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Seek. Share. Serve. www.allnationssa.org/lifegroups

leader training manual

All Nations Church P.O. Box 65057 San Antonio, TX 78265 Life Group Leader Training Manual

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Preface Congratulations on making the commitment to undergo the Life Group leadership training which will prepare you to lead your own Life Group and to raise up others who will lead Life Groups! At the direction of the Holy Spirit, we are committed to meeting the needs of the corporate church body through Life Group ministry. Life Groups really do serve as a vehicle to bring the Kingdom of God to people in a practical way. In our culture people often will not go to church, but we can bring a life changing environment to people! Life Group ministry has worked well for ANC for several years, but the Lord wants to accelerate our work with an increased sense of urgency to reach out to the unsaved. To make this happen, more laborers are needed in the harvest fields. We urge you to catch and share our Kingdom mission by becoming a laborer for Christ through Life Group ministry. Life Groups help us fulfill our mission at ANC. In fact, Life Groups are a primary vehicle in accomplishing our mission. The Mission of ANC is: To provide excellent opportunities for people to SEEK, SHARE, and SERVE our awesome God!

“crowd” (services) “congregation” (groups) “committed” (ministry teams)

(1) Seek (2) Share (3) Serve

Life Groups serve as the step that people make when the want to move from simply seeking God in church services to sharing life within the church. We may have many people who SEEK within the “crowd” of our services, but those who decide to SHARE life by joining a life Group, these are the “congregation” at ANC. We also will have the opportunity in Life Groups to help others move to the next phase of growth by modeling and teaching servant-hood. This is very important because we must not forget that all believers are to be prepared to minister to a lost and hurting world through winning others to Christ, training and equipping them, and then in sending them out to do the work of the ministry. (Mark 16:15-18; Luke 4:18; Ephesians 4:11-12). This simply means that we want all of the people in our church, who are willing, to move from SHARE (those in the “congregation” who are active and growing in their Life Group ) to SERVE (those “committed” partners who are active and fruitful in some ministry team within the church).

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This manual will assist you during your training and will also serve as a reference guide later when you are engaged in life group activities. We encourage you to become well acquainted with this manual which will increase your in-depth knowledge of Life Group ministry.

The 2 keys to the success of your future Life Group ministry will be your effectiveness as a Life Group leader and your willingness to be given to consistent prayer. It is very important to commit to a time of intercession for your Life Group members, both corporately and individually. In conclusion, I want you to know that I believe Life Group leaders to be the back bone of a healthy church. I can not overstate your importance. Life Group leaders are shepherds of small groups within the local church. Without small group leaders, I can not be successful as a the Sr. leader, and we can not be successful as a church. No person, no matter their talent or anointing can keep up with every need that people might have within a growing church. No small staff is equal to that task either. The needs of people, both for care and growth, must be managed at the small group level in order to be effective. Let me give you a few examples as to why that is true. 1) Life Group leaders can keep up easily with who is sick or has emergency needs, and offer immediate response and ministry. This can not be administrated effectively at a church staff level. 2) Life Group leaders can keep up with their groups member’s attendance both at Life Group and corporately. When the enemy comes in like a wolf to pick off the sheep and get them isolated, the Life Group leader has a keen eye on the sheep! This can not be administrated effectively at a church staff level. 3) Life Group leader are spending more quality time with their group members than anyone else. Therefore, Life Group leaders are in the best position to recognize deliverance issues, growth priorities, spiritual gift development, and the like- much sooner than staff pastors. I could list many more areas, but I pray that you are beginning to see clearly the extreme importance of this ministry. God’s blessings on you as you complete your training and start to grow the Life Group ministry of this church. May God bless your endeavors to serve Him. -Pastor Brandon & Ministry Team

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Part 1: The Role Of Life Group Ministry The Acronym At the direction of the Holy Spirit, we are emphasizing meeting the growth and care needs of our church body through the Life Group ministry. This is not just another church growth program or a ministry fad. Small group/home group ministry is one of the foundations seen in scripture of the New Testament church. Also it can be demonstrated that the most effective and growing churches world- wide are all churches that live out genuine small group ministry in their churches! We are not learning a new church technique; we are regaining the way of life that God has designed for the church to live out. The format of how small groups function can vary from church to church, but there will always be common characteristics of these groups in every healthy and growing church. These characteristics are our emphasis. Our emphasis is fourfold: Learning, Intercession, Fellowship, and Evangelism. Learning- to know the Word of God, the principles of the Kingdom and one another more fully Intercession- to pray for one another and for others in order to see God’s power and breakthrough released Fellowship- to have fun and enjoy real friendship and loving relationship Evangelism- to reach others for Jesus and make Him famous!

Biblical Foundations of Shared Ministry Through Life Groups At ANC our philosophy of ministry is a “shared ministry”. We believe the model is biblical and most effective. Unlike other models within our culture, our “shared ministry” approach is a partnership between all people who are committed to the mission of the local church. Here is a snapshot of our approach: 1) It is Pastor’s responsibility to focus on the mission and people of the church. a. Be an intercessor for the people b. Teach them God’s laws and ordinances c. Show them the work they are to do d. Appoint able men and women to oversee the work. e. Help coach people in becoming more fruitful in ministry. 2) It is the job of members in the church family to do the ministry! a. Order personal life so as to be faithful b. Be a team player and “coachable” c. Work hard over the “long haul” for God’s Kingdom d. Model continued personal spiritual growth Life Group Leader Training Manual

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Scriptural Examples 1. Old Testament examples. Anointed leaders knew how to delegate authority: a. Exodus 18:13-27 – The Jethro Principle. Jethro advises Moses. b. Numbers 11:16-17, 25 – Transfer of anointing from Moses to seventy elders. 4. New Testament examples. The earliest Life groups were in fact the church meeting in the various homes of members of the local church in that region. a. Acts 1:12-14; 2:1-4 – Pouring out of the Holy Spirit in the upper room, Day of Pentecost. b. Acts 2:46 – Apostles and believers met from house to house c. Acts 5:41-42 – Peter and other apostles taught in homes. d. Acts 8:3 – Saul entered believers’ houses to destroy the church. e. Acts 10:22-24 – Peter discipled in Cornelius’ home. f. Acts 12:12 – Believers gathered in a home to pray for Peter when he was imprisoned. g. Acts 18:7-8 – Ministry took place in Justus’ house. h. Acts 20:20 – Paul taught from house to house while in Ephesus. i. Acts 28:30-31 – Paul preached while confined under house arrest in Rome. j. Romans 16:3-5; 1 Corinthians 16:19 – There was a house church in home of Aquila and Priscilla. k. Colossians 4:15 – There was also a church in Nymphas’ home. l. Philemon 2 – There was a church in Philemon’s home. Life Groups Areas Of Responsibility The four primary areas of responsibility for group ministry at All Nations Church Life: 1. To effectively carry the “SEEK to SHARE” component of our mission. group and how does it fit in with our mission? ! Learning- We share key Kingdom concepts that transform lives ! Intercession- We share the reality of spiritual warfare and prayer ! Fellowship- We share our lives through transparency, care, and fellowship ! Evangelism- We share the gospel with others and spur each other on to outreach The Life Group ministry is the key component in helping people move from SEEK to SHARE in our mission to make disciples and nurture people in personal growth and Christian development. We must make sure people have the opportunity to grow past simply seeking God through a service, by growing into the environment to share their lives and build community. 2. To meet the needs of people in the church. There are at least ten critical times in people’s lives when they need pastoral ministry and become receptive to Kingdom growth. Life Group leaders steward faithfully these areas in the lives of people. Life Group Leader Training Manual

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i) Birth in a family (please take initiative in communicating and arranging dedications, etc) ii) Death in family (please take initiative in communicating key info and needs, etc) iii) Marriage (please take initiative in communicating need for pre-marital counsel, etc) iv)Divorce (please take initiative in communicating crisis to staff, etc) v) Sickness (please take initiative in communicating and arranging hospital visits, meals, etc) vi)Loss of job (please take initiative in communicating with staff and intercessors, etc) vii)Times of change (moving, new boss, empty nest, etc.) (please take initiative) viii)Trauma (fire, car accident, bankruptcy, etc.) (please take initiative) ix)Life Marker (retirement, graduation, promotion, etc.) (please take initiative) x) Plateau (depression, midlife crisis, spiritual stagnation, etc.) (please take initiative)

2. To provide an effective vehicle for prayer and discipleship- although we have other vehicles that aid in these areas, Life Groups provide a consistent and reliable way for our church to bring believers to maturity and for us to agree corporately in prayer. We will from time to time use the Life Groups to impart major areas of teaching emphasis, and as a organizational tool for prayer initiatives.

