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MAKE SUMMER YOUR GROUP’S ALLY • CIRCLES OF LIFE APPENDIX • WHAT’S NEXT AFTER 40 DAYS

doing

lifetogether magazine

The Premier Small Group Resource SUMMER EDITION

Take Them Deeper

Building relationships that last

Winning at Lifetogether

Secret to living a purpose-driven life

How to Study The Bible Discovering the Bible together

R TIPS FO NG MODELI PRAYER ING L L E S T S BE ROUP G L L A M S STUDIES

7 10

Making Your Group Real Friends Finding moments that change everything

Free Small Group Health Assessment and more…

Why SMALL

GROUPS are such a

BIG DEAL

Hundreds of Free Downloadable articles, resources, videos, curriculum, and more…


Contents table of

07

07

From Soloist To Choir

Great Conversation Starters

07 Why Small Groups Are Such A Big Deal

07 Why Small Groups Are Such A Big Deal

07 From Soloist To Choir

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How to use this magazine Sedi conectotae non cusdant. Dolestrum qui odi autenis et la cus ditionsequia cusa nullupta con nisque vendia nam et, corehent, quaest ommodiame porae anditat iunducius dolorro blandan imiligendam est fuga. Ut harchic tiatet ende rent ut atiatatquam, suntur, ulpa consequia commo mi, aritibusdae eost eliquatibus doluptaerit occatibus excesequodi nonecab iuris veles dolessim cuptata tustrumque si te

07 Coming To A Living Room Near You

07 Developing People

Cover Page

01

Table of Contents

02

Winning at Life Together

03

4 Simple Steps to Select Your Next Series

04

Small Group Health Plan

05

How to Build a Healthy Small Group

06

Doing Lifetogether

07

Experiencing Christ Together

08

Your Small Group Superstore

09

Couples Curriculum

10

Parenting Curriculum

11

Coming to a Living Room Near You!

12

Youth Curriculum / Singles

13

Men’s Curriculum

14

Women’s Curriculum

15

Making Your Group Real ‘Friends’

16

Featured Authors

17

Great Conversation Starters

18

Developing People / Favorite Leader Devotionals

19

Recruiting a Co-Leader

20

Stages of Faith

21

Best Sellers

22

Building Character Together / Deepening Life Together

23

Movie Night

24

Finances / Hot Topics

25

Share the Load

26

Spiritual Gift Assessment

27

Doing Bible Study Together

28

Opening Gifts isn’t Just for Kids

29

Why Small Groups are Such a Big Deal

30

Small Group University

31

Small Groups Built to Last

32

Saddleback Church Authors

33

Steve Gladen Resources

34

10 Bestselling Churchwide Campaigns

35

Small Group Show

36

From Soloist to Choir

37

About the Author

38

07 Great Conversation Starters

07 Great Conversation Starters

07 Great Conversation Starters


Winning at Life Together God’s pathway for living a life of purpose. By: Brett Eastman

I

n The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren writes, “God intends for us to experience life together. The Bible calls this fellowship … real fellowship is so much more than just showing up at services … It includes unselfish loving, honest sharing, practical serving, sacrificial giving, sympathetic comforting, and all the other ‘one another’ commands found in the New Testament.” I had to learn that truth the hard way. My philosophy of life was primarily shaped by my life experience. I grew up in a single parent home with my two older sisters, a cousin, a widowed aunt, and my mom, who worked her fingers to the bone, trying to make ends meet. Since my mom worked around the clock and my father showed up once a year at Christmas, usually drunk, I was on my own most of the time. I defined my success by accomplishments, acquiring things, and making money. “Even the Lone Ranger had Tonto,” Warren writes in his book. But I didn’t, which made me believe that if I was going to succeed in life, I would have to do it on my own strength. I didn’t believe anyone else would be willing to help me— especially God. One day, a girl I had been dating for several years told me she had found Jesus. Because of that event, my life took a significant turn. Reluctantly, I decided to join a few guys who were doing a Bible study on the life of Christ. I’d never talked openly about the Bible, Jesus, and what it meant to have a relationship with him. Those five guys were so gracious with my cynical

attitude, challenging questions, and fears about placing my trust in a God I couldn’t see. They could imagine how scary it was to trust a heavenly father after growing up with a very distant and disappointing earthly father. Through the lives of those men, I was ambushed by the love of God, and I no longer wanted to do life alone. I wanted what they had—a relationship with God and other believers. That year, my girlfriend, who is now my wife of over 20 years, saw me give my heart and life over to the one who gave us life together. From that point on, I was never the same. I redefined “winning in life.” It wasn’t about accomplishments, status, and money anymore, but about living a healthy and balanced life of purpose, best achieved by: 1. Connecting in life with a few friends and family on a deeper level than ever before in the context of a small group community (fellowship). 2. Growing in my spiritual journey through the encouragement and accountability of a few friends to help me be more like Christ (discipleship). 3. Developing my unique SHAPE for the purpose of ministry to others, not just my own selfish ambitions (ministry). 4. Sharing my life mission with others, because it’s scary and difficult to do alone (evangelism). 5. Surrendering my heart to God and others for prayer and support as an act of worship to God (worship). Grow and Go After being in that group only a few months, my leaders asked if I would be willing to “grow and go” to the next level in my walk with God. He said, “You really don’t know if you have it until you give it away.” He encouraged me to do as Jesus did—create my own circle of friends by asking God with whom he wanted me to connect and deciding with whom I would enjoy spending time for at least six weeks. He challenged me to call the few people God brought to mind, as a step of faith. I was just crazy enough to do it—and the rest is history. Two of those men asked Christ into their lives, and several others

became lifetime friends. One of them even stood as the best man in my wedding. Maybe you’re not in a group, but have been inspired by reading The Purpose Driven Life. You know that God wants you to be transformed by the purposes for life. This transformation process begins when you ask the question, “What am I going to do today with what He has revealed to me?” Start by connecting with a few friends in a small group or establishing a spiritual partnership with a friend. Here is a simple ABC strategy to make your connection happen today. Ask God, “who?” With whom does God want you to learn, share, grow, and apply His truths? Think of your friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, schoolmates, and anyone else God brings to mind. Also, consider who you would enjoy spending time with for a few weeks. Write the names down as God brings them to mind. Begin calling today! Once you have a name or two in mind, call them today, and see if they would be willing to share their thoughts and ideas with you for a few weeks. Once one person says yes, you may be tempted to limit it to just the two of you. However, by inviting a few others, you have created a meeting you all look forward to each week.

