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What is a Small Group Bible study?
A small group of up to 10 to 16 people who meet weekly to share with, study with and support one another. A trained leader, apprentice and host lead each group.
Where can they meet?
The leader determines where the group meets. Most groups, of course, will meet in homes. But, some may choose to meet in the workplace, on campuses and some in church facilities depending upon the nature of the group. Those meeting in homes may choose to meet at one location or rotate among group member's homes on a regular basis. The choice is up to the leader in consulting with the group members.
When do they meet?
Small Groups can meet anytime during the week. Identify the best time that your group of people can meet. There is always the freedom to change the meeting time if a more convenient time is found.
What is the length of the meeting?
The length of a meeting is 1 hour and 30 minutes maximum. People can stay longer, but those who have sitters or must rise early need to have a set time by which they know they can leave. This length provides adequate time for sharing, study and prayer. The meeting should always end with people wishing they could meet longer. Sensitivity should be shown to the homeowner, that everyone leaves the home at a set time (conversations can continue outside on the sidewalk so that the homeowner is free to hit the sack).
How important are Small Groups?
LIFEgroups are the hub and heart of our ministry. They are the key place to connect and be encouraged to grow spiritually through the study of God's word as we support and share our lives with one another.
How long do they last?
The Fall quarter runs from mid September through the first week of December. The Winter quarter runs from mid January through March. And the Spring quarter starts the first week of April and ends in June.
Each Small Group session lasts 9 to 11 weeks. At the end of each session you will have the choice of staying in the same group, trying a new group or even taking a break. Most groups stay together throughout the entire year. Small Groups do not meet mid-June through August.
You can join an existing group at any time as our groups are "open" groups. Each group has an open chair, ready to receive each person that God sends.
What is the required commitment?
Joining a Small Group requires a 9 to 11 week commitment to attend weekly meetings and do the homework ahead of time. Obviously, allowances are made for sickness, vacation, work conflicts and other special events, but not much more. This commitment is the key to a strong Small Group.
What will we study?
Some studies are based on the previous weekend's message. These "sermon-based" Small Groups are built on what we call a "Lecture-Lab" model. Imagine the weekend message as a lecture on Christian living, and the Small Group as a lab where you get to roll up your sleeves and discuss how the weekend's message works out in real life.
We will also have studies that cover books of the Bible and topics regarding what the Bible says about marriage, parenting, overcoming bad habits and hangups.
What does it cost?
Few things in life are free and Small Groups are no exception! The cost of Small Groups is the cost of commitment. During the first meeting, each group will complete a "covenant" together. This simple form helps each group discuss their goals and their commitment. Part of that commitment is the promise to attend each week and to complete the homework as well as to attend the quarterly social.
When you join a Small Group, you're promising to attend and be prepared each week. It's this commitment that makes Small Groups work. We realize it's a big commitment, but it only lasts for 9 to 11 weeks. At the end of each quarter, you have the choice of recommitting for another quarter, trying a new group, or taking a break from Small Groups altogether.
What about childcare?
We leave it up to each family to work out their own childcare. Sometimes it works best for families to share a sitter or to swap childcare with another family whose Small Group meets on a different evening. One common solution is to meet in the living room with the adults and share the cost of a babysitter (or two) who can be with the kids in another part of the house. Another popular option is to have one home for the kids (with a sitter :)) and a second home (close by) for the adults. It's always a good idea for the adults rotate the responsibility of providing a lesson for the kids. This last option is great with school age kids and can be a big blessing to families as parents learn to lead the children spiritually.
How do I choose a Group?
When selecting a group, we strongly recommend that you choose a group based on its leader-host team and station in life, rather than its location. Over the years, we've found that groups do best when members share a common station in life and other interests with their leaders, hosts and other group members. In the end, you'll find it's worth the drive!
We feel so strongly about this that our groups are organized to help guide you into groups where you will find other people in a similar station in life. For instance, you will find sections for Singles, Young Marrieds, Young Families, Parents of Children K-6, Parents of Teens, Empty Nesters, Senior Adults, 20-Something, 30-Something, College, Intergenerational groups (General), etc. Remember, these station-in-life groupings are simply meant to help you self-select an appropriate group for you. They are not intended to box you in.
If you have any questions (especially if you are new), please don't hesitate to call the church and we will gladly assist you. Keep in mind that it might take two or three attempts at groups before you find the perfect fit, but don't worry, you'll find it!
How do I sign up for a Small Group?
You can join any group at any time. There are natural entry points three time a year when the entire church focuses connecting every person. During these Small Group launches, you can sign up on the church patio before or after the weekend services. E-mail us at Office
Who is the host?
The host is the person who partners with the leader by coordinating light refreshments, networking with group members to provide meals for group members in the hospital, possibly providing the home where the group meets. The host fosters shared ownership in the group which encourages everybody to grow in the faith.
Are there any groups for teenagers?
Yes, our high school and middle school ministries both offer small groups for students.
Digging Deeper into the Word of God
The goal of each study, whether sermon based or using a study guide, is to dig into God's word in such a manner that we help one another become more like Jesus. This interactive study not only allows for discussion of a Biblical passage, but also provides opportunity to discuss practical application as a response to the passage. Tremendous spiritual power is experienced when a group wrestles with, not only the meaning of a passage, but also its meaning for their lives.
No Christ follower was intended to live in isolation. The Bible speaks nothing of lone ranger faith and more than 50 times in the New Testament, God speaks of a "one another" type of faith. One of the great benefits of group life is that it provides you with a practical laboratory in which to experience New Testament community. In group life you find a place to belong and people with whom to share your life.
What takes place in a Small Group meeting?
The goal of the Small Group meeting is to encourage one another to become more like Christ. There are four basic ingredients for encouragement that are common in every group. They are:
Praising God lifts the heart and sets our focus upon the Lord. As we give ourselves to the Lord in worship, we are prepared to receive back from Him. Singing opens our hearts to the Lord.
The sharing of our lives is a powerful tool for building strong bonds of fellowship in the small group. Sharing can be from our lives or from the Word of God. Relationships develop and deepen as we "tell our stories." Sharing opens our hearts to one another.
This conversational prayer is in response to God's Word, the needs of the group and for those that the group is seeking to reach.
Bible discussion and application. Small Groups discuss the Bible to grow in the understanding of God's Word for the purpose of applying it in their lives. The goal is not completing lessons, but changing lives, not informational, but transformational.
Concert of Discovery
The Small Group leader operates like the conductor of an orchestra. The goal is to make sure that every instrument is properly tuned, and then to create beautiful music be drawing out the best of each instrumentalist. As every person meets with God during the week and completes the weekly assignment, the Small Group time is primarily an opportunity to learn from one another as the leader facilitates the discussion with a focus on practical application.
©Stan Lubeck www.stanlubeck.com Email