3. To move every believer toward involvement in the work of the “Great Commission” ministry within the local church – (Ephesians 4:11-12). This means you should be aware of the condition of every Life group member and intentionally moving them to new levels of dedication to serving within the body of Christ and in reaching new people with the gospel of Jesus. Remember these ABC’s: a. Pastor’s Job: to teach (or equip) every believer for the work of the ministry. b. Believer’s Job: to do the work of the ministry. c. Holy Spirit’s Job: Change people’s hearts, minds and lives!

Evangelism Through Life Group Ministry The “Empty Chair” Each life group should have an empty chair in the room where their group meets. The empty chair will provide a focal point for those in the Life group to release their faith and believe for new members to come into the church & the Life Group. When the chair is filled, then set out a new chair. This effort needs to be bathed in prayer. The empty chair represents the life that will be changed the next time you meet because of someone’s faithfulness to invite them. Lifestyle Evangelism: “OIKOS” – “ HOUSE HOLD”

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5-Fold Purpose Statement 1- I have a purpose. 2- My purpose is to love Jesus by winning people to Jesus. 3- I fulfill my purpose best in a group. (I am not a lone ranger!) 4- I am best satisfied when I fulfill my purpose. 5- I have no promise of tomorrow. Oikos Evangelism: Reaching your “Household” or your “Sphere of Influence” What is your oikos or “sphere of influence”? Who is in your oikos? Lifestyle evangelism is the most natural way to fulfill the Great Commission. How do you go about “oikos” lifestyle evangelism? - Choose two or three to be very intentional in reaching out to. - Get in their life every week somehow, be intentional about loving and serving them. - Pray over them for their benefit…not as a notch in your belt. - Look for opportunities to share what God is doing in your everyday life. - Look for an opportunity to share your testimony and the Gospel of the Kingdom. - Invite them to Life Group & Service consistently. It usually takes around 6 to 8 invites before someone will come. Don’t get discouraged. Statistically, if someone visits a Life Group and they get involved, they will very likely come to know Jesus and be a part of the church family. This is NET fishing rather than POLE fishing. - Above all, keeping the vision of people experiencing the power of the Kingdom before you daily. Being consistent in the above, is vital. Implementing Evangelism in the Life Group - Casting vision for inviting people to the group: being intentional - The value of MULTIPLICATION - Implementing Outreach in your Life Group: harvest events Prayer- The Key to Harvesting How to pray for the lost: - Present the person, by name, to Jesus as His purchased possession. - Pray against the powers of darkness that bind this person’s mind and will so that they can see their need for Christ and have the freedom to choose Him. - Pray that the Holy Spirit will convict this person, draw them to Christ, and reveal the truth of the Gospel to them. - Pray that God will bring circumstances, people, and events into this person’s life o bring them to Christ. -Pray that God would use you as an instrument in their life to show them Jesus. Intercession Through Life Group Ministry Life Group Leader Training Manual

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“Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6). Intercession is a very important on-going activity of Life groups as verified by the following biblical foundations. Use these as a guide to inspire your own Life Group prayer ministry. 1. Our spiritual warfare weapons are: a. Armor of God – Ephesians 6:11-18 b. Word of God – Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12 c. The Name of Jesus – Mark 16:17, Philippians 2:9-11 d. The blood of Jesus – Revelation 12:11 2. Our authority as believers: a. Jesus triumphed over Satan – Colossians 2:15 b. Whatever a believer binds or looses on earth will also be bound or loosed in heaven – Matthew 16:19. 18:18 3. Intercession for impartation of passion for Life Groups: a. Unity – Psalm 133:1-3 b. Be perfectly united in mind and thought – 1 Corinthians 1:10 c. That People will continue in fellowship faithfully– Acts 2:42-46 d. God will send leaders of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens – Exodus 18:18-23 4. Intercession for people to become fruitful: b. People had a mind to work – Nehemiah 4:6 c. Do the work of the ministry – Ephesians 4:11-12 d. Entrust to reliable men – 2 Timothy 2:2 e. Labor of Love – Hebrews 6:10 5. Intercession for spirit of evangelism a.The Great Commission applies to all believers – Matthew 28:19-20 b.Receive anointing to reach the Good News – Mark 16:15; Luke 4:18 c.Bear fruit in every good work and continue to live in Christ – Colossians 1:10, 2:7 6. Intercession for commitment, diligence, and stability in Life Group leaders/assistants a. We will not become weary of doing good – Galatians 6:9 b. Press onward toward the goal of Kingdom coming in power – Philippians 3:13-14 c. Bear fruit in every good work and continue to live in Christ – Colossians 1:10. 2:7 d. Enemy would fail to sabotage us as leaders through emotions or circumstance. PRAYER REQUESTS: At your Life group meeting, ask each person in attendance to give you the name of someone they know who is having a challenge in their life. Write down the names of Life Group Leader Training Manual

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the people who are having challenges, identify the challenge, if appropriate, and give the date when first reported to the group. Each week during your Life group meeting, pray for these people, their challenges, and ask your Life group members to release their faith and believe God to intervene in their lives.

Real Benefits To YOU for Serving in Life Group Ministry Life group ministry involves much work and personal commitment. When God is working in our communities, often we are the ones who sweat! Nothing has ever brought change, or done anything worthwhile, except that some committed and passionate group of people has laid themselves on the line and paid a price. Christ paid a price for us, and we worship him in our following of His own example. God’s blessing is in serving, and there are four primary ways that believers will benefit from doing the work of the Life group ministry. 1. The one serving will have accelerated spiritual growth. We grow when a demand is put upon our maturity, our passion, and our gifts and talents. 2. The one serving will develop new friendships and deepen present relationships. 3. The one serving will find fulfillment and joy in using his/her special gifts to help others. 4. The one serving will receive heavenly rewards for his/her works – 1 Corinthians 3:11-15. The believer will hear Jesus say, “Well done, good and faithful servant” – Matthew 25:21. Ask yourself, “What reaching and discipling activities am I doing now regularly that will count for eternity?” “Don’t rest in the nest. Find your place in the race. Set a goal for your role. Keep your eyes on the prize.” -Peter Enns “Real people are dying and going to hell this very minute. Hell is hot, Heaven is sweet, and life is far too short” -Pastor Larry Stockstill

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Benefits For Believers When Participating in a Life Group 1. Sense of Belonging The family structure in America is often so fragmented that people don’t have a feeling of belonging. Also, the mobility of our society plays a part in the lack of a feeling of belonging. The reason gangs are on the rise is that they make the teens feel that they belong to something and someone. People visit bars and honky-tonks as a watered down substitution to genuine community and connection. If individuals have a group of people they feel a part of, they won’t search for acceptance in counterfeits, and they won’t need to be “looking for love in all the wrong places.” “To the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved” Ephesians 1:6 2. Stability We live in unstable times in the natural, but in the Body of Christ we can and should have stability. Many times people have experienced ruined relationships or finances because of no way to break free of their own unstable patterns. Those who are new believers or have come back to the Lord need a Life Group that will help them become stable in their walk with the Lord. These people need strong believers who will speak the Word of God into their lives in love and help them to grow up spiritually and in living life well. “Therefore, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” -1 Corinthians 15:58. 3. Safety/Security A Life Group can be a safe and secure environment for people who have suffered abuse, rejection, failure and low self-esteem. In a Life Group people can experience community and have a safe place to confess their sins, fears, and problems. They can experience the truth that they are safe to trust again, and be trusted. These people will find “No Condemnation” for the ugliest and most hidden parts of themselves. This in turn frees them to experience true healing and deliverance! “And being let go, they went to their own companions…” – Acts 4:23 4. Support/Strength When the storms of life come, there is a need for a group of believers who will pray for us, encourage us, and be there when we need them. We have need of people to confess the Word of God over us, and to speak blessings. The Bible says that believers are to “bear each others burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Life groups often help with practical needs as well as spiritual needs. Prayer and meals in times of sickness, help with overwhelming problems, Life Group Leader Training Manual

