Read an Excerpt
Making Your Small Group Work Participant's Guide
By Henry Cloud John Townsend
ZondervanCopyright © 2007 Willow Creek Association, Henry Cloud, and John Townsend
All right reserved.
Chapter Onegetting connected—God's purpose for small groups
Welcome to Making Your Small Group Work! We are excited to begin the journey with you and your group. This resource is designed to be a training experience for both members and leaders, so the entire group can see, learn, and understand the essential elements for successful, growing small groups—together.
Please insert DVD One and select "Session One: Getting Connected—God's Purpose for Small Groups" to begin.
Watch this ... 8 minutes "Segment One: Why Groups?"
Talk about this ... 12 minutes
Go around the group and share the following:
My name is ... (if the group is new)
What impacted me the most about the interviews was ...
When everyone has shared, select "Segment Two: God's Purpose for Groups" from the Session One menu.
Watch this ... 12 minutes "Segment Two: God's Purpose for Groups"
The "theology" of small groups: God uses people to bring grace and transformation
* Ephesians 4:16—"From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work."
* I Peter 4:10—"Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms."
* John 17:20–21—Jesus desires for us to experience oneness and unity
The goal of small groups is spiritual growth
Grace, truth, and time
* Grace: God is for you
* Truth: reality that comes from Scripture and other people
* Time: the process by which growth and transformation occur
Talk about this ... 25 minutes
To the degree they feel comfortable, have each person share their answer to the following question:
Pick one word from the list below you would use to describe your current connection or relationship with God and explain why you chose that word. You can use a word that is not on the list if you want to.
Close New Careful Disconnected Intimidating Boring Searching Unsure Alone Friendly Loving Questioning Open Safe Nonexistent Angry Strange Peaceful Mysterious Doubtful Overwhelming Afraid Life-giving Stagnant Dynamic In trouble Other: ________
When everyone has shared, select "Segment Three: Closing Thoughts" from the Session One menu.
Watch this ... 3 minutes "Segment Three: Closing Thoughts"
What we've covered ...
Groups are God's delivery system of care: he uses people
The outcome of group life is spiritual growth in all areas of life
"Oneness" is God's desire for his people
Coming up ... Discovering the five habits of a successful group
Close the group in prayer.
Chapter Twofive habits of live-changing groups
Welcome back! Please insert DVD One and select "Session Two: Five Habits of Life-Changing Groups" to begin.
Watch this ... 23 minutes "Segment One: The Five Essential Habits"
Review: grace, truth, and time
The five essential habits
Drama: Violating the Five Habits
Five habits that create a grace-filled, truth-telling group:
Being "for" each other
Encouraging each other
Coming alongside one another
Having a "come-as-you-are" culture
Feeling safe enough to be yourself
Accepting each other unconditionally
Being "real" with each other
Taking relational risks with one another
Hebrews 10:24—spurring one another on
Pushing each other to take growth steps
Naming areas where growth needs to happen
Providing resources others may need
Can be practical: helping move, filing tax returns, etc.
It's also about asking for help when it's needed
Turn the page to begin filling out the chart as you watch the drama.
Drama: Using the Five Habits
As you watch the drama, look and listen for how group members use the five habits. Below is a chart with the group members' names and each of the habits. If you see a habit being used by a character, make a check in the appropriate box. (To see the answers, turn to page 141.)
Talk about this ... 35 minutes
Part 1: (25 minutes)
Share with the group the one habit that most resonated with you or is most important to you and why. Practice "authenticity" (being real) as you share.
The rest of the group should practice "safety" while listening. This means no judgment and no condemnation; let the person who shared know that they are safe and accepted.
Continue with the exercise until everyone has had a chance to share.
When everyone has shared, please turn the page to continue the activity.
Part 2: (10 minutes)
Now talk honestly about how the discussion went:
When you were talking, were you able to be authentic (real)? Why or why not?
When you were listening, did the group environment feel safe? Why or why not?
When everyone has shared, select "Segment Two: Closing Thoughts" from the Session Two menu.
Watch this ... 2 minutes "Segment Two: Closing Thoughts"
What we've covered ...
Groups need to be grace-filled and truth-telling
The five core habits of a small group
Coming up ...
Determining your group's "ground rules"
Close the group in prayer.
Excerpted from Making Your Small Group Work Participant's Guide by Henry Cloud John Townsend Copyright © 2007 by Willow Creek Association, Henry Cloud, and John Townsend. Excerpted by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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