Most people you ask have one or two other friends who would love to join, too. Remember, you don’t need 20, 10, or even 5 people for a sufficient group. The Bible says, “Where two or more have gathered, he is in their midst.” The important thing is that you start with at least one other person so you can “do life together.” Check out curriculum. For many people, a study book may give them all they need to interact, but others might benefit from a DVD or video teaching series; these keep discussion flowing. Once you choose the curriculum, you may want to host an open house for your members and preview the series you choose. At this point, they can also pick up and take home the curriculum. God desires each of us to live a good life, but He never intended us to live it alone. He modeled this with the 12 disciples. It’s fascinating that many of my Christian friends (and even church leaders) ride alone like the Lone Ranger, missing out on the joy of deeper and more significant relationships with the body of Christ. I’m ashamed to admit I have done this as well during different seasons of my life. Even after serving as the Small Group Champion at both Willow Creek and Saddleback Church, it took my wife and me several years before we created a new circle of friends. Now, I would do anything for them as they would for me. “Doing my life” with others has taught me some of life’s greatest lessons—especially that winning in life is best experienced not alone, but together.


4 Simple Steps To Select Your Next Series V

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purpose

purpose

purpose

purpose

purpose

purpose

week 0-8

week 9-16

week 17-25

week 26-34

week 35-42

week 43-52

He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. Colossians 1:28


SMALL GROUP HeALtH PLAn Small Group Health Assessment Renew Group Agreement Aligendae landandus, iducil il iducimus, se accus dolupta voloressequi ut as simi, ute poribus, si blatias doluptae. Ut faciliam, que volor maximpel ipit evendel ipidemosa expliquae. Fugitat estiasint. Ximusam in re plaborepra nobis accuptasit, cus eosaped itatem eatqui nonet que re, id quiaspe dicimagnihit adipitias et iminulpa commo que poribus ea volum que venit voluptat. To ex exero quidest faccusda nienis rem fugias aut volum ea in net fugiant uribus, sament faceatis ament, ut adioria ndicim quiaspe rerchit aerfere pelluptatem re rem sequam cullat labore labor aligent volutem porate modictet harum que libus nat velenditibus doluptasped quis exerunt por am faccus esed ut occum nes autempore odit in porerspiciae porem labor magnatibus que ero iunt.

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CONNECTING with God’s family   We are intentionally cultivating our relationships with Christian friends & spiritual mentors  We are cultivating authentic community by speaking truth in love and creating  healthy boundaries              We are more loving, grace giving & forgiving to others than we were a year ago    We are resolving conflict with others in a Biblical manner, and supporting the leadership of this church family              We are willing to share our real needs for prayer and support with others

1  2  3  4  5 1  2  3  4  5 1  2  3  4  5 1  2  3  4  5 1  2  3  4  5

Connecting Total  ________________

GROWING to be like Christ We have an intimate relationship with God, growing spiritually through regular quiet time in God’s Word & prayer. (Spiritual Habits)          We respond to challenges with peace and faith to protect us from pain rather than anxiety and fear               We see ourselves more through God’s eyes than our own        We avoid using addictive behaviors (food, television, busyness, etc.)       We are honoring God with our finances & our personal giving (budget) to God     

1  2  3  4  5 1  2  3  4  5 1  2  3  4  5 1  2  3  4  5 1  2  3  4  5

Growing Total  ________________

DEVELOPING your SHAPE to serve others We are expressing our gifts (S.H.A.P.E.) as a way of life at work and at home    We’ve attended the 301 CLASS, discovered our SHAPE & completed the SHAPE interview  We are serving in a regular (monthly or better) ministry to the church body    We are sharing responsibility within our small group by serving in a role    We are praying, discipling, or mentoring another person in the group or community  

1  2  3  4  5 1  2  3  4  5 1  2  3  4  5 1  2  3  4  5 1  2  3  4  5

Developing Total  ________________

SHARING your life mission every day We are actively praying for & cultivating relationships with unchurched friends & family  We are inviting seekers to church and sharing our spiritual story with them    We are participating in cross-cultural missions by discovering needs and praying for them  We are praying and considering on where God can use our cross-culturally in the future  We are reproducing our life spiritually and/or praying for when this will happen   

1  2  3  4  5 1  2  3  4  5 1  2  3  4  5 1  2  3  4  5 1  2  3  4  5

                                                                                                        Sharing Total  ________________

SURRENDERING your life for God’s pleasure We are faithfully attending church worship services on the weekends      We have created a life mission statement and are seeking to fulfill it      We are growing in our personal worship to God through music & praise    We are surrendering our whole life by improving our exercise and nutrition    We are honoring God with every dimension of our life by balancing His purposes in our life 

1  2  3  4  5 1  2  3  4  5 1  2  3  4  5 1  2  3  4  5 1  2  3  4  5

Surrendering Total  ________________

Just Beginning 0-5

FAIR 5-10

Getting Going 10-15

VERY GOOD 15-20

Well Developed 20-30

PURPOSES

POSSIBILITIES

PLANS (OUR NEXT STEP)

(Primary Questions)

(Sample Plans)

Monthly Review

CONNECTING

• Host a family barbeque

WITH GOD’S FAMILY

(Purpose of Fellowship) Hebrews 10:24-25; Ephesians 2:19 Who are we connecting deeper with relationally?