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assistance with work projects, and the like are all common within Life Groups. (NOTE: When the Life Group feels the need to provide monetary assistance to people within the Life Group, it is wise for the Life Group leader to coordinate with your zone leader (if the Life Group leader’s ministry is big enough to be assigned) and/or pastor before making any commitments to substantial monetary help. This will keep everyone informed as to what is being done, and will also give opportunity to address any possible roots which may be causing the financial need.) “Now all who believed were together and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need” – Acts 2:44-45. “For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister” – Hebrews 6:10. Life Group Leadership Qualifications These include spiritual and character qualifications, as brought out by the following scriptures: 1. Exodus 18:21 – (Jethros’ advice to Moses) – Select people who: a. Fear God b. Are trustworthy c. Hate dishonest gain 2. Acts 6:3 – (the apostles choosing the first deacons)- Select people who are: a. Of an honest report b. Full of the Holy Spirit c. Full of wisdom 3. Exodus 17:9-12 – (Children of Israel fighting the Amalekites)- Select people who are: a. Loyal and supportive of the church leadership. b. Are humble enough to serve leaders responsible to God for the Church.(Remember Aaron and Hur’s ministry to Moses. They supported and held up the arms of Moses, so that Joshua could win the battle against the Amalekites. Today God is looking for men and women who are willing to hook up with a mission and be faithful to carry out that mission. This includes holding up the arms of (serving) the Pastor and delegated leaders.) Life Group Leaders’ Responsibilities Checklist - Post, meditate on, and do “Things Necessary for Growth & Health” (see pg. 14 ) - Transparency must be modeled. Admit your mistakes/weaknesses/needs. Your openness will cause others to open up. - Servant-hood must be modeled: o Meals Life Group Leader Training Manual

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o o o

Cards (encouragement, birthdays, anniversaries) Attitude of “How can I serve you?” Must love and serve before speaking into life

- Tithing is a must (spiritual principle) - Know “How a Life Group Leader Can Kill a Meeting” (see pg. 23) - Never allow the enemy to bring division between you and your pastor/ church leaders - Seek God for prophetic insight into Life Group members (gifts, callings, etc) and encourage - Encourage all the gifts of the Spirit to come forth in meetings - Lovingly reign in dominate talkers; gently pry open the quiet ones. - Recognize “The Development of Disloyalty” (see pg. 36) - Be available for your group members and remember that your Pastor/Zone Leader is there for you. “A wise man seeks counsel” Proverbs 12:15 - Dealing with critical people: o Stop them then and there o Hold accountable to reconciliation - Dealing with confidentiality: o Never promise o Recognize the enemy’s strategy - Accomplish “Basketball” discussion rather than Tennis” discussion o Basketball- Everyone takes part and talks to each other o Tennis- back and forth between two only - Watch your Christianese; i.e. “church family” instead of “body” (see pg. 31) - Watch over your flock. “Shepherds, know the state of your flock.” Proverbs 27:23 Follow up with those not in attendance at meetings. - Remember that you are not responsible for their decisions. i.e. Jesus with the rich young ruler, Judas, Pharisees, etc... - Faithful attendance at regular church & leadership meetings is a must Life Group Leader Training Manual

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Part 2: Some Dynamics Of Life Group Ministry Starting a Life Group Life Group Cycles You must understand that staring a Life group is very difficult. Often, it will take weeks before you develop any sense of relationship with people in your group. It is not unusual for a new life group to go many weeks before a new person comes to visit the group. Sometimes these new people will not become active in the group, as you had hoped. Also, it may take time to see the power of God released through people flowing in mature spiritual gifts. You must not let these realities discourage you. If you keep praying and being proactive in inviting folks to come, sooner or later your group will grow, and become vibrant! During the course of a Life group the atmosphere and size of the group will change. Sometimes the addition of certain people will change the dynamic of the group. Also, even if your group is successful enough to grow to 20 or more people, it is destined to change. You will once again have to rebuild and grow your group. Why? 1) It is the vision going in to this process that your group should one day multiply. This means that someone will be sent out to start a new powerful life group with others in the group. 2) Small groups lose some of their effectiveness when they are no longer intimate. The ideal size is 6-12; therefore it is helpful for a larger group to eventually become 2 smaller groups. 3) It is so important that you DO NOT allow co-dependence to develop as a leader. It may feel good to you personally, but people loving you and your group to the point that they can’t be healthy without it, or transition to another group setting, is very dangerous and counter productive. Please do not be frustrated with the reality that change is always a part of what we are doing together through Life Groups. It may happen that at just the time when everyone has become comfortable and open with one another, at just the time that the group is finally where you have prayed for it to be‌then it is time to multiply. God will use the multiplication of these groups powerfully.

Plant the Seed to Birth New Life Groups and Ministry From The Start As a Life group leader, you need to inspire each of your Life Group members to eventually start their own Life Groups or be a part of some Ministry Team. A very important assumption is that everyone can be used powerfully by God, after the biblical examples of Life Group Leader Training Manual

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Moses, Gideon, and the early apostles. Our role as leaders is not only to win new converts or produce personal loyalty to ourselves , but to train believers, so they in turn will become reproducers and mightily used of God. How to Help Facilitate the Crowd Into Life Groups Sources of new Life group members: (NOTE: The best way to grow your group is always to pray that God grow your group and bring new people into your personal life! There is no substitute for this!) Think: INSIDE THE CHURCH 1. Service Information Cards a. Those seeking New Members Info b. Visitors (greet them at the door!) 2. Church bulletins and monthly publications. Having your Life Group listed can result in phone calls from people who want to become connected. 3. Be faithful and diligent to care for those who attend your Life Group. God will then begin to entrust you with more responsibility. Keep the mission before them.

How to Help Facilitate Your Life Group Bringing People Into the Crowd Think: OUTSIDE THE CHURCH 1. “Since We are Neighbors, Let’s Be Friends” fliers. Have your group hand fliers out to neighbors, friends, and co-workers. 2. Conduct prayer walks around your neighborhood. Pray for people! 3. Write out a list of people who you know at work, in your neighborhood, or in your apartment complex, church school, or Sunday school class who might attend ANC. Have your Life group begin to pray for the people on that list. (TOP 10 LIST) 4. Set a goal for all your group members, including yourself, to invite a set number of people for each week’s Saturday night meeting. 5. Go out of your way to get excited!! Stay in Revival yourself. Salt makes people thirsty. 6. If your prospects don’t come to Saturday night meetings, be persistent without being too pushy. Ask them again until they say yes. Also remember, you cannot build the church all by yourself. Involve other members in your group to help build attendance. Life Group Leader Training Manual

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7. Put a poster at your apartment complex laundry area or in your front yard. 8. Host a block party for the purpose of becoming better acquainted with your neighbors.

