examples.

7. Respond. Share an answer in response to someone’s Status Update. I.e. Give tips on potty-training or training for a bike ride across the USA. Advise us where to stay in Monterrey or Saigon. Please tell AC what to do with squash paste!

8. Share Yourself. Facebook is an ideal place to share who you are via photos, links, your blog/website, commentary, and your thoughts whether they are silly or serious. Sharing your likes and dislikes helps others know you as a real person. You become accessible.

9. Small Groups. Extend your learning time outside of small groups. Discuss homework answers. Give explanations on topics you didn’t have time for in class. Use Facebook to go deeper into topics or people’s beliefs/ideas/questions. Explore tangents. Use Facebook in creative ways like Facebook as if you are a character from the study.

10. Thanks or Birthday Greetings. The snail mail thank you or birthday card is nice to get, but many don’t ever send one. With Facebook it is easy, fast and free to send birthday, thanks and other greetings to others in a timely manner! There is no excuse to not encourage teachers, students, and pastors with a Facebook message … Thanks for your helpI appreciate a job well done … or … Your insightful teaching gave me much to think about. Let people know you care about them.

11. Tip Exchange. You don’t have to write a paper or even fret over grammar to share your tips with others. You know something? Then tell us. I.e. How to keep a devotional time fresh. 5 ways to Get to Church On Time and Sane. Put this information in the notes section for easier reading.

These are some ways to use Facebook to communicate with others. This sharing of ourselves through ideas, feelings, resources and encouragement leads to better relationships. As we improve and grow our relationships with one another, our ministry also grows and improves.

Your Turn

  • How have you used Facebook in your ministry? Did it work out well or was it a flop?
  • What idea(s) would you add to this list?
  • How are you going to use Facebook this week in your ministry?

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14 Ways to Determine God’s Will

“We can try to avoid making choices by doing nothing, but even that is a decision. Gary Collins

Decision-making is a stressful time for many. Is making the right decision causing you fear, sleepless nights and anxiety? In a recent small group, we discussed how to be in the center of God’s will. Most of us felt it wasn’t easy to find and we were feeling stressed.

“How do you know if it’s God leading you or the world?” Our group brainstormed two lists. One list shared how the world makes decisions. The other list is how Christians make decisions (according to the Bible). Sometime I will add a third column that gives Scriptural support for these answers.

Read through the ideas. What have you tried that works? What would you add to the list? Detract from the list?

Note: Not all the ideas from the world’s list are bad ideas.

Ways World Decides What To Do Next Ways Christians Decide What To Do Next
Money – What Brings In The Most Money and Benefits Which Decision Will Most Benefit My Family, Personal Mission (from God) and Church
Pro-Con List Pro/Con List: Then Match Up With Scriptural Principals And Advise
Flip A Coin Have Faith That God Will Give You An Answer
Goals List – How Achieve Them Scripture – What Does It Say About Situation?
Rock, Paper, Scissors Prayer And Fasting
Climb The Corporate Ladder – Follow Whatever Step Is Next Find Out All you Can About The Situation In Order To Make An Informed Decision.
Just GO – Do The Next Thing That  Comes To Mind Open/Closed Doors
Emotions: What Feels Good And Right Peace – Which Decision Brings The Peace Of God
Look for Signs Fleeces
Trial Period – If It Works Out Continue, If Not Discontinue And Find Another Answer Christian Media Resources (Books, DVD’s, etc)
Follow Expectations Of Others Does Decision Glorify/Please God?
What Makes Me Happy WWJD (What Would Jesus Do In Order to Please God?)
Follow Advise And Input Of Others Seek And Follow Counsel From Godly People
Horoscope/Psychic Reader Intuition (Holy Spirit Given)

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