A simple Bible Study method for Small Groups

This is a great way to study just about any passage of Scripture at your small group. I like it because it forces everyone in the group to interact with the Bible and gives everyone practice teaching truth from the Bible. It also helps the group look outward from the group to people in their neighborhood. This method is also great for leadership development because the method is easily reproduced. So here it is. Try it out at your next group meeting:

  1. Read the passage out loud two times.
  2. Have everyone in the group summarize the passage in their own words.
  3. Ask: What does this passage teach about God? What does this passage teach about me?
  4. Who do I need to share this truth with this week?

A pathway towards community

From Gordon Fee’s Commentary on Philippians… While commenting on  2:3, he says:

If “selfish ambition and vain glory” are sure bets to erode relationships within the church, then the surest safeguard  to a healthy church is when “considering each other as more important than oneself” characterizes its people, especially those in positions of leadership.

May all of us in Small Groups at Fellowship make it a practice to see others as better than ourselves.

What Makes an Effective Small Group Leader?

If you are like most people, whenever the topic of leadership comes up, you tend to shrink back and say “He must not be talking about me! I am no leader.” We think we know what a  leader is and we seem to feel that I am not one.  So lets talk about it for a little bit. What makes a leader? What are the qualities that matter most?

A few years ago there was some research done on Small Group Leadership. The research studied thousands of leaders from all over the globe and asked this question: What are the qualities that matter in Small Group leadership?

They found that there are some things in leadership that matter and some that don’t. What was interesting, is that these are the very things that we tend to think DO matter actually DON”T matter.

These things don’t matter in leadership:

Age-Age doesn’t matter. here are leaders who are  young, old and everything in-between. If you think you are too young or too old to lead others, you are wrong. Age doesn’t matter.

Gender-Gender doesn’t matter. Effective leadership comes from men and from women. In fact, in some cultures, women were more effective leaders than the men. But generally speaking, gender is not a factor.

Social, economic, or educational status-You can be rich, poor, educated or illiterate and still lead a group. (Share from personal experience).

Marital status-Your marital status doesn’t matter. You can be single, married or divorced and still be an effective leader.

Personality-Your personality is not as important as you think in leadership.

Spiritual gifting-Leaders with the gifts of service, leadership, evangelism, teaching, etc. had groups that grew at the same rate

These things do matter in leadership:

Amount of time leader spent with the Lord each day-This is a reflection or our relationship with God. If you are growing in your relationship with Christ, then you can lead in his kingdom.

Amount of prayer for group members-This is a reflection of the leader’s heart for people.

Hospitality, social activity and ministry outside the meeting-These are relational activities. Can you relate to other people? The ability to relate to others is at the center of leadership.

Raising new leaders-Successful leaders share leadership responsibilities. When we do this we increase the amount of ownership that the others in the group feel towards the group.

Clear goals-Does your group have a clear direction and does your group understand what those goals are? We are going to help you form some goals and direction during this time today. The bottom line is that nobody likes being a part of a group that lacks direction.

Preparation for the meeting-Preparing for the meeting is a simple task. 5 minutes spent before the meeting can change the entire tone of the meeting. And group members know if you are not prepared. Nobody likes a meeting where the leader is not prepared.

In Summary:

An effective Small Group leader loves God and Loves people.

Matthew 22:34-40

34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Here is the bottom line… You do not have to be a great Bible teacher, a scholar, an eloquent communicator, an extrovert, or have a magnetic personality. If you are growing in your love for God and for people, then you are a prime candidate for leadership.

Examine the 12 men that Jesus selected as his disciples. They were hardly distinguished, refined or influential people. These were ordinary men with ordinary jobs with ordinary personalities who received an extraordinary call. After three short years with Jesus, they were charged with the responsibility of leading the expansion of God’s kingdom. God loves to use ordinary people. I really believe God wants to use ordinary people like you and me to expand His kingdom through SG’s.

In a sociology study of people over the age of 95, they were asked this question: “If you could live your life over again, what would you do differently? The top three answers were: 1. I would reflect more, 2. I would risk more. 3. I would do more things that would live on after I am dead. Leading a Small Group is a chance for you to make an impact that will live on in the lives of people long after you are gone.

The Fellowship Challenge

I was encouraged this week while visiting two small groups where the majority of members had decided to take the Fellowship Challenge to read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation during 2011. It has been so encouraging to talk to many people in our church who are reading, and enjoying, the Bible. I have enjoyed reading through Genesis and the plan has put me into the Psalms for the first time in a while. I am so happy to have so many people reading with me! If you haven’t began the challenge, its not too late to start. You can find the reading plan here.

Making Disciples

At the very end of the gospel of Matthew, Jesus gives his disciples the command to “make disciples” (Matthew 28:18-20). The command is given in light of the fact that Jesus has been given “all authority in heaven and on earth”. Jesus continues by laying out a simple strategy for making disciples: we are to baptize and we are to teach people to obey everything that has been commanded. Then Jesus gives us a promise that he will be with us. Making disciples is important to Jesus and should be important to His church. Disciples are made in the context of community with the truth found God’s word. This is why Small Groups are so important to the mission of the church. Small Groups produce disciples if we create an environment that not only receives God’s Word, but is vulnerable enough to let God’s word change the group. Let’s make disciples at our groups!

Are Small Groups a Band-Aid?

I was recently told that the American church is in serious trouble. This person also said that they believe small groups to be nothing more than a bandage that cannot stop the disease of lukewarmness Jesus talked of in Revelation. This person then went on to promote a system, or strategy, that would work better than the one most churches are currently using. I love the strategy that he was promoting and have a great affinity with people that are doing church in that way.

Now… I agree that the church in America is hurting in many places and needs help on many fronts. I also think that this is nothing new in the history of the church over the last 200o years. If we can learn anything from history, then we should know and trust that God has preserved a remnant of His people who are living out the life of Christ within our churches and many of these people are taking part in Small Group life. The church does not need a new strategy. The church needs Jesus and needs to recognize that He is among us. Only He will bring life to our hurting world and our hurting churches.

So with that said, how is your Small Group experiencing Jesus? Does your group recognize His presence and allow Him to lead and move in the life of your group?

An Elder May be visiting your group!

The Elders at Fellowship REALLY value the Small Group Ministry. They love and appreciate everything you do and they want firsthand knowledge of how God is moving in our Small Group ministry. So beginning this fall, our elders are going to begin visiting our Small Groups. If an elder shows up at your group, it is not because you are in trouble and your group is not on “Super Secret Probation”. This is an opportunity for your group members to get to know some of the leadership of our church and for our leadership to get to know your group.

GroupLink on May 20th

Small Groups are a great opportunity for people from Fellowship to gather for the purpose of connecting with God and other people. Small Groups are normally composed 8-12 adults that meet 3-4 times per month in someone’s home for fellowship, Bible Study, prayer and service. Small Groups are for adults of all ages, stages of life and spiritual maturity.

If a Small Group sounds like a step you may be interested in, then GroupLink is for you. GroupLink is a two-hour event where you can meet and connect with others to start a Small Group, or connect with an existing Small Group.

When: Wednesday, May 20 at 6:30pm

Where: Fellowship Bible Church in “The Mix” (the old auditorium)

Who: Anybody looking for a Small Group

RSVP to Becca at becca.murdaugh@fbclife.org