Our groups are winding down the Fall, 2013 Semester. Finish well, beloved groups. This post is to help as you pray and plan for next semester.
Here are some helpful steps and resources for your effective planning.
TOOLKIT and Small Group Vital Signs Book
These are our primary leadership resources. They emphasize (and reward) proactive leadership. One of the best preparations you can make before Winter/Spring kickoff is to flip through these great resources again to build up your vision and gather ideas, so you can better lead those entrusted to your care.
Leaders, co-leaders and Inner Circles should have these two resources. If you do not, tell me and I will get you one ASAP.
How NOT to Start Your Next Semester
As we often clarify, small groups are more than Bible studies. Small groups are our glorious opportunity to live out ALL the New Testament’s design for the church, with each other, for Jesus’ purposes. (read Acts 2:42-47 again, for example).
The problem: Experience shows that if you start your group’s experience with a Bible study, you will be locked into the “Bible study” mold and mentality, no matter what you try to do later.
The solution: Wisdom suggests you start your semester with the other things that get crowded out:
- Start with a worship/prayer night, seeking God’s guidance and setting a worshipful pattern for your year.
- Start with a service/outreach project, or series of them, saying “We are going to be the hands and feet of Jesus!”
- Start with sharing a few personal salvation testimonies, to celebrate God’s grace in our lives.
- Start with having the kids involved in worship, seeing Jesus Christ proclaimed as the purpose for your existence.
- Then, start your study. We have 16-20 weeks in the Winter/Spring Semester – plenty of time to do it all!
NOW, Time to Choose a Study
Our foundation is always God’s Word, and a curriculum used well can be an effective tool.
As always, I have laid out our ever-expanding small group curriculum library on a table in my office, for you to come by and browse, or borrow a couple to check out.
See our entire curriculum library list, here.
And, don’t forget that you can help us keep building up our curriculum library, with “the Lake City Offer”…
“The Lake City Offer”
If you are interested in using a curriculum we do not have, I will buy the leader book and DVD (if there is one) for you, if you will return it when finished, to add to our library. Your group members will just buy their own participant guides, if there is one.
This offer helps future groups and eliminates any hesitation based on the cost of a study.
Important Leader Training and Kickoff Dates
Here are a few important dates to put on your calendar right now:
As always, there is one required January training session which will be offered twice, for your scheduling convenience:
- First offering – Sunday, January 12, during 2nd service (10:50-12:10pm).
- Second offering – at the Church Family Summit, on Saturday, January 25, 9:00AM-1:00PM. Young Life Field Vice President, Bill Paige, will be our plenary speaker.
The full Church-Family Summit Schedule will be out soon. All training sessions are always open for walk-ins.
Two exciting events have just been added. Author, speaker, and mentor of our small group leader Kevin Bouren, Phil Downer, is speaking to several thousand at JBLM, from January 13-17. We have just added two dates with him at LCCC:
1. Monday, Jan. 13, 6:00-8:00pm – Speaking to small group leaders, ministry leaders, and all church leaders. Topic: Spiritually Reproducing Your Life – Spiritual Multiplication.
2. Wednesday, Jan. 15, open dinner in Friendship Room, 5:30-6:15pm; Session for outreach and encouragement, from 6:30-8:00pm. Topic: Family – From Hell To Eternity: Strengthening Marriages through Men’s Mentorship/Discipleship
The Winter/Spring Semester kicks off the week of January 19, after a few weeks of signups. So, leaders, be prepared to welcome new people, if possible. It runs through early June, so it’s a bit longer than the Fall Semester, leaving you room to do more things.
Continue to cast the vision that small groups are not merely Bible studies, but rather the “church scattered in communities, passionately living out Christlike love for God, one another and the world.” The Winter/Spring Semester allows for a breadth of formative experiences for your group.
May God be glorified in our ministry,