Posts filed under ‘Small Groups’

Recent Study* Shows One Thing Has Most Impact in Making a Small Group Healthy

What a leader/teacher does impacts the group. Being friendly, studious, and compassionate are all important. But none of these is the one thing that makes the most impact on a group’s health. Let’s see if you know the answer.

Pick one of the following answers to this question: What main characteristic of a  small group leader/teacher will most impact the group’s health?

  1. The spiritual growth of the group increases the more time a leader/teacher spends in study.
  2. If the leader/teacher has a Bible degree, the group members will be better taught and  thus grow more spiritually healthy.
  3. The leader/teacher that reads and implements the principles from books about discipleship will have the healthiest small group.
  4. The leader/teacher who consistently prays for his/her small group members leads the healthiest small group.
  5. The leader/teacher with the cleanest home and serves the best snacks has the healthiest small group.
  6. The small group that has the most skilled facilitator for a leader/teacher is the healthiest.

Four is the answer. Does that surprise you? “Apparently things depend more on God than on you. Or, put another way, it’s more important to prepare your heart than it is to prepare your notes” (Jim Egli, founder of Small Groups Big Impact).

It’s also important to prepare the heart of those who attend the group. It is more important than giving good information, a comfortable environment, or ample opportunities to discuss the material. The best way for small group leaders to prepare the hearts of group members is to pray for them: their actions, thoughts, and relationships with others especially to God. Pray that each member will have an open mind to the lesson. Pray that the main points of the lesson will land in cooperative hearts and minds.

Don’t make your prayer list complicated. Just consistently talk to God about each member. He’ll guide your prayers. He’ll prepare their hearts. And yours.

CNC small group leaders, if you’d like for me to pray with you, contact me. If you’d like resources on prayer or ideas on what/how to pray, contact me.

Just so you know, I consistently pray for you leader/teachers.

* The study was conducted by Jim Egli and Dwight Marable, founders of Small Groups Big Impact. They surveyed 200 churches and 3,000 small-group leaders.

NOTE: The idea for this post came from the newly released The Fall 2010 Small Groups Digizine.  To get your own copy of this free resource click here.

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35 Reasons It IS Beneficial To Attend a Group

Support can come out of any group that meets regularly whether or not it is called a support group.

  • Support groups can be purposeful and formal like a 12 step group, a Bible study class, a diabetes care group, or a weight watchers meeting.
  • They can have an informal agenda like a group of folks who meet every Sunday morning before the second service at church, moms who meet at the park in the afternoons after school, or seniors who meet every Thursday morning for coffee.
  • Bible study groups, informal groups, or topic-generated groups can turn into a support group.
  • On Tuesday, April 13th we started a new class for folks dealing with chronic pain/illness. In honor of that class I generated a list of potential benefits for attending that class.

Read on for 35 reasons it is beneficial to attend a support group.

  1. To be around others who are experiencing a similar life experience
  2. To hear others say what you are saying/thinking
  3. Figuring out how you are feeling/thinking because of hearing about others’ thoughts/feelings
  4. Relieve isolation
  5. A place to give voice to your hopes, fears, losses
  6. And for those hopes, fears and losses to be heard!
  7. Place to be understood
  8. Place to speak openly and honestly
  9. Learn what to do to have a better, more peaceful lifestyle
  10. Learn how to live with a disability, disease or new situation
  11.  Studies show that people who attend healthy support groups tend to live longer.
  12. They are also less depressed and more motivated to take care of themselves.
  13. Finally they often feel less overwhelmed and more in control of the disease and/or pain.
  14. Place to find and give inspiration, support, exhortation, hope, and information
  15. Friendship with like-minded individuals
  16. Feel helped and guided not attacked and belittled
  17. Help in applying your faith to problems
  18. Reminder to live one day at a time
  19. Reminder that this is not all there is to life – Heaven is coming!
  20. Reminder that you are more than your disease/pain/situation
  21. To be around others who’ll understand the  fear, anger, resentment, grief, and /or helplessness you feel about your changing body/situation and that you are not “you” any more
  22. Be around people who will not belittle you or take you too seriously because they have been, are, or will be where you are emotionally, physically, spiritually
  23. Be around people who won’t coddle you
  24. Place to learn effective self-care techniques
  25. Model taking care of yourself
  26. Learn how to love yourself
  27. Share experiences, information, encouragement, support and hope
  28. Help you understand yourself
  29. Be with people who don’t see you as a problem to be solved
  30. Be around others who didn’t know you “before” and so aren’t sad/grieving with you about that loss
  31. Be  around others who show that “this” disease/pain/situation is livable
  32. Be able to go on this journey with someone else
  33. Be around those who have realistic expectations for you and your life
  34. See what realistic expectations look like
  35. Feel a sense of belonging