GROWING

TO BE LIKE CHRIST (Purpose of Discipleship) Colossians 1:28; Ephesians 4:15 What is our next step for spiritual growth?

DEVELOPING

• Pass around the CLASS sign-up sheet • Share our extended life stories

• Commit as a group to regular quiet times • Memorize one verse a month • Read a book on spiritual growth

• Share ministry involvement

YOUR SHAPE TO SERVE stories and plans OTHERS • Pray for everyone to find a (Purpose of Serving) Ephesians 4:11-13; 1 Corinthians 12:7; 1 Peter 3:10 Where are we serving together?

SHARING

ministry by the fall season

Serve together at Easter

• Pray for your family and friends

YOUR LIFE MISSION EVERYDAY • Share plans and progress for (Purpose of Evangelism) Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 20:24 How can we share Christ and fulfill our Life Mission in the world?

SURRENDERING

inviting people to Easter

• Pray for the African mission team

OUR LIFE AS WORSHIP

• Faithfully use the prayer/ praise list

(Purpose of Worship)

• Experiment with group worship

Romans 12:1&2; Psalm 27:6b

• Host a communion service this quarter

How can I surrender my life today?


How To Build a

Healthy Small Group This Next Year

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Fearless Fearless Fearless Fearless Fearless

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Fearless Fearless Fearless Fearless Fearless

Mentor Your Coaches And Their Leaders

3 levels of Spiritual Mentoring that will keep your leaders in the game. Supervising leaders face burn out and fatigue just as any uncared-for small group leader does.

a little extra effort will pay off big. Let’s take a look at three main areas:

As a pastor or staff member, one of your jobs is to focus on the needs of your leadership coaches and supervisors to ensure that they want to stick around and help you turn spiritual seekers into multiplying “shepherds.” Often just

1. “Who Are You?” This focuses on relationship and friendship. To develop a deeper relationship with your coaches:

a. Pray with them. Ask what you can pray for on their behalf. b. Take a genuine interest in their family. c. Write them notes of encouragement often. d. Call them or send them cards on their birthdays or anniversaries. e. Make sure you know their life story. Read more…


Growing To Be Like Christ

Doing Life Together

Author: Brett Eastman, Deanna Eastman Publisher: Zondervan $29.99 (Price) $21.99 (Your Price)

Experiencing Christ Together uses a powerful combination of DVD based teaching tools and traditional small group Bible discussion to help you take your small group to the next level of growth and intimacy. Each DVD and study guide are carefully coordinated for a seamless lesson. Each of the six sections includes: • Leader Lifters—pre-session video training that offers weekly insights and practical techniques for leading small groups. • Creative Elements—personal stories, interviews, and music videos related to the weekly topic. • Worship Music—featuring the songs of Maranathal together with lyrics and uplifting video images.

Beginning Life Together

Buy now

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Author: Brett Eastman, Deanna Eastman Publisher: Zondervan $29.99 (Price) $21.99 (Your Price)

Developing Your SHAPE To Serve Others Author: Brett Eastman, Deanna Eastman Publisher: Zondervan $29.99 (Price) $21.99 (Your Price)

Buy now

Erum res con esequo cus et aut exeris es molo tem ut re ipiendipsum faccab id molupienet et quiatium comnis autem quiandanimi, sum adi tem consequae. Cae volor rest, autas quas simil ipid eum re elecepe disinctat a qui asinusa excerna tinimolut eum quam etur, im sapis excearion essi beriae eic torro berum quiam voloremque voluptium eum aut et pos si velia aliae dolecto cor autat et provid quis ullanda dolorio bereped quist magnam necae inctureium nossi iusciatur, qui omnim numet quia dolore con nim quat eat ad que parum dolorehenis eari a et enihit rerunt, sequos et voluptatibus et idit, nusdae prae sequis dolorum lacestibus et providella non eostiorepe dolore rerit es illacepero cus. Optatur, sitibus, am quiducim as ilia dio maximus dionseratur rempeli tatioresto ommodis ex estorat ut odit maior sandignatur ratur sum estrum apid mi, officil iquidel laboribus, totat et fugiae. Pisquatatque nobit litias recae cullumendam Read more.

Connecting With God’s Family

Erum res con esequo cus et aut exeris es molo tem ut re ipiendipsum faccab id molupienet et quiatium comnis autem quiandanimi, sum adi tem consequae. Cae volor rest, autas quas simil ipid eum re elecepe disinctat a qui asinusa excerna tinimolut eum quam etur, im sapis excearion essi beriae eic torro berum quiam voloremque voluptium eum aut et pos si velia aliae dolecto cor autat et provid quis ullanda dolorio bereped quist magnam necae inctureium nossi iusciatur, qui omnim numet quia dolore con nim quat eat ad que parum dolorehenis eari a et enihit rerunt, sequos et voluptatibus et idit, nusdae prae sequis dolorum lacestibus et providella non eostiorepe dolore rerit es illacepero cus. Optatur, sitibus, am quiducim as ilia dio maximus dionseratur rempeli tatioresto ommodis ex estorat ut odit maior sandignatur ratur sum estrum apid mi, officil iquidel laboribus, totat et fugiae. Pisquaque ias recae cullumendam Read more.