Things Necessary for Growth & Health - Pray daily for all Life Group members. - Contact members throughout the week - Contact those who visit the Life Group. - Plan activities with the members outside of the regular meeting time. - Exhort the Life Group members to invite friends to church & Life Group. - Setting a goal as a Life Group to grow and multiply by a specific date - Have the above six items written out in a place where you see them daily. (mirror, refrigerator, etc...) - Meet regularly with zone leader/pastor and develop your relationship w/them Delegation of Tasks One of the keys to success in your Life Group ministry is learn to delegate the duties of your group. Simply put, “multiply yourself”. You are not doing your best to prepare your Life group members for future leadership if you deny them opportunities to learn how to do things. You may have to spend a little extra time at first to explain and show them how to do it, but in the long run, it will pay off. Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for help. It is more important sometimes to allow people to grow even if you personally could do it better. The following listings are scriptural foundations toward effective delegation of tasks. These include effective use of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the fruit of the Spirit, and the motivational gifts. 1. Delegation is God’s will – Numbers 1:1-19; Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 6:1-4 2. Steps on how to delegate: a. Plan the work you want done b. Organize how you will delegate the work Life Group Leader Training Manual

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c. Instruct those you have chosen to do the work d. Monitor those who are doing the work to make sure it is being done right. 3. The ministry of all believers includes getting the necessary work done for the Body of Christ. a. All believers are called to serve – John 15:16 b. Saints are called and equipped to do the work of the ministry – Ephesians 4:11-13 c. All believers are ministers of reconciliation – 2 Corinthians 5:18 d. Believers are able ministers – 2 Corinthians 3:5-6 e. God prepares work for all believers – Ephesians 2:10 4.The gifts of the Holy Spirit further empower one to do the work – 1 Corinthians 12:8-11. a. Word of wisdom b. Word of knowledge c. Faith d. Gifts of healing e. Working of miracles f. Prophecy g. Discerning of Spirits h. Tongues i. Interpretation of Tongues 5. To produce good outward works, we should all cultivate the fruit of the Spirit, which are – Galatians 5:22-23 a. Love b. Joy c. Peace d. Patience e. Kindness f. Goodness g. Faithfulness h. Gentleness i. Self-control 6. Every believer can serve others through any of the following motivational gifts – Romans 12:6-8 a. Prophecy b. Teaching c. Ministry/Serving d. Exhorting e. Giving f. Leadership g. Mercy

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7. There are many areas you can delegate. For example: a. Life group assistants b. Praise and worship leaders c. Children’s leaders d. Intercessors e. Record keepers f. Greeters g. Follow-up callers h. Food coordinators i. Outreach/harvest event leaders Scriptural Confession for Life Group Leaders Our Life group leaders are faithful. God preserves them, and they abound with blessings. They do not grow weary in doing good. God, who began a good work in them, will perfect it. His Word is working in their lives. They are His workmanship, created in Jesus Christ for good works, which God prepared beforehand that they should walk in them. They are equipped in every good thing to do God’s will, working in that which is pleasing in His sight through Jesus Christ. Their adequacy is from God. They love one another, and love covers a multitude of sins. They are hospitable to one another without complaint. The joy of the Lord is their strength. They serve with the strength that God supplies, so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ to whom belongs the glory. Whether they plant or water, God gives the increase.

“If you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don’t get bossy; if you’re put in charge, don’t manipulate, if you’re called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don’t let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face” (Romans 12:8, The Message Bible).

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Part 3: Conducting Life Group Meetings Conduct, Dress, and Hospitality Tips for Life Group Leaders 1. Conduct – Being under spiritual authority a. Each life group leader is to respect and submit to those in authority in the church. b. Respect people and groups in all forms. Life group leaders should not refer to any denomination, ethnic group, economic class, gender, age or disability in a negative or wrong way. c. Always remember that you are a representative of the Lord and also your church. d. Dress and speak modestly, above reproach, and with excellence. 2. Hospitality tips for a meeting place: a. Neat and clean home b. Right temperature in home c. Freshen home with sprays or candles d. Keep pets away from guests. e. Turn on porch light, drive way/yard unobstructed f. Be up front with order/ground rules regarding children. g. Make sure seating is comfortable, and everyone can see and hear everyone else. h. Don’t skimp on the refreshments. (A bag of pretzels and a pitcher of water isn’t exactly an impression maker!) Get your group to help! i. Have Christian background music playing softly. j. Give attention to detail and be excellent. k. Act as if Jesus were coming over for a visit. Group Pointers 1. Know how to welcome people properly a. Be friendly – Proverbs 18:24 b. Make the first move as the leader. Don’t wait on others. c. Ask questions and listen to their answers with undivided attention. d. Learn names. Everyone likes to hear his/her name spoken. e. Give encouragement. f. Have genuine concern for their needs and problems. g. Begin and end on time. 2. Leading the discussion The purposes of leading the discussion are: a. Promote action/decision. Life Group Leader Training Manual

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1. Motivate them to become doers of the Word – James 1:22 2. Help them apply scriptural/ Kingdom principles to their lives. a. Develop boldness to demonstrate and explain our faith. b. Promote openness c. Inspire d. Provide reinforcement and clarification e. Develop new insight f. Develop true identity in Christ g. Give pointers on how they can minister effectively 3. Keys for making the discussion work: a. The leader’s attitude 1. Respect for authority of Scripture 2. Love and openness to individuals 3. Relaxed manner 4. Encourage participation by all 5. Avoid straight lecture 6. Avoid making the impression of talking down to others. The discussion leader is one among equals. b. Goal is to have everyone participating. c. Be careful to not let anyone dominate the group. d. Beware of rabbit trails. It is up to you to keep the discussion moving in the right direction, and in the right spirit. e. Using this time to teach your own doctrines and view points, or to gratify yourself by delving your group into personal revelations or mysteries will get you REMOVED as a leader. 4. Confrontation is good; it is my friend: a. Don’t be afraid to cut someone off when needed. You can do this in love and it will gain the respect of the group and provide safety. b. Speak to people in private after the meeting or at some other time during the week about disruptive behaviors, or problems. c. Love people and your group more than yourself. Don’t protect yourself from the awkwardness of confronting someone; rather protect others in your group from the damage of failing to address problems. Leading Bible Discussion 1. There are three basic rules for successful discussions a. Wait your turn 1. Let a person finish talking before another starts 2. If two start to speak at once, the leader should choose who goes first, followed by the other. Use first names as you talk. People want their contributions personalized Life Group Leader Training Manual

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and using their first name adds that personal and loving touch. 3. Conversation is directed toward the whole group. 4. Be courteous b. Stay on the topic – 1. Don’t go down rabbit trails. 2. Deal with prayer requests later in the meeting 3. Keep questions relevant to the purpose of the discussion. 4. Avoid giving advice. A time of sharing can be stifled by giving advice, by not listening, and by judging. c. Keep it brief 1. Keep questions brief and clear 2. Ask questions to stimulate discussion. 2. Try to anticipate and head off possible difficulties. a. Unrelated comments 1. Do not ignore them 2. Do not allow silence 3. Do not ridicule that person 4. Bring conversation back to the main topic. Value and individual’s response in your group. The leader may not share the viewpoint, but he/she can affirm each person for his/her thoughts and ideas. 5. Try to relate to what each person says about the topic 6. Speak to a person privately if there is a problem. b. Theological problems 1. Remember that some issues have been debated for centuries 2. These can cause division and strife 3. How to proceed if these come up a. Decide for yourself the value of discussing it b. Proceed with wisdom, not emotion c. Share your own insights d. Do not allow the group to become sidetracked. c. Differences of opinion 1. They can be profitable 2. Refer to the Word for final resolution 3. Always walk in love 4. “Don’t break relationship over things you wouldn’t die for” Pastor Peter Lord d. Wrong interpretation. Occasionally, someone will contribute something that is obviously incorrect. Life Group Leader Training Manual

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1. Acknowledge contribution in a positive manner 2. Ask others to share viewpoints 3. Do not say, “No, that is not right!” unless potential harm is present. 4. Refer to Scriptures 5. Walk in love e. How to deal with persons who try to dominate. 1. Speak to them privately 2. Express appreciation for their contributions 3. Remind them of three basic rules a. Wait your turn b. Stay on the topic c. Keep it brief 4. Enlist support in helping to draw out others. 5. Direct questions to others.

f. How to get participation from the quiet member. 1. Direct questions to him/her 2. Ask them to read Scripture before the meeting starts. 3. Encourage them privately 4. Answer questions with questions (the Socratic Method). This keeps the discussion leader from answering all the questions, and in many cases the person is asking the questions because of a hidden desire to tell what he/she thinks. Sometimes the leader may say, “What do you think?” You may want to throw the question open to others by also saying, “How would the rest of the group answer this question?” By answering questions with questions, the group works harder at the discovery process. Do not deprive the group members of the excitement of personal discovery. Someone has said, “People enjoy climbing mountains, but only the feeble enjoy being carried up.” 5. Do not embarrass a person by asking a question that has the potential of frightening the individual. 6. Give a person the opportunity of “passing.” Forced sharing at an introductory level can be harmful.

