Using Story Cards When Your Group Isn’t New

March 15th, 2016 by Dan Mancini

How do you get a group of people to start talking and start being real?

We’ve developed Story Cards as a  way to help people share about their lives and spiritual journeys. You’ll be surprised how using photographs as a storytelling tool can draw your group into deeper reflection and more meaningful conversations.

You may already have a pack of Story Cards that you were either given at GroupLink or a leader development event or that you bought from Connections. If so, you probably think of them as a tool to use when your group is brand new. It’s true they’re a great way to get people to begin to connect with one another. Read the rest of this entry »

Three Tips for Picking a Group Study

March 10th, 2016 by Dan Mancini

Are you currently asking, “What should my group study next?” There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to that question, but check out groupresources.org by clicking the Resources link at the top of this page. But how do you actually choose what’s right for your group?

Here are three practical tips for picking a study:

  1. Limit a study to 6 parts or fewer.
    When studies goes on longer than that, they tend to drag. The goal is never to finish or do every part of a study. It’s to dig into the areas that challenge you and your group members to grow. Don’t feel pressure to answer every question at each group meeting. Pick the ones that resonate with you or that will challenge you and your group members to apply what you’re learning. Limiting a study to 6 parts doesn’t mean you have to choose studies that are 6 parts or fewer. So if a study has more than 6 chapters, figure out a way to limit it to 6 weeks. Either read 2 chapters each week or pick the 6 chapters that are most helpful in terms of personal application. As the group’s leader, you’ll need to work through the materials ahead of time so you can figure out which parts of the study will most benefit your group.
  2. Don’t stick with a weak study.
    You can decide to quit a study you’ve started if it’s just not generating good conversation or leading you toward practical application. Don’t stick with a study just because you feel like that’s what you’re supposed to do. If  there’s broad agreement in your group that a particular study isn’t working out, move on to something else.
  3. Select studies that help your group grow in the Three Vital Relationships.
    People who are growing spiritually are growing in their Intimacy with God, Community with Insiders, and Influence with Outsiders. It’s always a great idea to look for studies that will strengthen your group in one of these three areas. As the leader, you’re in the best position to assess which of the three vital relationships your group most needs to focus on at a given point in the life of the group. Maybe you want to work through a curriculum that will enhance your relationship with God, or read a book that builds community with other believers, or watch a DVD that challenges you to reach out to those outside the faith. In the course of a year, you should be able to hit each of the Three Vital Relationships.

Check out groupresources.org to find a study for your group. Nearly everything on that site meets the guidelines above.

If you formed a new group at the January GroupLink, you’re probably getting near the end of your first study, Community: Starting Well in Your Small Group. That means you’re probably asking, “What should my group study next?” There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to that question, but we have a resource to help you find a study that meets the needs of your group.

Check out groupresources.org by clicking the Resources link at the top of this page. Read the rest of this entry »

Sharing Your Stories in Small Doses

March 1st, 2016 by Dan Mancini

Sharing your stories in the early months of a new Community Group is an essential part of group members bonding. There are lots of different ways to tell your stories in group. In this blog post, I’m going to talk about another one. It’s a unique approach with a lot of benefits.

Instead of  members or couples taking 30-45 minutes to share their complete stories one at a time over a period of a few group sessions, in this method everyone takes about two minutes to share a piece of his or her story each session, across six sessions. Read the rest of this entry »