Friday, April 14, 2006

Creative Groups

Over the next couple of weeks, I am going to highlight some of the small groups that are gearing up for the summer semester. The biggest complaint against the free market small group system is that they are not Bible studies. I want to demonstrate how discipleship is possible through every type of group-- from our inductive Bible studies to our social justice groups to our tennis groups.

If you have creative small group ideas or examples, please use the comment thread to let us know! This is a place for us to learn from one another.


At 2:30 PM, Blogger Elaine B said...

Do you ever have a problem with a potential group such that you ask the leaders to retool their idea? Have there been groups that you just had to reject? I know that these would be concerns at my church if we talked about implementing a free market system.

At 3:50 PM, Blogger Heather Z said...

There are three primary things we do to ensure that our groups are intentional about discipleship. First, there is a question on the leadership application: "Briefly describe your vision for the group you wish to lead and how it will accomplish the goals of creating community and making disciples."

We look very carefully at the answer to that question to ensure that they are intentional about discipleship. For instance, if someone starts a running group, we want to know how they plan to "make disciples" from that. We have a running group next semester, and they will be discussing a book, The Battlefield of the Mind, before their weekly runs.

Secondly, we do an interview with every new leader. So we have an opportunity to talk to them about what they plan to do in their group.

Thirdly, we require leaders to submit a weekly "Win Sheet" that shares how they met the goals of discipleship in their group that week.

All leaders are placed under the pastoral care of a "zone leader," who challenges the small group leader to grow spiritually. As the leader grows in their faith and leadership, we believe those they lead will also grow.

The free market approach definitely places the bulk of the focus on the spiritual development of leaders as opposed to participants. To focus more on ensuring equitable growth for all group participants, I think it would be better to go with a model that uses standardized group goals and curriculum. But that would mean creating a one-size-fits-all system. There are advantages and disadvantages to both!


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