Sharing Your Life Mission Every Day

Author: Brett Eastman, Deanna Eastman Publisher: Zondervan $29.99 (Price) $21.99 (Your Price)

Author: Brett Eastman, Deanna Eastman Publisher: Zondervan $29.99 (Price) $21.99 (Your Price)

Buy now

Buy now

Erum res con esequo cus et aut exeris es molo tem ut re ipiendipsum faccab id molupienet et quiatium comnis autem quiandanimi, sum adi tem consequae. Cae volor rest, autas quas simil ipid eum re elecepe disinctat a qui asinusa excerna tinimolut eum quam etur, im sapis excearion essi beriae eic torro berum quiam voloremque voluptium eum aut et pos si velia aliae dolecto cor autat et provid quis ullanda dolorio bereped quist magnam necae inctureium nossi iusciatur, qui omnim numet quia dolore con nim quat eat ad que parum dolorehenis eari a et enihit rerunt, sequos et voluptatibus et idit, nusdae prae sequis dolorum lacestibus et providella non eostiorepe dolore rerit es illacepero cus. Optatur, sitibus, am quiducim as ilia dio maximus dionseratur rempeli tatioresto ommodis ex estorat ut odit maior sandignatur ratur sum estrum apid mi, officil iquidel laboribus, totat et fugiae. Pisquatatque nobit litias recae cullumendam Read more.

Rick Warren Foreword A Purpose Driven Group Resource

Doing Life Together is a groundbreaking study in several ways. It is the first small group curriculum built completely on the purpose-driven paradigm. This is not just another study to be used in your church; it is a study on the church to help strengthenyour church. Many small group curricula today are quite self-focused and individualistic. They generally do not address the importance of the local church and our role in it as believers. Another unique feature of this curriculum is its balance. In every session, the five purposes of God are stressed in some way. But the greatest reason I am excited about releasing this Doing Life Together curriculum is that I’ve seen the dramatic changes it produces in the lives of those who study it. These small group studies were not

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developed in some detached ivory tower or academic setting but in the day-to-day ministry of Saddleback Church, where thousands of people meet weekly in small groups that are committed to fulfilling God’s purposes. This curriculum has been tested and retested, and the results have been absolutely amazing. Lives have been changed, marriages saved, and families strengthened. And our church has grown-in the past seven years we’ve seen over 9,100 new believers baptized at Saddleback. I attribute these results to the fact that so many of our members are serious about living healthy, balanced, purpose-driven lives. Read more…

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Surrendering Your Life For God’s Pleasure Author: Brett Eastman, Deanna Eastman Publisher: Zondervan $29.99 (Price) $21.99 (Your Price) Buy now

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Experiencing Christ Together Experiencing Christ Together uses a powerful combination of DVD based teaching tools and traditional small group Bible discussion to help you take your small group to the next level of growth and intimacy. Each DVD and study guide are carefully coordinated for a seamless lesson. Each of the six sections includes: • Leader Lifters—pre-session video training that offers weekly insights and practical techniques for leading small groups. • Creative Elements—personal stories, interviews, and music videos related to the weekly topic. • Worship Music—featuring the songs of Maranathal together with lyrics and uplifting video images.

Growing In Christ Together Author: Brett Eastman Publisher: WaterBrook Press

Our world these days is so hectic, so complex. Where do we turn for wisdom and guidance in navigating the ins and outs of life? There are many voices to listen to and many examples to follow, but we really need look no further than the Author of Life, Jesus. He taught and lived a way of life that was purposeful and pleasing to God. These six sessions will show you the value and the nature of a life of discipleship, as modeled by Jesus. Experiencing Christ Together uses a powerful combination of DVD based teaching tools and traditional small group Bible discussion to help you take your small group to the next level of growth and intimacy. Read more.

Beginning In Christ Together Author: Brett Eastman Publisher: WaterBrook Press

Serving Like Christ Together

The Experiencing Christ Together DVDs are designed to enhance your small group time together with the Bible study guide of the same name. On the DVD are leader helps—insights and techniques for each weekly lesson, dynamic teaching featuring well-known teachers, personal stories, interviews, and worship music complete with lyrics and uplifting video images. The teachers on this DVD are: Mike Breaux, Mike Meeks, Doug Fields, Tom Mullins, Dave Redriquez, and Kay Arthur. Read more.

Author: Brett Eastman Publisher: WaterBrook Press

Jesus said he “did not come to be served, but to serve.” And he calls us as his followers to the same lifestyle and attitude of service. But how do we do that? In a world that values power and ease, we need some help in reorienting our hearts as well as our schedules. These six sessions look at key character traits taught and modeled by Jesus that are essential to a life of service in the steps of the Ultimate Servant. Experiencing Christ Together uses a powerful combination of DVD based teaching tools and traditional small group Bible discussion to help you take your small group to the next level of growth and intimacy. Read more.

Connecting In Christ Together

Sharing Christ Together

Fellowship. The word gets used a lot in church. But too often our understanding and practice of fellowship are shallow and stripped of the lifegiving, life-transforming power God intended community to have. But Jesus lived out and taught a deeper, more radical kind of fellowship, a way of interacting that makes others sit up and take notice. These six sessions will show you Jesus’ way of loving others “as I have loved you.” Read more.

Lost and hurting people are all around us. Jesus said he came to seek and save the lost, and he calls us into the same mission of love. But we often get bogged down in the how-tos of sharing our faith when the heart of the matter is...our heart. These six sessions expose us to the heart of Jesus as he shows and teaches his disciples how to have a vibrant witness that draws lost people in, so they can be shown the way home. Read more.