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How a Leader Can Kill a Meeting There are several ways in which a leader can “kill the meeting”. Each leader must be aware of these things or people will lose confidence in his/her leadership and lose interest in the meeting itself. Here is a guaranteed list of things that will keep each meeting dead and unhealthy: A. Provide weak and passive leadership for the meeting- The leader must be bold enough to direct the meeting and to keep it from wandering off track. He must be able to gently control group members who would seek to dominate the meeting. He must also keep the meeting on (or close) to the set timetable. B. Dominate the meeting- The leader must not see the meeting as a platform for his personal ministry and dominate all that takes place. His goal should be to include others and see them released into ministry. He should keep his teaching/instruction to a minimum (i.e., as a “launching pad” to discussion and ministry by all). C. Allow a circus environment/ spiritual gift free for all- Personal prophecy and gifts ministry over each other by members of the Life Group should be carefully watched over by the leader. Much havoc and harm have come from this type of ministry in the hands of unseasoned believers. There is clearly a place for prophecy and gifts, but the leader must understand he is responsible for correction or confirmation. If correction is necessary, then do so in the same manner the word was given (i.e., public word, then public correction). Obviously, this should be done in the most loving and encouraging manner as possible. D. Allow the same person to monopolize the attention of the Life Group time after time- Certain people will love the special attention that a prayer time affords. If the same person constantly seeks such personal ministry, those with genuine needs will be discouraged from sharing. The Life Groups are not “personal support groups” for the most greedy and needy to constantly make the group about them. E. Gravitate toward extremes- Such extremes as doctrinal hobby horses, dietary extremes, hypersensitivity to demon activity, constant displays of being overtaken in the Spirit, etc., can have a dangerous effect on people and the church. Questionable areas that are not part of the standard teaching and practice of this local church should be addressed as such, then and there! Also lovingly reigning in the hyper spiritual is helpful. Not to put a wet blanket on passion, but rather to keep the groups focus on the Spirit, not on a person’s display. F. Let the meetings get into a rut- Be creative in your approach to dealing with the topic and questions for the evening. People tend to lose interest if the meeting is too predictable.

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Part 4: Pastoring A Life Group Developing Pastoral Skills In many ways your Life Group will develop along the same lines as your own development as the group’s leader or “pastor”. One of the most challenging things you will do is grow as a pastor! There is a lot of confusion about the term “pastor” in our culture; therefore it will benefit us to understand what the Bible means. In the Greek here is the definition of the work of pastoring: The word for “pastor” in the Greek is poimaino. Word is a verb. Poimaino: to shepherd, to meet the needs of people, to guide, to feed or nourish, to guard from harm. A pastor is one who does the work of pastoring. A pastor is anyone in the body of Christ who is meeting the needs of people, feeding, or providing care. Look at Ephesians 4:11-12 “And God gives some to be apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors, and some as teachers fro the equipping of the saints, for the work of service and for the building up of the body of Christ (the church).” In our culture, we are often confused about what it means to be a pastor. The biblical concept of pastoring is functional, not governmental. In other words a “pastor” is a person who performs the act of pastoring, not a governmental leader in the church. The one who is the head of the local church is called an episcopon or “overseer” in the Bible. This lead elder, or overseer is often called the “pastor”, but this does not mean that they are the one who is most gifted at functioning pastorally. In fact many people who function as heads of churches are often weak in pastoral ministry, but are strong in teaching, the prophetic or another. It is the senior leader’s job to identify/train the prophets, the teachers, as well as the pastors, and release them to minister. We can never lose sight of the importance of pastors. People desperately want and need care. Jesus took care of people. The body of Christ must take care of people, and this is done through pastors. Pastors are attentive to these things: - Are the people under my care growing? - Are the people under my care faithful in attending corporate gatherings? - Are the people under my care dealing with wrong attitudes and speaking? - Are the people under my care in danger? - Are the people under my care moving toward their destiny? Life Group Leader Training Manual

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- Are the people under my care getting their needs met? Developing Your Pastoral Abilities Many of us have natural giftings in many areas. There are some who are naturally better at performing the function of pastor in the body of Christ, other people must work harder at developing these skills. Everyone, regardless of their natural abilities, can develop their skills in pastoring. Each person will need not only to develop their natural abilities in ministering to people, but also must develop their ability to operate in the Spirit in order to minister to people.

Development Stages- (thanks to Drew Brown) 1- Obedience. Often we enter into the work of meeting the needs of people because we have either recognized a God-placed desire to do so, or simply because we are responding to needs within the body or the request of a leader for help. 2- Responsibility. Next, we begin to own the responsibility for a healthy Life Group and healthy people that are placed around us. This means we work hard at things like: leading a Life Group, visiting sick people, correcting wrong attitudes or behaviors, speaking truth, facilitating deliverance, etc… 3- Activity. Next, we become focused on “doing the stuff”. Week in and week out, having the Life Group meet in our home, calling absentees, doing the work of prayer, etc…. 4- The Crossroads. At this point, we must learn to make a transition from simply ministering in the natural and external, and here begin to pastor out of the power of the Holy Spirit. If we are unable to make this transition, we will eventually become: a) Disillusioned- getting irritated about the amount of work there is to be done and by the people who frustrate us; or b) Burned out- simply giving up or quitting because we’ve had enough.

If we are successful in making this transition, then we will begin to pastor out of the endless power and resource of the Holy Spirit and not out of our own resources. What does this look like? 1- Listening. We hear from Father concerning who we are to pastor today and how we are to do it. We are not burdened by any other thing but what Father has spoken for us to do.

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2- Obedience. Once we have heard from Father, we do exactly what He says, no matter how uncomfortable or illogical it may seem. (Listening and obeying Father does not interfere with us being submitted to authorities within the church, but instead flows in unison with it.) 3- Taking true responsibility. True responsibility is bearing only what Father and His leaders have asked us to bear. Expectations of people, ideas about what is fair and unfair, are irrelevant. This means: a) we are a model for others, not their savior, b) we visit and care for those who have been laid on our heart for today; c) we speak the truth God has given us to speak today. 4- Simplicity. We don’t have to be fancy or a super-pastor, we only need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and faithful. 5- Raising Spiritual Sons and Daughters. Pastoring is like parenting. For those who will allow us, we will raise them up in the faith of Jesus. Those who will not allow us, we will love them anyway. 6- Giving Ministry/Ownership Away. We will help others to minister by being led by the Spirit. We will recognize their value and their potential. We will give them freedom to fail and bring oversight for success. Personal One-on-One Ministry Principles 1. Always remember the name of the person you are ministering to. Address the person by their first name unless otherwise indicated by the person. 2. Be a good listener, watch your expression, and do not act shocked by what you hear. 3. Pray without ceasing, giving thanks and praise in all circumstances. Pray before you minister. 4. Trust God’s ability in you to guide and direct you as you minister. The Spirit of God will lead you. 5. The words you speak will be remembered long after you have forgotten them, so “be as wise as serpents and harmless as doves” – Matthew 10:16. 6. Always walk in love since faith works by love – Galatians 5:6 7. Be a doer of the Word – James 1:22. Use the name of Jesus and speak directly to the problem. Do not say what you are going to do, but do the Word. 8. Show the person you are ministering to that he/she is not wrestling with flesh and blood, but with principalities and spiritual powers – Ephesians 6:12. Share how to intercede and tear down strongholds by prayer and speaking the Word. Life Group Leader Training Manual

