Planning your Next Small Group Semester: Have You Thought of Everything?

Plan, 2015-1

Our groups are winding down the Fall, 2014 Semester. Finish well, groups! 

This post is to help our small group leaders as you pray and plan for next semester; to be prepared and as proactive as you can be to lead your group well. 

Winter/Spring, 2015 Calendar

Calendar - generic

Click for a printable LCCC Winter/Spring Calendar Template that gives general church information.

How NOT to Start Your Next Semester

There is a common way to start a new small group semester. And then there is a better way.

The Problem: If a group starts their semester right off with the new Bible study curriculum, they will be locked into the “study” mold and mentality, as if that is all you exist to do, no matter what you try to do later.

The Solution: As you (and your Inner Circle) create your calendar, start your semester with some of the other items which often get crowded out:

  • Start with a meal or fun night. You are a spiritual family, after all. Set the tone to actually enjoy each other!
  • 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, declaring: “We are going to be the hands and feet of Jesus!”
  • Start with sharing your personal salvation testimonies, to celebrate God’s grace in our lives and get to know each other well.
  • Start with having the kids involved in worship, so they see Jesus Christ as the center for your group’s existence.
  • Then, start your curriculum, having become close friends and spiritual siblings; soul mates and teammates. We have 16-20 weeks in the Winter/Spring Semester. No need to rush into a curriculum. There is plenty of time to do it all!

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NOW, Choose the Right Curriculum

See our entire small group curriculum library list, here.

Since our foundation is God’s Word, a good curriculum makes an effective tool. Come browse and check out some of our many curriculums. NOTE: Our ever-expanding small group curriculum library will not be on a table in my office for browsing this year (as pictured). This year, we are moving to the church library, where you can access and check out materials more easily (and I don’t have to climb over the table to get to my desk all winter!)

curr, 2013

And, don’t forget that you can help us keep building up our curriculum library, with…

“The Lake City Offer”

If you are interested in using a curriculum we do not currently 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 Training and Kickoff Dates

Here are a few important dates for your calendars:

  • Training: As always, there is one required January training session, offered twice, for your scheduling convenience: 
    1. Option 1 – Offered as a workshop at the Church Family Summit, Saturday, January 10, 9:00AM-1:00PM.
    2. Option 2 – For those who cannot attend the Church Family Summit, come to the make up session on Sunday, January 18, during 2nd service (10:50-12:10pm).
  • Kickoff: Winter/Spring Semester kicks off the week of January 18, after a few weeks of signups. Be prepared to welcome new people, if possible.  

NOTES: All Summit workshops and small group training sessions are always open to everyone. Families and discipleship groups are welcome to attend together. 

The Winter/Spring Semester runs through early June, so it’s a bit longer than the Fall Semester, leaving you room to do more things and have more transformative experiences.

May God be glorified in our ministry,

Pastor Reg

What to Study Next in Your Small Group

Leaders, I have laid out all our studies on a table in my office (pictured above), for you to come by and took a look, or borrow a couple to check out!

Also, don’t forget the “Lake City Offer”…

“The Lake City Offer”

If you are interested in a curriculum we do not have, I will buy the leader book and DVD (if there is one) for you, if you’ll return when finished, to add to our library. Just last week we added Tim Keller’s The Reason For God, and Philip Yancey’s What’s So Amazing About Grace?, per two leaders’ requests. Both will be great additions.

Curriculum Lists

My previous curriculum lists and resources can be found on this search link – http://lakecitysmallgroups.com/?s=curriculum&submit=Search

Also, my favorite place to search for small group curriculum reviews is the search feature on Mark Howell’s comprehensive small groups website – www.markhowelllive.com

Winter/Spring Semester, 2013

Here are a few important dates to put on your calendar right now:

  1. The 2nd annual Lake City Family Summit is scheduled for Saturday, January 12, 9:00AM-1:00PM. NFL quaterback Jon Kitna and his wife Jen will be our primary speakers, along with several breakout sessions.  As usual, the small group leaders training will be contained in one of those 50 minute workshops. How small groups fit into the BIG picture of the church as God’s Family is an exciting major theme for this year’s summit. Don’t miss it!
  2. If you miss the summit, a small group leader training make-up session is scheduled for Sunday, January 20, during 2nd service (10:50AM-12:10PM)
  3. The official Kickoff week of Winter/Spring Semester is the week of January 20. Of course, groups have autonomy to start earlier or later, based on their semester plan.
  4. Pastor Jim resumes the Luke Sermon Series on Feb. 2/3, a good option for any group who would like to study Luke’s gospel along with the weekend sermons. We have resources.

How NOT to Start Your Semester

Finally, this is one of my favorite words of wisdom for leading a successfully Christ-honoring small group; wisdom that I will implement in our group this coming semester.

Remember, small groups are not merely Bible studies alone. They are our glorious opportunity to live out ALL the New Testament’s design for the church (cf. Acts 2:42-47, for example) with each other.

HOWEVER, wisdom and 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. So, wisdom suggests to 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!

acts

May God be glorified in our ministry,

Pastor Reg