Author: Brett Eastman Publisher: WaterBrook Press

Author: Brett Eastman Publisher: WaterBrook Press

Surrendering to Christ Together

Hosting An Open House If you’re starting a new group, try planning an “open house” before your first formal group meeting. Even if you only have two to four core members, it’s a great way to break the ice and to consider prayerfully who else might be open to join you over the next few weeks. You can also use this kick-off meeting to hand out study guides, spend some time getting to know each other, discuss each person’s expectations for the group and briefly pray for each other. A simple meal or good desserts always make a kick-off meeting more fun. After people introduce themselves and share how they ended up being at the meeting (you can play a game to see who has the wildest story!), have everyone respond to a few icebreaker questions: “What is your favorite family vacation?” or “What is one thing you love about your

church/our community?” or “What are three things about your life growing up that most people here don’t know?” Next, ask everyone to tell what he or she hopes to get out of the study. You might want to review the Small Group Agreement and talk about each person’s expectations and priorities. Finally, set an open chair (maybe two) in the center of your group and explain that it represents someone who would enjoy or benefit from this group but who isn’t here yet. Ask people to pray about whom they could invite to join the group over the next few weeks. Hand out postcards and have everyone write an invitation or two. Don’t worry about ending up with too many people; you can always have one discussion circle in the living room and another in the dining room after you watch the lesson. Read more…

Author: Brett Eastman Publisher: WaterBrook Press

The ultimate paradox of the Christian life is that victory comes through surrender. Most of us aspire to a life of abandonment to God and his purposes, but we find the daily grind and our own old habits get in the way. Jesus knew he set the bar high, but he didn’t leave us without guidance. In these six sessions, you’ll learn from his teaching and example the character qualities essential to a life of worshipful surrender. Experiencing Christ Together uses a powerful combination of DVD based teaching tools and traditional small group Bible discussion to help you take your small group to the next level of growth and intimacy. Read more.


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Couples Curriculum

Parenting Curriculum

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Love and Respect

21st Century Parent

Boundaries with Kids

Author: John Eldredge Publisher: Thomas Nelson $39.99 (Price) $19.99 (Your Price)

Author: John Eldredge Publisher: Thomas Nelson $39.99 (Price) $19.99 (Your Price)

The Secret To The Marriage You Want

BEST SELLER

Author: John Eldredge Publisher: Thomas Nelson $39.99 (Price) $19.99 (Your Price)

Author: John Eldredge Publisher: Thomas Nelson $39.99 (Price) $19.99 (Your Price)

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In the popular book, Love & Respect, Dr. Emerson Eggerichs showed couples how to have a happier more fulfilling marriage by learning the different communication styles of men and women. Women absolutely need love and men absolutely need respect. It’s that simple.

and

This member book for participants in The Secret to the Marriage You Want six-session DVD study helps members of the group further explore the teachings they’ve heard. It provides leader helps, video guides, group communitybuilding and application activities, and options to follow during the week.

The 5 Love Languages, DVD Author: John Eldredge Publisher: Thomas Nelson $39.99 (Price) $19.99 (Your Price) Buy now

Affirming words, quality time, giving gifts, serving, physical touching---these five special ways of “speaking” will get your new marriage off to a great start or enhance the emotional climate of a long-standing one! Dr. Gary Chapman explains the purpose of each “language” and shows you how to identify the one that is most meaningful to your spouse. Approx. 65 minutes.

Love & War: Find Your Way to Something Beautiful in Your Marriage Author: John Eldredge Publisher: Thomas Nelson $39.99 (Price) $19.99 (Your Price) Buy now

Dare to be the man God created you to be! In eight provocative lessons on authentic masculinity, John Eldredge challenges you to abandon passivity and actively pursue your God-given dreams. Encouragement for men to walk the road least taken---and important insights for the women who love them! Includes a CD-ROM with promotional materials. Three DVDs, approx. 4 hours total.

More Couples Curriculum here…

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Dare to be the man God created you to be! In eight provocative lessons on authentic masculinity, John Eldredge challenges you to abandon passivity and actively pursue your God-given dreams. Encouragement for men to walk the road least taken---and important insights for the women who love them! Includes a CD-ROM with promotional materials. Three DVDs, approx. 4 hours total.

Tips To Modeling Prayer For Your Group

Author: John Eldredge Publisher: Thomas Nelson $39.99 (Price) $19.99 (Your Price) Buy now

Parenting is hard enough without having to protect your children from the destructive messages they’re exposed to in today’s culture. Discover how to ground your kids in faith and Christian values through Scripture memory and meditation. Gary Smalley’s 12-session curriculum equips you to teach your children to love God, overcome trials, develop good character, and more. Includes DVD, leader’s guide, and workbook.

Just as powerful as the group dynamic of prayer is the impact that a praying leader can have on his or her group. A praying leader ministers to the group not only by showing how much he or she cares about their needs but also by modeling a life of prayer.

Dedicate the last half hour of each bible study to “personal prayer needs” time.

Write each member’s prayer requests down on 3x5 cards. Bring the cards to every study so you can check back on their requests.

After the requests are given, pray immediately with your group.

Set up a prayer-partner system where each member has another member praying for him or her, and vice versa.

As a leader, continue to pray for each specific prayer request of each of your members (use your cards as reminders) daily. Read more…

Help your kids take responsibility for their own actions and emotions---and bring order to an out-of-control household! In this 8-session program, Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend take you and your small group through the ins and outs of establishing loving limits and instilling character in your children---ones that will help them lead balanced, productive, and fulfilling adult lives.

Guarding Your Child’s Heart (Family Kit)

One of the most powerful aspects of small groups is the opportunity to offer prayer requests, to pray together, and then to see how God follows through on those prayers. It’s amazing to see how God works over three months or six months or a year. Prayers gets answered, situations change, hearts change—your group sees God work in mighty ways.

