I have always said that small groups are like children, in that each is incredibly unique. Another similarity between small groups and children is striking me these days. Like children, small groups mature.
This shouldn’t be surprising, since, according to Ephesians 4, that’s the whole point! “…then we will no longer be infants…Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ…” (Eph. 4:11-16)
Today, I want to share just three examples of LCCC’s maturing small groups. I hope these examples will give you ideas and inspiration for your own experience in Christian community.
1. Adam and Sharalyn Stenberg Group–-Being the Church Scattered (Acts 2:42-47; Eph. 5:19)
Here’s an awesome note I received from Adam about their group:
“I’ll also take this chance to share with you our new format, which we’re pretty excited about. We finally started singing each meeting. We kept talking about it, now are finally doing it. We sing a few hymns around the piano after dinner. Then we move on to memory work. We’re doing the Navigator’s Topical Memory System (TMS). Their third group is “Rely on God’s Resources.” Each week, we’re responsible to memorize two verses and recite them to a partner or as a group. Then we move into testimony time.
“We are rotating who gives their testimony each week…a chance to get to know each other as friends, know better how to pray for them, and ask some interesting questions. Each person centers their testimony around a chapter from the book, “10 Dumb Things Smart Christians Believe.” Each of the nine members selected one topic. We can easily identify with many of them so that naturally leads into a group discussion.
“Then we end with prayer time. It’s all a way to get everyone involved and energized, develop camaraderie, and even involve the kids. Children take part in various aspects of the whole time so it cuts down on childcare needs. It took a few years, but the group is really melding well. We can feel free to drop our kids off with each other in a pinch. Four sets of piano lessons are being given across the families. We’re really energized when we meet. It’s great to be a part of.”
What a great report! These kinds of things don’t happen over night. Great job, Stenberg group, on growing over the last couple years to be “the church scattered” together!
2. Woods Group – Creative and Productive Meeting Format (Col. 3:16; Eph 5:21)
Newer leaders, Jason and Stephanie Woods, have devised a remarkably impactful format for their group meetings:
“We begin with conversation and prayer. Then we study the sermon that was preached in church that weekend. As I listen to the sermon, I write down discussion questions, and I encourage the other group members to do the same.
“After the sermon study, the men and the women split up for accountability time. This has been enjoyable and effective. Among other things, each of the men shares one outstanding thing from their Bible reading during the week. Each of the women goes over their prayer requests and goals together, keeping each other accountable. Then, we finish up with snacks, and, of course, coffee.”
Gender accountability groups and sermon study are two great ideas for a small group. Great job combining them, Woods Group! If other groups want to try either of these ideas, ask to see the resources and supplemental study helps we have available for you.
3. Bakken Group–-Caring for One Another (1 Cor. 12:25; Gal. 6:2) – Here’s an inspiring note I received from Sue Bakken about their group:
“Reg, I just thought you might be encouraged by our little small group. [One of our members] is in a very serious health condition, and thus cannot work….Our small group made extra soup to give her family today, and we took a collection to help pay her phone bill. We collected more than the amount that was needed for that and other items they need. We are also in contact with Habitat for Humanity and rumor has it they want to build in Stafford’s neighborhood…and she would be a likely recipient…we just need to ask God to open doors if this would be His will. Anyways…everyone was encouraged, felt they were a part of this…I am. Sue”
*** Honorable Mention – Schock Group – Best Use of Bus
This is just one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen:
John and Shari Schock’s group meets on Wednesday night, during AWANA, at Peter and Abby Johnson’s house. The Johnsons also happen to be owners of a shuttle bus. At the end of their meeting time, all the men hop on the bus to go pick up the kids from AWANA. The men and women love their separate time together, and the kids love hopping on the bus with the men! Now that, is very cool.
What stories of spiritual maturity are coming from your group? Please share them, whether by commenting on this blog post, or by telling me about them, maybe for a future edition of More Great Testimonies of LCCC Small Group Growth!
Blessings on your homes,