Your Turn. Which ones do you identify with? What has been left off the list? What makes you mad?

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Small Groups Help with New Year’s Resolutions: Especially When it Feels Like You Are Scaling a Wall

People have a love hate relationship with resolutions. It’s easy to write down how you’ll accomplish those goals. The most popular resolutions are. . . Lose weight. . . Spend more time with family and friends. . . Get financially fit. . . Learn something new. Christians would add incorporate more Biblical practices into daily life.

The hard part is starting and then sticking to the resolution long enough to make a difference. Often the climb to succesful finishes feels scary, impossible, and full of roadblocks. At times the next step seems out of reach.

One answer is small groups! Being surrounded by supportive people learning the same thing helps us finish what we started. These folks give us verbal encouragement, offer practical help, show us it can be done by their own example, and love on us when we misstep.

CNC can’t help you with the first resolution (lose weight), but can help with the others. Join a small group today in order to spend more time with family and friends, learn something new and see how you can incorporate more Biblical practices into your daily life.

Your Turn . . .

  1. What small group do you belong to?
  2. How have you benefitted by belonging to a small group?
  3. What  has been your best small group experience?
  4. Will you join or continue with a small group this year? Why or why not?
  5. What advice do you have for getting the most out of small groups?

Related Posts

  • 3 Phases of Becoming Part of CNC
  • 4 Week Hospitality Group Format
  • 5 Ways I Saw God Take Care of Me Today
  • Answer the following to see what you should do: P.S. Small groups is the answer
  • Getting Financially Fit Will Happen This February-March: Attend This CNC Small Group
  • Hospitality Field Trip Refreshes and Teaches
  • Out of the Saltshaker and into the World
  • Small Groups Help with New Year’s Resolutions: Especially When it Feels Like You Are Scaling a Wall
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    The Power of a Praying Woman to Impact Small Group of Women

    Looking for a small group where you can connect and learn with other women?
    Sunday (January 10, 2010) we will be starting The Power of a Praying Women by Stormie Omartian, 11 am at CNC. The room is TBD. This 10 week class will guide women through the basics of prayer via video, discussion, daily homework, and of course prayer.
    The workbook is $10.17 from Amazon (normally $14.95). Let me know by (January 6) and I will order a book for you. Make the check out to CNC and put “women’s Sunday study” in the memo line.
    • The video curriculum workbook will be a valuable resource for learning about the topic before the class because each week has five day’s worth of interaction with that week’s message, Scripture and prayer.
    • The first five lessons will cover the following: Praying to become all God made me to be . . . Praying for a life-transforming walk with God. . . Praying to be free of the past . . Praying to put my life in right order . . . Praying to surrender control of my life to God.        
    • However, it is not necessary to have the workbook in order to attend the class or gain from the information presented. Just be sure to bring paper if you are a note-taker.
     8 women have already signed up for this 10 week class.
    Please join us as we learn more about prayer and practice what we learn as a group and on our own.
    Your Turn . . .
    1. If you’ve already done this video study or read the book, what is the gem that you still remember? Still practice?
    2. What would you like to learn about regarding prayer?
    Related Posts

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    4 Week Hospitality Group Format

    Sunday nights I attend a hospitality group with (9-18) adults and scads of kids. This 4 week small group, led by John & Shula, will help us to understand and then to better implement hospiality in our own spheres of influence.

