From spiritual practices and the books of the Bible to career challenges and establishing guardrails, there are a variety of studies that are just a click away.
If you're intentional about it, December can be one of the best times of the year to build relationships in your group.
We've created a number of one-session studies and activities. They're short, but they're not throwaways. In fact, they can set the tone for future studies by helping you connect more deeply while learning important stuff about yourselves and one another.
The most frequent question group leaders ask church staff is, "What should my group study next?" We can give you all sorts of answers, but the truth is you're in a much better position to answer that question than we are.
I enjoy leading my group. I just hope nobody asks me anything about the Bible.Do you ever think something like this?
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?
Visit groupleaders.org/startingwell. It has a ton of stuff to help you lead your group through Community: Starting Well In Your Small Group
Everything has a starting point — your life, your relationships, your education, your career. Sometimes we forget that faith has a starting point as well. Starting Point is an 8-session small group conversation about faith. Whether you’re new to faith, curious about God, or coming back to church after some time away, it’s a place where your opinions and beliefs are valued and no question is off limits. You may know Starting Point as an environment we've created to help people connect with their heavenly Father. What you may not know is that you can lead your Community Group through Starting Point too.
Starting Point is a great option regardless of the makeup of your group or where you are in your group's life-cycle. Whether your group has new believers, non-believers, longtime believers, or a mix of all three, this resource will help you connect with God in new ways and have deeper conversations about the spiritual assumptions we all make.
The question that leaders most frequently ask their Groups Directors is, "What should my group study next?" That's why we created the Resources section here at groupleaders.org. It contains all kinds of studies recommended by church staff and group leaders, categorized by topic, group type, length, format, and even the amount of homework required. But sometimes what you really need to know is how a particular resource will help your group, and when in the life-cycle of your group it's best to use it.
So, on Fridays we're going to post some resource recommendations that answer those kinds of questions. The purpose isn't to sell you anything. It's just to make you aware of what's out there and how specific resources may or may not meet the needs of your group.
Today, we'll take a look at Renovate. It's a great study if you and your group want to take a relatively deep dive into spiritual growth. Here's the rundown:
How long is it?
Renovate is eight sessions, so there's a time commitment involved. But it's worth the time.
How is it structured?
Video elements (to view during meetings) and written content make it easy lead. It's relatively plug-and-play, though you'll need to be ready to model the kind of transparency and openness the study demands.
Discussion questions tee up some great conversations, but there's also exercises to do inside and outside of group meetings. In other words, you can expect more homework than a typical study (but it's not overwhelming).
What is unique about Renovate?
Renovate deals with an often neglected aspect of spiritual growth: self-awareness and emotion intelligence. It's never easy to take an honest look at the areas where we have room to grow. The more open and transparent your group members are, the more everyone will get out of the experience.
When should we do it?
It's important that relationships already exist and trust has been established before you use this study. You probably don't want to dive into Renovate until your group has been together for at least six months if not a year.
Renovate isn't an easy study. In fact, it may rock your world. But it offers some phenomenal content that has the power to strip away obstacles standing in the way of your personal spiritual growth.
The Thanksgiving-to-New-Year’s window is always an interesting time in the life of your small group. It rarely makes sense to start a new curriculum after mid-November, because you’re unlikely to finish it before your group breaks for Christmas. But you don’t want your group to limp into the end of the year. If you're intentional about it, December can actually be one of the best times of the year to build your group’s sense of community and and purpose. Here are four ideas for finishing the year well: Serve together. There is no time of the year that people are more inclined to serve those in need than around the holidays. Whether you adopt a family for Christmas, leverage a Be Rich service opportunity, or create your own service project, look for an opportunity to serve together. Serving together is a bonding experience that creates lasting memories, and it also provides you with an opportunity to focus on your Influence with Outsiders.
Be social. We say “Merry” Christmas and “Happy” Holidays for a reason. Whether you go catch a Christmas concert together, host an Ugly Sweater Party, or go ice skating at the park, December is a great time to have fun together.
Share communion. Christmas is a time for tradition and remembrance. There is perhaps no older tradition within the body of Christ than sharing communion together—and this is something you can do with your group. Don’t worry, we have suggestions on how to lead through this.
Look back and celebrate. As the year comes to a close, take a night to reflect back together on what God has done in the lives of your group members over the past year. Pro tip: as the group leader, you might want to come with some ready examples for each person/couple, already in your pocket. What prayers have you seen answered? What steps have you seen people take? What life change have you witnessed?
Get creative. Maybe combine two ideas to make one special night. But whether you’re wrapping up your first semester together, or winding down the end of your group’s life cycle, but don’t miss the opportunity to close out the year on a high note!
Summer is almost here again. We're all looking forward to warmer weather, but let's face it, leading a small group during the summertime can be tough. People are distracted by vacations, holidays, summer sports, and kids free from school. Besides, the summer months just feel less structured to most of us — children and adults alike — so it's harder to motivate people to focus on group. Over the past couple years, we've written some posts to help you make the most of the summer months. They're intended to guide you in finding a workable rhythm for your group, so the people you lead can continue to connect and grow without you having to feel like you're herding cats.
I've gathered those posts here for easy reference. Check them out.