Monthly Archives: May 2013

HOW TO THROW A SMALL GROUP CHANGE-UP

one-wayYou are committed to your small group! No doubt about it… because, you probably wouldn’t be taking the time to read this post if you weren’t.

And why we too are committed to small groups, in so much as they “develop relationships with one another that develop our ultimate relationship with the Lord,” we are not committed to a singular means in which to see that goal through. Meaning, there is no “one way” a small group must operate in terms of meeting agenda, meeting frequency, meeting location, or even the specific goal of each meeting.

Recognizing that the goal of your Small Group is not a program, but relationships—here are five ways to throw a “change-up” to your small group this summer.

1. Stop

Stop Meeting weekly/every-other-week for two or three months this summer. Perhaps have monthly socials or special events. There is truth in, “absence makes the heart grow fonder” in that it gives your group the ability to enjoy “kicking off” again this fall. However, you really need to commit to return to your regularly scheduled program!

2. Serve

Sometimes the best way to “grow together” is to serve together. Perhaps rather than meet in a home, your group could meet 1st and 3rd Saturdays at 10am for Adopt a Block. Your group may also prayerfully consider taking on a mission of its own. Is there something that is really near to someone in the group’s heart – a concern/cause they feel God is speaking into them?

3. Play

In line with #1, here are some fun ideas: Guys for golf? Gals for shopping? Potluck for all in a park? Whiffle Ball game with the kids? Cookouts? Concerts? It doesn’t have to be on the same day/night you normally meet. Just about anything fun you can do with your family–ask, “could this be an opportunity for our whole small group?”

4. Go Global

We frequently have our missionaries home on furlough. Having them visit your group to share of their mission and receive prayer and possible financial support is a real win both for your group and the missionaries.

5. Genesis

If your group would like to continue to meet and work through a study, consider not “reinventing the wheel” by complimenting the current sermon series. You can find several Genesis study guides in Mosaic Café for you and your small group.

Whatever you are leaning toward (as one wise person said at our Leader Huddle) talk with you group about these options. That’s the beauty of small group relationships–the opportunity to discuss, share and do life together.

UNDERSTANDING THE 5 LIFE STAGES OF YOUR SMALL GROUP

Small Groups, like any organization—big or small—experience shifts and changes with time.  Businesses, churches, even marriages experience these seasons.

While these stages identified in the “S” curve illustration below can seem to apply across the board, lets see if they can help you identify both where your small group is and is going.

Small Group Life Stages DIAGRAM

FORMING
This is the first stage where your group is first meeting and getting to know one another.  This is the honeymoon phase, if you will.  There is some apprehension on behalf of everyone given the unknowns, yet a general excitement for this step in everyone’s spiritual walk.

STORMING…
Now that folks get to know one another they start to discover things about each other and the dynamic of the group they may not like.  Perhaps unrealistic expectations of the group are surfacing?  Maybe they are painting an unfair comparison to a previous small group experience, wearing rose-colored glasses?

NORMING
With some time, the purpose of the group seems to settle.  There is a commitment to care for one another as the body of Christ—warts and all—as it relates to one another in the group.  Members “get” that this group exists to invest relationally with one another, and that this is “being the church” in one another’s lives.  Thus, as we say often, “Relationships with one another that are encouraging our ultimate relationships with the Lord.”

PERFORMING
This is when the group begins firing on all cylinders.  While you remain the point person for the group, the sense of leadership feels more shared as others express their God-given gifts for the betterment of the group.  Whether hospitality, counseling, teaching, helping, serving, leadership, etc. it’s a great to witness “everyone play!”

but then what? 

Because it is when a small group (or any other organization) is at its best, that we must ask, “Where do we go from here?”

If you as a leader do not recognize “the pinnacle will not last forever”… your group may eventually move to the stage called

ADJOURNING….
Where no new life is breathed into the group. Participation, interest, and energy all begin to fade.  With no new vision for your small group moving forward, your group risks becoming like the “dead sea”—where no new water flows in, nor out.

Or…

REFORMING
Where at the height of the “S” curve, new life, vitality, energy, and vision is poured into your group and its future…

You’ll likely notice some overlap and blurring of the lines between each of these stages.  They are not cookie cutter, but they are there. And it is helpful to reflectively assess your small group through this grid.

As your group continues to advance, we want to prayerfully move toward yes—Norming and Performing, but eventually—Reforming.  That is what the next three posts will aim to provide—step you toward always reforming your group.

We encourage and welcome your feedback and questions in the comments section below, both on this entry and those coming in the days ahead.

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Leader Huddle Follow-up

Thank you to those who were able to make time to participate in our recent Leader Huddle this past week. To those who were unable to attend, we missed you.

Recognizing we tried to cover a lot of ground in short period of time, the next several posts will both rearticulate some key points for those who were there and get those who were not there, up to speed.

One key area that we failed to leave enough time for was YOUR INPUT! Questions, concerns, challenges, trials, etc.

Thus to start off what will be the first of a five entry series…

What would you like to ask? Express? Share? Discuss?

Please take advantage of the Comments section below to begin the dialogue both with us and amongst one another.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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Churchteams? What’s That??

At the Small Group Leaders Huddle this week I handed out a “6 Cool Things You Can Do in Churchteams” sheet. It didn’t occur to me that many (if not most) of the Leaders didn’t even know what Churchteams (“CT”) is, let alone you could do “cool things” in CT. Oops! My mistake – for which I humbly apologize.

Churchteams is an online system (database) that we (FCC) uses to track Small Group membership and other general administrative tasks. If you’re a Leader, you probably receive an email after your regularly scheduled meeting night asking you to please complete your meeting report (which is actually pretty darn easy to do). Well, this email actually automatically comes out of CT, and you complete your meeting report in CT. You may have been using CT but didn’t even realize it!

So… other than getting there from the that email, it also did not occur to me that hardly anyone knows how to go directly to CT. In order to make it easier (i.e., so you don’t have to type on a long esoteric address in your Internet Explorer web browser (or whatever browser you use), you can get there by typing in this shorter address:    http://tinyurl.com/fccgroups .

That will take to the logon page. Logon? How do I do that? Well… you’ll need the leader password (which also functions as your userid in CT).  You will be receiving the leader password via email soon. Once you have that, you can then logon and poke around. You can also optionally set a secondary password for accessing your group’s information, but that’s not strictly necessary. Try it, you’ll like it. For more specific help, Rayla will be putting together a guide for you to help you navigate around. If you have specific questions or problems, email smallgroups@firstdecatur.org and one of us will try to help!

Good luck! Blessings….

Tim Revis
Deacon of Small Groups