    We start out with a potluck dinner and lots of talking.

    • John then leads in a lecture/discussion on some aspect of hospitality.
    • The evening progresses to dessert, coffee, and more talk.
    • Sometimes we have homework assignments to fulfill during the week.
    • When we get to the lecture/discussion portion of the evening, the kiddos and a babysitter go to another room and have some fun more suited to their ages.

    I am attending this group for 4 reasons . . .

    1.  To get me back into the entertaining/hospitality mode . . . .  In July of 2006 I felt like hospitality had taken a backseat far too long. Read here for more. Despite some valiant attempts (here, here and here) I didn’t get past the writing stage. John & Shula are great examples of showing hospitality. Nothing like learning this from the “masters.”
    2. To eat a meal with people . . . .  As a single I eat most of my meals alone. The exceptions are my evening seminary classes and when my nieces/sista invite me over.
    3. To get to know others better .. . . You can’t get to know others on Sunday mornings at church  – too much going on.
    4. To observe group communication for a paper I have to write . . . . This observation has made me sensitive to what is working well in this group. And there is plenty.

    Eventual Outcome of Group

    The typical Dinners for 6 has been suggested. But an even better idea was suggested.

    Form a Sunday hospitality group – Couples, singles and families would sign up (maybe once a quarter) to invite others to share the Sunday afternoon meal with them after Church. This could be at a restaurant, park or at the host’s home. Really the ideas are endless.

    We are just at the beginning stages of brainstorming and it is exciting. It is also exciting to “work” with John, Shula and their kids in this hospitality experiment at CNC.

     What do you think? Any ideas? Suggestions? What’s worked at your church?

    Note: It is Jan. 4, 2010. This group is not currently in operation.

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    Conflict is the Answer. What’s the Solution?

    Question: What one thing is experienced by 100% of all people?

    Answer: Conflict!

    Conflict is something that everyone has in common. We all get stressed from it. We all, at times, handle it badly. Sometimes we are the receivers. Sometimes we are the initiators. What can we do about the conflicts we all experience?

    Pastor Mike has an answer. Starting September 23rd he is guiding the church through a new series on peacemaking. This eight week series will present the tools needed to handle conflict in a way that is satisfying, helpful and biblical.

    Small Groups will also be going through the same information. That way we can practice using these tools. “We grow through copying deeds, not just listening to words, through examples as well as precept, through habit and not just insight and information” (Os Guinness).

    Watch the bulletin for details on the small groups. Sign up in the foyer. Contact me if you are interested in becoming a small group leader.

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    The Three Phases of Becoming Part of CNC

    Becoming part of a new group depends on your ability to adapt.

    Fitting in is made up of a “taking it in” phase, the “thinking it through” phase, and the “putting it into practice” phase.

    Taking things in

    First, new people- and event-options are presented to you, the visitor. Your job is to compare this new material with relationships and options you already know, looking for connections and a good fit.

    Thinking things through

    Secondly, assimilation into a new group doesn’t happen just by considering the options. It takes place once the service is over and you start asking questions.

    Real connections begin when you start talking about what you’ve read or heard, consciously looking for what matches with your needs and what you have to offer.

    Putting things into practice

    Thirdly, take what seems to be the best people-and event-options and try them out.

    • Ask that couple next to you in the pew to go to lunch with you and your family.
    • Go to that small group one time.
    • Attend one men’s game night.
    • Grab your needles and help with the afghan ministry for a few weeks.
    • Help out at Neighborhood Meals or Respite C.L.U.B. one month.
    • Enroll your child in the choir.
    • Pamper yourself by attending the women’s Retreat.

    Not all choices will work out as a good fit. But each one will give you some history with people at CNC. Participate enough times and soon you’ll be an established family member.

    Check out the Small Groups brochure (in the literature rack by the women’s bathroom), adverts on the women’s bathroom stall doors, the weekly bulletins and monthly CrossRoads for more event-options. You’ll be glad you did. And so will we.

    Call me if you have any questions.

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