Journeyman Project Dispatches from the Life of Patrick Fowler: Christianity Explored

1Apr/120

Small Group Leadership – Class Materials

"We should not think of our fellowship with other Christians as a spiritual luxury, and optional addition to the exercises of private devotions. Fellowship is one of the great words of the New Testament: it denotes something that is vital to a Christian’s spiritual health, and central to the Church’s true life…The church will flourish and Christians will be strong only when there is fellowship." ~ J.I. Packer

"It is both foolish and wicked to suppose that we will make much progress in sanctification if we isolate ourselves from the visible church. Indeed, it is commonplace to hear people declare that they don’t need to unite with a church to be a Christian. They claim that their devotion is personal and private, not institutional or corporate. This is not the testimony of the great saints of history, it is the confession of fools." ~ R.C. Sproul

I have a passion to equip and encourage small group leadership in the church.

It seems that every church I hear about has adopted a small group strategy--so there are a lot of people doing small groups--but I fear that most of them are not doing small groups WELL. Small groups can be a bad strategy if they are not done well. Think about it for a moment, and I'm sure you will agree. Most people don't leave the church because of the sermons, the worship, or the children's program...they leave the church because someone hurt them, violated their trust, or even "stabbed them in the back." And where does that hurt come from? Not from Sunday morning, but from small group environments.

In response to the need of churches everywhere, I took last summer to refine a lot of my thoughts on group leadership, to read some more books on the subject, and to package a class into notes and a PowerPoint presentation. This past Saturday, I taught the class through DTS's Lay Institute for the second time. Now that these notes have been tested and received a good response, I want to pass them along to you as well. PLEASE--use these! I don't want credit or fame, I just want to build up the body of Christ...and I hope you find these notes to be a key resource in your own life and ministry, to that end.

Let me leave you with one other quote that I believe sums up my thoughts on Small Groups.

There is no passage in the Bible that says, ‘You must have a small group for people to grow in their faith.’ Instead, what is in the Bible is an understanding, from beginning to end, that people need an authentic, intimate community in which to grow.

Click here for the Word Document of the notes

Click here for the PDF version of the notes

Click here for the Power Point Presentation

16Feb/090

The Next Generation

Craig Groeschel has an excellent post on the next generation today, and some of the differences that set them apart from our generation, at the Lifechurch blog here.

  • Their world is smaller and perspective is broader
  • They have a wider definition of "friends"
  • They're more experiential
  • Most have been under-challenged
  • Their world is grey
  • They are searching for a cause

I would add:

  • They collect information (and read more information) than any other previous generation. See John Dyer's comparision here.
  • They are less relationally-skilled than previous generation: due to less face-to-face interaction, and lower rates of stable family environments.

I personally find the next generation an exciting group of people to reach. My perspective realizes the potential it has for communication and coordinating efforts across the entire globe. I think we simply need to train and equip them to lead their peers. My suggestion, besides being aware of these differences, is to make sure we enable them to reach their full potential. What do you think???