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9. Your word is your bond. If you make a promise, keep it. Do not get caught up in the emotion of the situation and say you will do something you do not want to do. 10. Encourage the person you are ministering to not to be moved by adverse circumstances, as these things are temporal and subject to change. The Word changes you and the situation. Trust in God regardless of the circumstances. 11. Familiarize yourself with principles of agreement, praise, favor, and intercession. Be led by the Spirit and share victory experiences only. 12. Always expect to have signs follow the teaching or sharing of God’s Word. Be wise when you speak. God will use whom He wills. Desire genuineness of spirit and God’s power. 13. Remember that you are to do all things as unto the Lord and you will be blessed. To whom much is given, much is required – Luke 12:48. 14. Tell them they can do all things through Christ who strengthens them – Philippians 4:13. Wean people from you. 15. Do not condemn, criticize, preach, talk down to, or get loud. Watch your tone of voice and speak in love. 16. Suggest, but do not dictate decisions. 17. Do not advise someone to stop taking medicine, get a divorce, or do anything contrary to Scripture. Bring particularly difficult issues to your zone leader/pastor. 18. Do not allow the person you are ministering to, to dwell on the problem. Give him/her homework in the Scriptures. If he/she does not get in the Word but continues to focus on the problem, ask the Lord, “Should I keep ministering to this person?” (People often make confession out of fear.) 19. Do not physically touch the person any more than necessary. 20. Do not minister to a person of the opposite sex privately. If you are asked to go to someone’s home, take someone of the same sex with you if you are single. If you are married, go together as a couple. Don’t transport persons of the opposite sex alone. 21. If the person has a special problem beyond your own ability, or the ability of your zone leader/pastor to deal with, the church can refer that person to an appropriate staff member or for professional assistance. 22. Be on time. Life Group Leader Training Manual

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Part 5: Healing & Deliverance In Life Group Ministry In our culture, it is not uncommon to go to counseling or therapy for many years. Often, many techniques are employed in modern psychology to try to understand and treat a person in need of inner healing. God’s word says, “You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” It is amazing how God can bring incredible healing and deliverance in a short period of time just by bringing a person to the knowledge of truth. When ministering healing and deliverance, it is very comforting to know that you do not need academic preparation or personal insight. All that is needed for you to be a vehicle of healing and deliverance is for the Holy Spirit to bring God’s light. What you must be familiar with is how the enemy operates to bring bondage and hurt to people. The devil is the father of lies. This is how he operates. Often, dysfunctional symptoms or emotional pain are the result of lies that the enemy has sown within the individual. The following is an introduction on how to facilitate the bringing of truth to supplant the lies of the enemy in people.

Foundational Principles of Healing & Deliverance Ministry 1- My present situation is not the primary source of my emotional pain. (EX)“If I believe the lie that you are the source of my pain, then I can never be free until you are healed.” 2- The present situation often triggers familiar painful emotions from earlier events. “The historical triggers need only be slightly similar in order to tap in the former memory’s emotional pain.” 3- Everything has a beginning source and origin. “The present is often a reflection of the past.” 4- If I try to resolve my present conflict without finding healing for my past wounds, I will at best only find temporary relief. But, if I heal my past, I receive truth I am free. 5- The negative emotion I currently feel is an open window into the wound of my soul. If I receive healing and deliverance my pain is addressed. 6- I can only look through the window of my past as I release the present situation as being the primary source of my pain. 7- There are three things I need to find as I look through the open window: a. The emotional echo b. The memory picture c. The original lie 8- The pain I feel is not coming from the memory of the event but rather from the interpretation which was applied to the event. 9- The pain I feel will match the lies I believe. 10- If I believe the lie, it may as well be the truth because the consequence will be much the same. 11- To be free of the lie requires that I confess it as sin the lie rather than ignore it. “We are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5b Life Group Leader Training Manual

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12- In the midst of this darkness I come to realize how utterly bound I am to the lie and helpless in overcoming its debilitating grip on my life. 13- No one, including myself, is capable of talking me out of the lie. I will only be free when I hear the Truth from the One who is Truth. 14- It is in this helpless, hopeless state that I am able to receive a healing word from God. When the way is made clear for me to receive, God will bring this healing word into my darkness, and only then will I be free. 15- Demonic forces are real and they try to prevent my healing and deliverance and prolong my pain and bondage. 16- The Blood and Name of Jesus are the only things needed to have complete victory and to bind and cast out demonic influence.

Prayer of Healing and Deliverance 1- Prepare a. Instill hope: Relate your belief in the method that Jesus heals today. b. Explain how the session will be conducted. c. Ask the person not to try and help, just to relax. d. Tell the person not to analyze what is going on. 2- Pray a. Ask Jesus to come. b. Ask for protection for all in the room (also loved ones, possessions, etc..). c. Speak to the darkness in the person: (in the Name of Jesus) bind it, command it to be deaf, dumb and blind, to stand at attention, to not interfere in any way, that there shall be no retaliation, and tell it that if it chooses to disobey it must immediately go and stand before Jesus. 3- Identify Emotional Clues a. Listen to their current problems. b. Ask the person about “strong emotions” (use “Identification” sheet). 4- Find and Identify Memories a. Ask Jesus to take them back to a memory that has the identified emotions. b. Explore the memory; have the person describe it. Ask Jesus if there is another memory; again have the person describe it. 5- Allow the Holy Spirit to Find and Identify the Lies a. Ask the Holy Spirit what conclusions (lies) they have come to believe about themselves because of this memory. b. Locate the result of the lies. You can ask the Holy Spirit at this point, “Lord, how has this impacted their life?” c. Repeat the lie. Have the person repeat the lie. This allows the person to ‘connect to’ the pain and the emotions.

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6- Ask Holy Spirit To Bring the Truth a. Ask the Holy Spirit to come into the moment, to bring the truth. The person may sense, see, or hear the truth. Often they may see a picture played out in their mind. b. If nothing happens, ask Jesus what may be blocking the truth from coming through. c. When the Holy Spirit has brought the truth, repeat the truth to the person; follow the Spirit, repeating what He says and does. 7- Revisit the Memory/Memories a. Go to the memory again. Check the intensity of the lie. Ask if there are still any strong emotions in the memory and continue steps 5 and 6. 8- Tell the Darkness to Leave a. Pray “in the name of Jesus and by His authority, I speak to the darkness/demonic and say you have no right here.” “shut up and get out” b. Ask the Holy Spirit to fill the person with His light, love and truth. c. Don’t argue with demons or get preoccupied in any way. They are not the center of attention the power of Jesus through His Spirit is! If they manifest don’t be frightened. 9- Renounce the Lie(s) a. Lead the person in renouncing all the structures, attitudes, and beliefs they have formed in their lives because of the lies. Lay them at the foot of the cross. 10- Close a. Ask the Holy Spirit if He has any special blessing or affirmation for the person, have them listen. 11- The Aftermath a. Explain character clean-up. The person will need to ask the Holy Spirit daily what structures in their personality need to come down because He has shown them the truth. b. Explain that other emotions may come up in the next few days. When this process is begun, other emotions often surface. This does not mean healing did not take place. If they go into the memory themselves they will discover the no longer believe the lies that were processed. The emerging emotions will be from other emotions/lies. They should write them down and may need to schedule another session. Also, demonic spirits have no right to return unless we allow them back through sin, unforgiveness, unbelief, etc.

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Part 6: Relationship Training The Importance of Communication Communication is a two-fold process. First, there must be the ability to speak with language that both the speaker and the hearer can understand. Secondly, there must be the ability to listen and receive what is being communicated.

