Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The Summer Experiment: FAQ #1

The following is a series of FAQs that we distributed to NCC leaders at the annual leadership retreat.

A18: Neighborhoods
Summer Small Groups FAQ

What is the summer small groups project, A18: Neighborhoods?
A18: Neighborhoods is a church-wide small group experiment that we will implement during the summer semester. For six weeks in June and July, all of our small groups will be based on a “neighborhood” and use a sermon-based curriculum that will equip us to bless the neighborhoods of the Washington, DC metro area.

Each group leader will identify their “neighborhood”:
  • Geographical Neighborhood (where you physically live, i.e., NE DC, Capitol Hill, Ballston, Kingstowne, Falls Church, etc.)
  • Marketplace Neighborhood (where you work, i.e., Old Executive Office Building, etc.)
  • Interest Neighborhood (where you play- i.e., artists, athletes, cooks, book club, etc.)
NCCers will choose a group based on the neighborhood they want to be a part of. The goal of the experiment is to learn about sharing our faith in practical ways, to understand what it means to love our neighbor, to discover how God wants to use us to love our neighbors, and to bless our neighbors in a practical way.

Why are we doing the A18: Neighorhoods small group project?

Every now and then, it’s a good idea to get everyone on the same page, singing off the same sheet of music, running off the same playbook, insert whatever metaphor you want here. There is momentum when the Body of Christ comes together with a single purpose and mission. We want to combine the power of community, service, and weekend worship experiences to bless our neighborhoods in very practical ways.

What is the desired outcome?
Specifically, we want to see 1,000 people in 100 small groups learning to be influencers of their culture and blessing the neighborhoods of Washington, DC.

What exactly do you mean by “bless the neighborhood?”

The semester will culminate with each group performing a neighborhood blessing project. What that looks like will be entirely up to the group or leader. A geographic neighborhood group might do a street clean-up or host a backyard Bible club for kids. A marketplace neighborhood might bring in food for employees or offer lunch-time prayer for co-workers. A book club neighborhood might contribute to a library at a local school or an artists group might offer some free classes to kids at Southeast White House. We don’t want to give you too many suggestions because we want them to spring from your prayerful creativity.

Why are we moving away from the free market small group model?
We aren’t, really. Yes, we are asking everyone to follow the same curriculum. But the neighborhood you choose is completely up to you. And the way you choose to bless your neighborhood is completely up to you. In the fall, we will go right back to letting you choose your own curriculum and groups will continue as they have in the past.

Can I continue to lead my current group?
Probably. It’s really about every group being intentional about two things: 1) identifying your neighborhood and 2) being a blessing. We will ask that each group meet weekly during the semester dates and use the sermon-based small group curriculum.

What will the curriculum include?

The curriculum will tie into the summer sermon series and will include the following: 1) a workbook or Bible study material for group participants to use during the week between gatherings, 2) leader facilitation questions, notes, and ideas to use during group gatherings, and 3) downloadable video content to be shown at group gatherings or available to participants outside of group. It will be a Bible study on influencing others, covering topics such as understanding the Gospel message, sharing our faith, praying for others, serving others, etc.

My name is Nate Meyer. How many groups can I lead?
Ideally, we would like for you to lead just one group. We want every group to meet weekly and be very intentionally and strategically focused on their chosen neighborhood. If you just can’t decide what neighborhood you want to do, then we will limit you to one group per neighborhood (in other words, you could lead one geographic neighborhood, one marketplace neighborhood, and/or one interest neighborhood).

What are the dates?
We are still nailing that down, but the semester will launch on either June 13 or June 20 and run through the end of July.

Who can lead?

The groups will be heavily curriculum-based, so we are throwing the doors of leadership wide open.

I’m already a small group leader; do I need additional training?

Yes. Our spring semester Leadership Summit on April 4th will be your training for the summer A18 neighborhood groups. At the summit, you will receive a draft of the curriculum and any additional information you will need for leading.

I’m not a small group leader yet; can I lead a group?

Yes. If you are not already a small group leader, you will need to 1) complete an application and 2) attend the summit on April 4th.

What’s my next step?
Well, we actually have three steps for you:
  1. Think about what neighborhood you might want to lead this summer. Talk with your team leader, zone leader, or campus pastor about it.
  2. Attend Leadership Summit/Training on April 4th.
  3. Get at least one other person from your current group or team to lead their own group, as well.
I’m interested in being on the strategic team or curriculum development team for this project.
Email Heather.


At 1:33 AM, Blogger Nate Meyer said...

Nice, I get a shout out on your webpage too!

For readers who are interested, one of my small groups is Actions Speak Louder ( I would love to get the feedback of other ministry leaders on this group (because it's a new experiment for me)!


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