As with most things, becoming a small group centered on prayer doesn’t just happen. Here are 7 tips on how you can minister to your small group through prayer:

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Shepherding a Child’s Heart, DVD Author: John Eldredge Publisher: Thomas Nelson $39.99 (Price) $19.99 (Your Price) Buy now

In this Shepherding a Child’s Heart DVD Tedd Tripp teaches sequentially through all the material in his book Shepherding a Child’s Heart. Grounded in the Bible’s divine plan for parenting, this DVD defines your goals as a parent and then provides the Scriptural methods for accomplishing them. Designed for use by Study groups or individuals, the content is divided into fifteen half-hour sessions. Also includes a bonus CD containing a reproducible course syllabus. Approx. 7.5 hours.

More Parenting Curriculum here…

Mission Possible

Why leading a small group is not impossible with an extraordinary God. When you think of “mission,” do you envision taking God’s Word to people in remote places, like Africa or Asia? Do you imagine living a Spartan lifestyle, stripped of all the comforts of home? Do you think of abandoning friends, family, a successful career—giving up everything? Most of us will never experience this type of mission, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have one. Our mission field begins where we live—in our families, on the job, with our neighbors, and, yes, even in our church. Over the past year, our church, Saddleback, saw an incredible outpouring of God’s Spirit. Thousands of people were connected under the care of a shepherd. More than 400 small groups were launched in a 13-week period. Yet 50 percent of our church family still needs the care of a shepherd. Maybe your church needs shepherds, too. God may be calling you to care for a circle of friends and help them fulfill God’s dream for their lives. When you touch the lives of others through an authentic relationship, you’re fulfilling Christ’s dream: that a shepherd would care for each of his sheep. Read more…


Coming To A Living Room Near You!! Voloreh endellestius eta voluptium voluptae que vollabo By: Brett Eastman

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hen was the last time you watched a movie at home with your family and a few friends? Did you call the church office to decide whose house you would go to? Did you ask your pastor who to invite? Probably not!

small group community with the 12 disciples. First he spent time with a number of “Christ followers” getting to know them and discerning whether they would be the ones he “asked” to join his own group. Then the Bible says he prayed overnight to confirm if they were the ones, and then the next day he simply asked them to come with him.

If you are like most people, you just drove over to your local video store, checked out a movie, and called a friend or two. If that’s the case for most Christians, then why do we go to so much trouble signing people up to get into small groups and matching them with a small group leader?

The model followed a simple A-B-C plan to create your own community and to not do your life alone but to do life together in community with a few other friends and family.

Do we not trust them to invite the “right” people? To turn on a DVD or VCR? Or do our church attendees and members not have any friends, family, neighbors or co-workers they would like to hang out with for a few weeks studying a DVDdriven Bible study?

A – Ask God who he wants you or even is calling you to connect with. Reflect on the fact that this is not about a 40 Day journey but a simple but intentional step. God, from the model of the Trinity, to the way he modeled ministry through Jesus, showed us it was a healthy balance of alone to pray and meditate but also a clear call to not do ministry alone but to do ministry and life together!

I realize this may be a new idea, but ironically it better follows Jesus’ model for forming his own

Discover the ABCs of Jesus’ small group strategy:

Practically, a senior pastor delivers a message on community on a Sunday morning to set up the vision, asking everyone to follow Jesus’ model of doing life together. Whether it’s 40 Days of Purpose, 40 Days of Community, or any other curriculum series, the formula is the same. The first approach is to say, “Think about your lists in life.” An obvious one is your cell phone list. Ask them -- for the first time in the church’s life -- to turn on their cell phones and look at their contact list. Have them scroll through and pick up a few names. What about their address list at home on the Christmas card list, sports team list, PTA list, neighborhood list, school list, on and on? Take these lists and have your congregation consider who they would enjoy getting together with for just six weeks. Have them start a list right there in the service! After a moment of prayerful reflection, challenge them by asking, “Would you follow Jesus’ model?” People respond out of obedience, out of a longing to belong, or a desire to help the pastor and their church reach out and extend the circle to a few others. Don’t make this about the cause as much as about the “call to community.” B – Begin calling the names of the 3-5-8-12 names God gave you. The beauty of this model is that it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when you are going to do it and who you’re going to call. You’ve taken care of the if by saying you want to grow like Jesus did. That brings us to the question of when. If everybody’s doing a campaign that kicks off in two weeks, you have two weeks to promote this on the weekend. Trust me on this one, if you give them a message on the value of community from any message in your files, you will be amazed by what happens. Simply say, “All I’m asking you to do is be willing to call the names that God just gave you in the next 24 to 36 hours.” You minimize the “ask” in order to maximize the response. Say to them, “Come on. You can put up with anyone for just six

weeks -- many of you have spouses that have to live with you for a lifetime.” Challenge them to go home and call two or three people today! Most people will at least get one yes within 24 hours, and then they are committed. Remind them that these groups don’t have be big, they just need to begin with a man or woman of faith -- not seminary professors or pastors, just a few friends. The Scripture says “Where two or more are gathered (not 22 or even 12 like Jesus).” Have them turn in names they write down on their pages, collect them, and then have the staff pray for them during the week. This will show you are in this with them. You can’t ask them to do something you’re not willing to do. When you have a day of fasting and prayer for those names, it will be one of the most emotional days your staff has ever had. C – Check out the curriculum they can use for the six weeks series. Whether you do sermon alignment or not, still challenge them to pick up a sampler a (DVD/VCR and study guide) as they walk out of the service today. One church put the material in gift bags and had people come up front, like an altar call. In a church of 1,600, they handed out 220 DVD/study guide sampler kits. I went to this church the next weekend and trained over 250 hosts/leaders. For those pastors and church leaders reading this, let me just say, “You can do this!” And it’s possible to do it over the next few weeks. Any one of the Purpose Driven™ six-week curriculum series would work. I just suggest a sermon alignment either before Easter or after Easter.