1- Language is Important

CHRISTIANESE “Have you ever been saved?” a rather wide-eyed young fellow startled me with this question as we walked toward the bus. He handed me a piece of paper with a picture of people being burned in flames. “Sure,” I responded. “Once when I was five I nearly drowned in a swimming pool, but my uncle jumped in and pulled me out.” “No, no, no,” he said. “Redeemed. I mean have you been redeemed? You know, reborn. Washed in the blood.” “What in the world are you talking about?” I asked. “Convicted. I mean, have you ever been convicted?” “Of course not! I’ve never been in trouble with the law.” He looked at me square in the eye and said, “I think you need to be delivered.” “Delivered? I was just waiting for the bus home. I think I’ll stick to that.” He looked at me as though I were speaking another language. “Could we have lunch together sometime?” he inquired. “I work just down the street.” “Oh, that would be fine.” He looked harmless enough, though I had to admit he was an unusual fellow, and a little difficult to understand. That Wednesday I had lunch with Ed. He was late, but explained to me that he was having his quiet time. I said, “Quiet time? What do you mean?” He said to me, “Every day in my prayer closet I have my quiet time.” “You have a closet at work?” He said, “No, it’s in my car.” “You, you have a closet in your car…..” Well, he changed the subject again rather suddenly, and like the first day we met, he left me rather confused. He’s quite a unique fellow, I thought. As we parted that day, he gave me a little booklet that explained how a person could come into a relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ. I read it, and knew it was exactly what I needed. That night, I gave my life to

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Jesus, and was born again, as stated in the booklet. Two days later I told Ed, and he was overjoyed. The following week we got together again. This time Ed strongly encouraged me to find a good body. I was a little surprised at his suggestion, but it sounded real good to me. So I took his advice, and proceeded to comb the local health clubs for an attractive woman. I met Denise, and knew she was the one. We began to date, and soon Denise became a believer, too. Ed rejoiced, and told us it was crucial that we get planted so we could grow together. I confided to Denise, “I tell you, sometimes this guy is hard to understand.” I told Ed I wasn’t quite sure what he meant by planted. He said, “Committed. You both need to be committed.” I said, “Now wait just a minute. Just because I didn’t understand what ‘planted’ means, doesn’t mean I’m nuts. And my decision to trust in Jesus was the sanest thing I could ever do.” Now it was obvious that Ed’s patience was growing thin, so he tried to explain. “Bob and Denise, you have to get plugged in. Do you understand?” Well, no we didn’t understand. But I wondered if getting plugged in had any connection to going in the Spirit, or going out under the Power—something I had heard Ed mention, but had hoped would never happen to me. Regretfully, I had to miss church services the next Sunday. But Ed called me for breakfast the next morning and filled me in on what had happened. He said, “Ooohhh Bob, God moved! He really moved!” I said, “Where did He go? I was just getting acquainted with Him.” “No, no, Bob, God hasn’t gone anywhere. It’s just that so many people were stepping out and the gifts were flowing.” “People were leaving? And presents were being handed out?” He didn’t answer, but changed the subject. “Say, Denise was there and boy was she on fire!” I said, “Fire? Denise got burned? Is she okay?” He said, “No Bob, you don’t understand. God wants to use her.” “Ed, I know I don’t know God as well as you do, but I don’t believe He would use somebody.” Ed only sighed and shook his head. I don’t know what it is, but sometimes it seems like Ed and I have a hard time communicating. Well, it’s been two years since I was saved and delivered, and now I’m plugged in, and planted and committed to a good body. God has been moving, and I’ve been flowing in the gifts. I can hardly believe how God has been using me. I have, however, developed one problem. It seems that my old friends just don’t understand me anymore. When I share about my redemption, and how I’ve been washed in the blood as white as snow, and my desire to follow the Lamb, they just tune me out. I guess they’re just convicted when they see how on fire I am.

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2- Listening is a Learned Skill “Listening is key to relating to others and we must train ourselves to do so.” –Pastor Olen Griffing Five Steps to Being a Better Listener: (thanks to pastor Olen Griffing) 5- Focus. Give the person you are listening to your undivided attention. You must discipline your mind not to wander, or to jump ahead to what you want to say. 6- Summarize. Ask yourself “what is this person really trying to say to me?” Do not allow your own interpretations to overshadow what the speaker is intending to say. Remember, perceptions are not always reality. 7- Invite. Invite the person you are hearing to elaborate on items that are most important to them. Ask them to explain terms you may not understand. Take the time needed to listen. 8- Unpack. Allow the person you are listening to, to really clear the air concerning their emotions and personal feelings. Help them to unload everything so that nothing lingers unresolved. 9- Clarify. Bring resolution by asking the person you are hearing this question, “What I hear you saying is (this)……, is that really what you are saying?”

Relationship Principles Here are seven principles which can be used to cultivate and keep relationships healthy and strong. We have discovered that friendships are not held together by sincerity and love alone, but by covenantal lifestyle. When we agree to walk together according to godly standards and ethics, we find God’s favor and truly prove that friends love at all times. 1) Faithfulness Principle Description: Faithfulness to a relationship means loyalty to a person. When problems arise, relational frictions are laid aside in order to air differences, so that the relationship can be protected. The importance of valuing the person often takes priority over my right to be right. Scriptures: Psalms 133:1-3 “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down upon the collar of his robes. It is if dew of Hermon were falling on Mt. Zion. For there the Lord bestows His blessing, even life forevermore.”

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II Timothy 2:2 “And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” I Corinthians 13:7 “If you love someone, you will be loyal to him no matter what the cost. You will always believe in him, always expect the best of him, and always stand your ground in defending him.” Commitment: Faithfulness to our relationship outweighs the importance of any offense between us. I will not allow any problem to override the principles by which we live. Question: Are you going to let this problem threaten our relationship? 2) First Word Principle Description: Jesus instructed us to go to an offending brother privately. When we obey Jesus, we are able to reconcile with our brother much more easily than if we had revealed the issue to others before seeking him. This also prevents the potential of others taking up a secondary offense. We can’t be wimps, we must be first to initiate restoration in all instances of trouble. Scriptures: Matthew 18:15 “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you.” Proverbs 27:5 “Better is open rebuke than hidden love.” Commitment: You will be the first person to know about any problem I have with you. Question: Have you initiated restoration or spoken to anyone else about this offense? 3) Four Day Principle Description: Resolving conflicts preserves friendships. Offenses between friends are spiritually, emotionally, and physically harmful. Bringing issues to a closure within a reasonable amount of time maintains the health of a friendship. NOTE: scripture teaches that we repeat the process bringing along a neutral facilitator whom both parties can respect if restoration is not achieved in the first attempt. The “four day” principle applies to the second try as well. Scriptures: James 3:17-18 “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.” Matthew 5:23-24 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” Life Group Leader Training Manual

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Commitment: I will not allow any problem I have with you go unresolved for more than four days. If, within that length of time, I have not come to peace about the issue, I will communicate with you. (If it is anger, don’t let the sun go down on that issue!) Question: How long have you been troubled about this problem? 4) Last Word Principle Description: We believe God’s word. We should also believe the words of our friends. If we respect the words we hear from each other, we do not need constant assurance of the well being of our relationship. We can be confident that all is well because we have not been told otherwise. Scripture: Ephesians 4:15 “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Him, who is the Head, that is Christ.” Proverbs 14:5 “A truthful witness does not deceive.” I Corinthians 13:7 “If you love someone, you will be loyal to him no matter what the cost. You will always believe in him, always expect the best of him, and always stand your ground in defending him.” Commitment: I will believe and act upon the last words we spoke concerning our relationship, and live as if you will do the same. If you say “I am OK,” I will trust that after we have brought the issue to focus. If anything changes on my part, I will inform you. Question: Did you forget or disregard what we last spoke to one another concerning our relationship?

5) No Assumptions Principle Description: God is the only one who knows what is in a man’s heart. One should not expect that a friend can discern what is happening inside him. The need to be understood is met by friends communicating with one another, not by assuming things about another’s behavior. Scriptures: I John 1:7 “But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another...” Proverbs 14:25 “A truthful witness saves lives, but a false witness is deceitful.” James 5:14 “Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord” Life Group Leader Training Manual

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Commitment: I will not expect you to interpret my actions or recognize my heart’s condition. It is my responsibility to approach you if I need your help. I will not wait to be pursued by you. Question: Are you offended that I did not recognize your condition?

