Monday, August 17, 2009

Some insights on small groups

Two posts this weekend really caught my eye, each on an important aspect of small group ministry - how we learn, and how we care for those who help us learn.

1) Dave Treat commenting on the book "Sticky Church" by Larry Osborne
A quote from the chapter "Velcroed for Growth" - "Most spiritual growth doesn’t come as a result of a training program or a set curriculum. It comes as a result of life putting us in what I like to call a need-to-know or need-to grow situation." Dave adds "I grew up under the linear model and recognize the defining features: learn it all (in order); store it in your head; apply it later. We argued over what “it all” means, and in what order. Long-term storage is especially tough when the knowledge is academic and not linked to real-world situations. Application may be hardest of all..."

"The ultimate goal of a sermon-based small group is simply to velcro people to the two things they will need most when faced with a need-to-know or need-to-grow situation: the Bible and other Christians."

2) Mac Lake of Seacoast with 'Three Movements in Small Group Coaching'
He points out three growing approaches that he disagrees with while finding good points they make and common principles to learn from. 'Hired Gun' approach hires part time staff to oversee about 30 small group leaders; 'Remove the Middle Man' approach has one staff member firing the coaches and handling 50-70 groups directly; 'Call Me if you need me' approach is purely reactive way to oversee 20-30 groups. As he looks at why many are abandoning the coaching model he finds three essential lessons for any small group coaching structure.

   1. Provide and maintain a span of care that is reasonable and realistic for your coaches
   2. Make the role less about resourcing and more about relationship
   3. Raise the level of significance of the role by emphasizing spiritual care of leaders

Note to self - I need to write another post soon on what I've learned from Steve Gladen which has addresses several of the key points from both perspectives. 

1 comment:

danandchar said...

Leading a small group is a challenge, but so very rewarding! We were a little stressed our first year, unsure if we could handle it, and how we'd find fresh, exciting topics. We found and found loads of great small group ideas! Our group has grown and we are eagerly looking forward to when it starts up again in September!