TIPS: Becoming like your hero Father The novel Across the Nightingale Floor is a classic hero tale set in a fictional ancient Japan. Cut off by tragedy from his childhood world, teenage Takeo forges a new life as the adopted son of Lord Shigeru. Shigeru is nothing like the villagers among whom Takeo was raised, but the boy quickly decides he wants to be just like Shigeru when he becomes a man. It’s not just that Shigeru saved his life. Shigeru also has qualities that Takeo wants: wisdom, patience, kindness, and the skills and honor of a warrior. Takeo commits his life to emulating his adopted father/master and fulfilling Shigeru’s goals. Like Takeo, we too were born to be heroes—people who serve God and bring about significant good in the world. But who can save our lives and then show us how to live them? Jesus can. When Simon, Andrew, James, and John first met Jesus, they were already looking for something more in their lives than just fishing. Jesus was a rabbi seeking students. In those days a rabbi wasn’t just an academic lecturer, and a student or “disciple” wasn’t interested in mere information. Simon and his friends wanted someone to teach them truth to base their lives on. They were also seeking a personal relationship with a teacher. They found both in Jesus. Here was someone whose life they could imitate and whose words they could live by. Jesus was not someone who made them think, “I want to know what he knows”; he was someone who made them think, “I want to be like him.”

You might want to use one of the ministry or evangelism series (Rick Warren’s or Doing Life Together) before Easter to prepare your congregation for the after-Easter assimilation series. After Easter, I recommend any “open” curriculum series on fellowship, discipleship themes, or typical series like John Ortberg’s or Phillip Yancy’s six-session DVD series. For those who want to focus on the Easter theme, the three week Purpose Driven Passion series would also be an excellent choice either before or after Easter along with the Experiencing Christ Together series by Lifetogether. My experience with this “blockbuster” idea is that more than 20% of adults will do this if the senior

Christ is a hero whose qualities are worth following. Here are the first steps for becoming more like him: 1.

Pray. Set aside some time to pray about this idea of letting Jesus train you in how to live. If you’re new to prayer, you might try just five minutes a day when you get up in the morning or when you arrive at work. You could pray, “Jesus, train me to live today. Train me to think your thoughts. Train me to feel toward people what you feel. Train me to do what you would do.” Then review your day with him. You may find it helpful to write your prayer in a journal.

2.

Spend time at the Master’s feet. Take time to read the four gospels. Bask in these Bible chapters each week. We recommend that you jot down your thoughts about these readings in a journal.

3.

Meditate. If you’ve read the gospels before, try meditation as a way of internalizing God’s word more deeply. Copy a portion of Scripture onto a card, and tape it somewhere in your line of sight, such as on your car’s dashboard. Think about it when you sit at red lights, or when you’re getting dressed in the morning. Ask what God is saying to you, here and now, through these words? Again, record your thoughts in a journal.

MORE TIPS AHEAD…

pastor or small group champion simply stands up and challenges the congregation to go for it. This can be done in the middle of a message and illustrated by a testimony or two. What percentage of your adults do you think will respond to a call that came out of a message casting vision for whatever campaign using whatever series you are going to do? I have asked this question to senior pastors and church leaders for almost a year, the number is always between 50% and 75%. If you do a good job casting Jesus’ vision and talk about the value of community, the benefits of community you will be amazed.


Singles

Youth Curriculum

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New Start for Single Moms: Dynamic in Influence… Practical in Design

Making Peace with the Single Life - Word Document [Download]

Accountability and the Christian Single - Word Document [Download]

Author: Diane Strack Publisher: Thomas Nelson $99.99 (Price) $72.99 (Your Price)

Author: Christianity Today International Publisher: Christianity Today International $4.95 (Price) $4.95 (Your Price)

Author:Christianity Today International Publisher: Christianity Today International $4.95 (Price) $4.95 (Your Price)

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Doing Life Together Lifetogether Student Series Volume 1 Starter Kit Author: Doug Fields, Brett Eastman Publisher: Zondervan Youth Specialties $47.67 (Price) $37.37 (Your Price)

Lifetogether Student Series Volume 2 Starter Kit

Lifetogether Student Series Volume 3 Starter Kit

Author: Doug Fields, Brett Eastman Publisher: Zondervan Youth Specialties $47.67 (Price) $37.37 (Your Price)

Author: Doug Fields, Brett Eastman Publisher: Zondervan Youth Specialties $47.67 (Price) $37.37 (Your Price)

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Buy now

Guilt, financial fears, childcare anxieties, fatigue---don’t let single moms go it alone! This life-changing program will help them find discipleship, companionship, and guidance for shouldering the burden of creating a stable home. Includes 10-lesson DVD; comprehensive facilitator guide with mentor training/recruitment tips; weekly discussion guide; and a CDROM with printable forms, work sheets, posters, and flyers.

Singles know and embrace the biblical truth found in Genesis 2:18: The LORD God said, It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him. And yet, we also know that some are destined to remain eunuchs for the kingdom s sake (Matthew 19:12). Right now, though, most of us are living somewhere in between. We are alone, but we don t necessarily feel the call to remain single.

In our current culture, we are surrounded by sexual temptation from movies, to magazines, to coworkers, to pornography in many forms. For the Christian single, the constant battle almost can seem too much to bear. As Jason Illian says in his article, some have even suggested that the only answer is to seclude ourselves from our culture or to pray for God to take away our fleshly desires.

This Life Together Student Edition Leader’s Guide, volume 1 covers Starting to Go Where God Wants You to Be and Connecting Your Heart to Others.

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This Life Together, Student Edition Leader’s Guide, volume 2 covers Growing to Be Like Jesus and Serving Others in Love.