6) Believe, Speak, & Hear The Best Principle Description: Faithfulness to a relationship means I choose to ONLY believe the best of my friend, speak the best of my friend, and hear the best about my friend. I simply will not allow the devil to build a case in my mind and heart against my friend. I will not gossip, slander, or expose my covenant friend. I will not even listen to anyone’s criticism, gossip, or negative speech against my friend. I am not a trash receptacle for other people’s negativity. Scriptures: Philippians 4:8 -Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. I Corinthians 13:7 “If you love someone, you will be loyal to him no matter what the cost. You will always believe in him, always expect the best of him, and always stand your ground in defending him.” Titus 3:1-2- “Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.” Proverbs 20:19 “A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a those who talk too much about others. Commitment: I will not entertain in my thinking or hearing any evil words against any covenant friend, nor will I speak any evil of them in any context. Question: Is what you are thinking or saying or hearing about your friend the best for them? 7) Transparency In Relationship Principle Description: I want to warn you right up front that this one is tough! One of the biggest schemes of the devil is to trick us by getting us to allow hidden things that harm relationships by disguising them as “confidences”. While the bible is clear that covering and protecting our relationships is right, there can be times when we stumble into a trap by promising to not reveal information we are given. The fact is there are times when we should hold things in confidence

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and there are clearly times when we should not. Some examples of the times when we must be transparent and reveal what we have been told: 1) When the “confidence” reveals information required by law to be reported such as physical and sexual abuse. 2) When the “confidence” reveals an imminent danger to someone such as threat of suicide or violence. 3) When the “confidence” is a veiled way of disseminating gossip or slander against a person, or is causing harm in some way to a wider community. 4) When the “confidence” reveals a deep seeded bitterness or offense that needs to be brought to light and resolved for the good of the one speaking or the one being spoken about. 5) When the “confidence” being held places you in the compromised position of being disloyal or insubordinate to someone in authority over you, or causes you to be negligent in your area of responsibility.

Scriptures: Psalms 133:1-3 “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down upon the collar of his robes. It is if dew of Hermon were falling on Mt. Zion. For there the Lord bestows His blessing, even life forevermore.” II Timothy 2:2 “And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” I Corinthians 13:7 “If you love someone, you will be loyal to him no matter what the cost. You will always believe in him, always expect the best of him, and always stand your ground in defending him.” Commitment: I will be transparent in relationship and NOT hold confidences when they cause me to act unrighteously. Question: Is this confidence one I can keep and still be righteous toward others?

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The Development of Disloyalty No one wakes up one morning and suddenly finds himself disloyal. Disloyalty is an attitude that develops itself through various stages before it fully manifests itself. If this attitude is checked at these early stages, it may never become a problem. The importance of our sharing some of these principles of developing disloyalty is so that you can use these as a personal thermometer in checking the attitudes of your own heart. Disloyalty sounds like a terrible word, but it progresses through some not-so-terrible-sounding stages. 1- Independent Spirit Many times in religious circles there is a maneuvering for recognition. This is caused by an independent spirit. An independent spirit is caused by a lack of brokenness and a lack of submission to the will of those in oversight. (Philippians 2:19-22; Luke 17:7-10)

2- Personal Ambition When you are ambitious in regard to your ministry it is very easy to do things with the motivation of receiving praise from men. If our relationship with God is weak, we can easily shift our desires from receiving the approval of God to receiving the approval of people. They begin promoting themselves in order that they might receive personal recognition, rather than ministering to people as the Lord directs them. Though they may think they love people, they don’t. They love the praise of people. If a young leader has a strong personal ambition, he will have little love for the flock of God. He will not have a servant’s heart, and a leader must be, first and foremost, a servant. (Galatians 1:10; Matthew 6:1-21)

3- Spiritual Pride When a man begins to think too highly of himself his own ministry, he begins to think that his suggestions are the best suggestions. He begins to yield himself to attitudes of spiritual pride. As a result, he tries to impress others with his wonderful ideas. Not only does this close him off to others around him (particularly those in oversight), but it also results in an unwillingness to listen to their suggestions, input, and/or correction. In so doing, he suffers great loss, which could lead to ruin. Often times a young, developing leader cannot see with the eyes of experience a more mature leader has. In addition, he usually does not have all of the information the oversight has, and he usually does not have a clear understanding as to how this particular decision fits within the totality of the overall vision of the church. (Proverbs 26:12; Proverbs 12:15; Proverbs 19:20)

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4- Unteachable & Uncorrectable When the leadership rejects the ideas of the individual, he takes it as a personal affront. His spiritual pride has been injured. He feels that his whole ministry has been rejected and misunderstood. He begins to speak lies in his heart in regard to himself and others, particularly those in authority. (Proverbs 13:10; Proverbs 12:1)

5- Critical Spirit In himself he must now justify his own independent spirit. The leadership has rejected his ideas on this occasion, so he feels there must be something wrong with the judgment and discernment of the leadership. His spiritual pride is at stake. He begins to use his own ideas as a criterion for the judgment of all the decisions of the oversight. As a result, he develops a critical spirit toward leadership. (Proverbs 12:20; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13)

6- Competitive Spirit Because of the mote in his own eye, this person can no longer exercise right judgment. He begins to develop a competitive spirit in regard to his leaders, and at times must distort facts to feed his ego. By distorting the views of the leadership and contrasting them with his own, he is able to gain a measure of recognition from others around him. (Proverbs 18:10; Jude 16-19)

7- Party Spirit Because of his fear of failure by lack of recognition from the spiritual oversight, he begins to gather to himself others who are discontent and dissatisfied with the decisions of the leadership. In this way he gathers disciples unto himself who will help him feed his ego and his thirst for recognition. Soon he begins to stir up discontent that becomes a challenge to spiritual leadership. (Proverbs 10:17; James 3:13-16)

8- Divisive Spirit He now begins to feed this group with the things that he has fed himself upon for so long. He accuses them over him of insensitivity to true spiritual authority (namely himself). He gossips against the leadership in progressive degrees of severity. He begins by speaking against those faults and frailties in the leadership that are obvious to all, and not necessarily related to spiritual qualifications. He then moves to more obscure areas. Those around him believe him because he was right about the other things. (Proverbs 29:22; Proverbs 24:28; Proverbs 26:21-28)

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9- Marked by Leadership He is encouraged by the support he receives on the areas of those minor problems he has emphasized. He feels he is gaining true spiritual authority. At this point it is finally noticed by leadership, because certain things are beginning to come into public view. It is likely that the leadership will now confront him as a disloyal follower. Often he will see this as an offense or as evidence of Satan at work in those who confronted him. The people who have been following him are forced to choose sides in the conflict. (Proverbs 28:2; Romans 16:17)

10- Straining Gnats, Swallowing Camels In justifying his position, he finds it necessary to lay extreme emphasis on those grievances which all agree are true. People are hence encouraged to make a decision on minor issues, not really understanding the heart of the problem. (Matthew 23:24; Proverbs 20:5)

11- Church Split We now have a splinter group that begins to go its own way. It begins to break off from local leadership. We have a new church that was birthed in disloyalty and rebellion. A church that begins in rebellion ends in rebellion. (Proverbs 21:28; Galatians 6:7; Proverbs 5: 11-14)

We have seen how disloyalty develops and ultimately manifests itself in separation and ruin. Disloyalty is not always easy to see externally, and that is why many times it goes unchecked in the early stages. If disloyalty is not recognized and dealt with, it will ultimately bring division to the work of God. It is important we as individuals use these tests on ourselves. We should allow the Holy Spirit to examine our hearts in the pure light of God’s Word. If we catch ourselves in the early stages, we must confess, repent, and reconcile. We should also seek accountability for our heart problems with those God has placed in authority over us. As we work and live together with the people of God, let us endeavor “to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” Ephesians 4:3

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LIFE Group Leader Training Manual  

This manual will inspire, encourage, inform and train those stepping into small group leadership at All Nations Church.

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