Introducing the Prayer Guide

September 23rd, 2013 by Dan Mancini

Prayer is an integral part of helping to lead people into a growing relationship with Christ in every area of our church. It’s also vital to building the kind of community that supports spiritual growth. You and your group members should be sharing the details of your lives, and praying both for an with one another. But there’s another way you can pray that will enhance the relationships in your group and connect your group experience to what is happening in the larger community you’re part of: you can pray for the church. Read the rest of this entry »

4 Ways to Make an Unsafe Group Safe

September 19th, 2013 by Dan Mancini

Earlier this week, I wrote about what constitutes a “safe environment.” It’s all about people finding the freedom to be vulnerable with one another because you can’t really grow until you start getting real. But what do you do if you’re group is already “unsafe”? How do you turn things around when group members are already wary of being transparent?

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What is a “Safe Environment,” Anyway?

September 17th, 2013 by Dan Mancini

We talk a lot about how a safe environment paves the way to community. It’s essential for building connection. But what does it mean for an environment to be safe?

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Plant and Water. That’s It.

September 12th, 2013 by Dan Mancini

Once upon a time, group leadership got incredibly frustrating. It was like herding cats. I had an agenda, but I couldn’t get certain groups or certain group members to get on board or follow through. Everything about leading was frustrating. There was little reward for my effort. The whole thing became drudgery and I considered packing it in and finding a different way be involved in church . . . some way that actually produced measurable results.

And then I stumbled on a passage in the Bible that I’d read a hundred times before, but suddenly had new meaning. It changed my perspective on group leadership. It changed how I relate to God as I lead. It prevented me from throwing in the towel. Read the rest of this entry »

When Mean Girls Grow Up . . . and Join Your Group

September 9th, 2013 by Sue Bates

[Today’s post is by Sue Bates. Sue is a Groups Director for women’s groups at Buckhead Church. She’ll be contributing to the blog regularly on topics related to leading women. But, honestly, there’s a ton of wisdom here that applies to men too. If you’re a guy, don’t miss what Sue has to say. —Ed.]

Have you ever felt like your small group meeting is like a scene from the movie Mean Girls?

“I’m sorry that people are so jealous of me, but I can’t help that I’m so popular.”

Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration. In fact, I think most women’s groups experience great relationships and great community right out of the starting gate. I’m not big on gender stereotypes, but I do think women have an edge when it comes to developing relationships. Most of us are just plain good at friendship. We share our thoughts, our stories, and our lives fairly naturally. Let’s just say we tend to be more relationally savvy than men . . . most of the time.

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9 Things Not to Say In Group

September 5th, 2013 by Dan Mancini

We all want to lead our groups successfully, right? We all want to be in on what God is doing to change and grow others. But we worry sometimes about blowing it. Or maybe we’re tempted to be too confident in our skills and training as leaders.

In the provocatively titled “9 Statements That Will Destroy Your Group,” Ben Reed runs through a list of things you shouldn’t say to your group or to yourself about your leadership.

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Winning Versus Succeeding

September 3rd, 2013 by Dan Mancini

I hope you had an enjoyable Labor Day holiday. To help you ease back into the work week, here’s some wisdom from Coach John Wooden. He has a lot to say about living and leading well.

Jesus’ parable of the bags of gold in Matthew 25 can be perplexing, but I think Wooden’s observations offer insight. Maybe God is less interested in us winning than he is in us succeeding. Maybe he wants us to focus less on outcomes (which we mostly can’t control, anyway) and more on making the most of the gifts and talents he’s given us.

Focusing on success can be liberating in a world so obsessed with winning.