The content of this post is courtesy of a small group training that I did for The Pentecostals of Northwest Arkansas (PNWA). It was my honor to train their church in small groups. Below is the training material we used for teaching the small group leaders. I have left their name and references in the content – you are free to use the content and adapt to your needs. Of course, I am available to come and do small group training for your church as well.
OVERVIEW AND GUIDELINES OF GROUPS
At The Pentecostals of Northwest Arkansas, we are all about “Living Life On Purpose.” One of the ways that we do that is by doing life with each other. We are excited and feel that GROUPS are so important. We are so blessed that you are going to be a GROUP leader this semester. We believe that life-change can happen outside of Sunday services as well. We will have a great semester, and we are excited to hear about what God is doing through your GROUP.
In this overview, we will share with you our heart for GROUPS and some expectations that we have for them. We are all on a spiritual journey. No matter where you are at on your journey, we want you to strive to be the best GROUP leader you can be.
GROUPS FOCUS AROUND THE FOUNDATION OF HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS:
- Groups are all about relationships.
- We are all a product of our relationships and environment.
- We are who we are because of our relationships. Good or bad.
- We believe that freedom happens when healthy relationships happen!
- Group leaders help provide an encouraging environment where healthy relationships can happen.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. 10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.
Hebrews 10:23-25 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) 24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
LEADING A GROUP IS ADDING MINISTRY TO YOUR LIFE:
- Leading a group is merely taking what you are passionate about and adding ministry to it!
- You will begin to see spiritual growth in yourself and others while leading a group.
- A group is simply taking your life and your passion and putting God in the middle of it.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE:
- PNWA leadership will be there to help you every step of the way.
- We can help with anything from brainstorming events to incorporating the Bible Study curriculum.
- Our desire is for you to be the driving force in leading your group. Take the ball and run.
- Attend small group training with PNWA leadership.
- Start promoting your group and inviting people to sign up for your group.
CORE PRINCIPLES OF LEADING A GROUP
GROUPS will meet throughout the year broken down into semesters:
This is a tentative meeting schedule – GROUPS will meet throughout the year broken down into semesters:
- Winter (February – March)
- Spring (April – May)
- Summer (July – August) You will simply do one fellowship activity per month during the summer semester (You will meet a total of 3 times).
- Fall (September – October)
WHAT DOES A GROUP LOOK LIKE:
- Our groups will follow the “Cell Group Model.”
- This model views small groups as the basic unit of a church congregation, much like an organic cell is the basic unit of a human body.
- Four essential items make up the DNA of a cell group: worship, edification, evangelism, and discipleship.
- Properly operated groups will grow and multiply on its own, transferring this DNA from group to group.
- PNWA leadership will provide the curriculum for your group, but you are encouraged to personalize it to meet your strengths and personality.
A few things that we ask each group not to engage in:
- Sharing will follow the general rules of brevity, appropriateness, and courtesy.
- We will refrain from “chasing rabbits.” (Storytelling that is irrelevant to the subject).
- Avoid Business or heavy topics. We want this time to be a get-away from stressful things.
- Please do not take up any offerings.
- Anything that would be questionable or cause others to stumble.
- Do not cancel a group event even if you only have a few people attend.
- Please do not use unapproved material or speakers.
- Please do not engage in controversial topics or conversations that are not lifting others up.
- Remember that you are an extension of PNWA and do everything with that in mind.
The role of a GROUP leader:
- You can co-lead a group with another person.
- Invite people to take another step spiritually.
- Put someone in charge of snack rotation & reminders.
- You will share in the ownership of providing snacks.
- You will be responsible for the care of the children in our group.
- Have a teen or adult(s) assigned to facilitate the children’s small group.
Our chief responsibility is to share spiritual understanding.
- Share the good news of the GOSPEL that Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and rose again. We obey the Gospel (I Corinthians 15:1-4 by:
- Repentance (death to sin) Acts 17:30
- Water Baptism in the name of Jesus Christ (burial) Romans 6:3-4
- Receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit (resurrection) Acts 2:4, 37-39
- Unity in the body of Christ
- All Bible study curriculum must be approved before starting your group.
Pray for your group.
- You will lead prayer with your group each week.
- You will pray for each member of your group each week.
You will care for and do life with the members of your group.
- Communicate with your group — text, email, call, social media posts, etc.
- Share in life’s struggle and encourage those in your group.
- Be available to visit and help if members are in the hospital.
- Daily spiritual disciplines. Anyway, we can take steps to further our relationships is a WIN.
The information above has been adapted from several different sources throughout the years. The G.R.O.U.P.S. acronym is my creation, and I have plugged other’s data into this rubric. I tell people that small groups are much like eating a Reeces; There’s No Wrong Way To Eat A Reeces! THERE’S NO WRONG WAY TO ORGANIZE YOUR LIFE GROUPS! Some people do four semesters; others feel more comfortable with three. Others yet, are determined to do two semesters really well. You can do curriculum-based groups or have a semester of interest-based groups. Please don’t stumble by any particular concept listed above. If it does not fit the purpose of your church – CHANGE IT! The primary purpose of groups is to have people do life together and point people to Christ.