This Life Together Student, Leader’s Guide, volume 3 covers Sharing Your Story and God’s Story and Surrendering Your Life to Honor God.

Experiencing Christ Student Edition Volume 2 Starter Kit

Experiencing Christ Student Edition Volume 3 Starter Kit

Author: Doug Fields, Brett Eastman Publisher: Zondervan Youth Specialties $47.67 (Price) $37.37 (Your Price)

Author: Doug Fields, Brett Eastman Publisher: Zondervan Youth Specialties $47.67 (Price) $37.37 (Your Price)

Experiencing Life Together Experiencing Christ Student Edition Volume 1 Starter Kit Author: Doug Fields, Brett Eastman Publisher: Zondervan Youth Specialties $47.67 (Price) $37.37 (Your Price)

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This study guide has six sessions and enables small groups to explore the power and life application of Jesus’ teaching on the five biblical purposes of a Christian life by closely examining Christ’s model in the Gospels.

This study guide has six sessions and enables small groups to explore the power and life application of Jesus’ teaching on the five biblical purposes of a Christian life by closely examining Christ’s model in the Gospels.

Soul Surfer: Catch God’s Wave For Your Church Kit Author: Jeremy Jones, Janna Jones Publisher: Outreach Publishing $59.99 (Price) $49.99 (Your Price) Buy now

With its encouraging portrayal of family values, and its uplifting message, the Soul Surfer movie and church campaign is the ultimate combination of faith, film, and family!

More Youth Curriculum here…

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This new study guide has six sessions and enables small groups to explore the power and life application of Jesus’ teaching on the five biblical purposes of a Christian life by closely examining Christ’s model in the Gospels.

To Save a Life Curriculum Kit Author: Jim Britts Publisher: Thomas Nelson $79.99 (Price) $69.99 (Your Price) Buy now

A teen-friendly curriculum based on the must-see Christian indie film from Jim Britts! Just as realistic, relevant, and upfront as the movie, this 7-session resource includes a leader’s guide with messages, activities, group questions, and tips


Women’s Curriculum

Men’s Curriculum

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Calm My Anxious Heart: A Woman’s Guide to Finding Contentment

The Shelter of God’s Promises Participant’s Guide Author: Sheila Walsh Publisher: Thomas Nelson $12.99 (Price) $8.99 (Your Price)

Author: Linda Dillow Publisher: NAV Press $15.99 (Price) $8.99 (Your Price)

Women worry a lot. We fret about our children, our friends, our careers, our spouses---the list goes on and on! If you’re tired of being held hostage to a million “what ifs,” Dillow’s 12-week Bible study will provide the help you need to exchange your anxieties for godly peace and contentment. 240 pages, softcover from NavPress.

The Shelter of God’s Promises Participant’s Guide expands on the teaching and stories explored in the DVD video session. Using Scripture, in-depth biblical teaching, life application, and questions for personal study and group discussion, this guide will encourage and guide group members as they journey deeper into the material.

Extraordinary Faith, Study Guide Author: Sheila Walsh Publisher: Thomas Nelson $9.99 (Price) $2.69 (Your Price) Buy now

For all women who love the Women of Faith Study Guide Series, and for all the women who just need more...Faith! Women of Faith and Nelson Reference present the Women of Faith Annual Workbook Series. This is the second book in the series. With a larger format and more intense study material, this series offers more to women in their personal or group study. Throughout the course of this study, women are invited to participate in an eight-week exploration of biblical faith. Written in the now familiar, friendly style of the best-selling Women of Faith study guides, Faith includes engaging stories, and enlightening paraphrases that make the Word of God accessible to women in every walk of life.

Becoming a Woman of Simplicity Author: Cynthia Heald Publisher: NAV Press $9.99 (Price) $8.19 (Your Price) Buy now

Becoming a Woman of Simplicity is the newest addition to Cynthia Heald’s Becoming a. Bible study series. In today’s culture, we have constant communication via cell phones, texting, and social websites. Women are pulled in lots of directions at the same time. Is it possible to clear your calendar, live a simple life, and spend time with God? Cynthia thinks so. Learn what she has to say about living a Godcentered and God-paced life, being at rest in who you are in Christ. This Bible study is designed for women and can be done in a group or alone. 11 lessons; paperback.

More Women’s Curriculum here…

Wild at Heart Video Discussions Author: John Eldredge Publisher: Thomas Nelson $39.99 (Price) $19.99 (Your Price)

CLASSIC

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Create A Caring Church

3 ways your small group can show love to the body of Christ If you want to create a church community that really cares for one another, the best way to do it is through small groups. When small groups become the vehicle for care-giving, the whole church gets involved in sharing one another’s burdens—a much more personal approach than relegating the task to a committee. The whole congregation should be making hospital visits, taking meals to people when they’re sick or something’s happened, doing childcare when someone’s in crisis and giving money when somebody’s lost a job. The best way to make this happen is to get everyone in groups where they love and care about each other. Then just as it is with family, members do these kinds of things naturally. This is really just another example of how small groups become like extended family. And as many of us live far away from our blood relatives in this day and age, we really need that kind of connection with people. However, for this kind of caring church to be created, it’s got to start with the pastor. He’s got to cast the vision. He’s got to encourage the congregation to get into small groups so they can learn to care for each other. And the best way to do this is for him to be in a small group himself. The church needs to see that he, along with the rest of the church’s leadership, values the model. Read more…

Dare to be the man God created you to be! In eight provocative lessons on authentic masculinity, John Eldredge challenges you to abandon passivity and actively pursue your God-given dreams. Encouragement for men to walk the road least taken---and important insights for the women who love them! Includes a CD-ROM with promotional materials. Three DVDs, approx. 4 hours total.

Creating Team Players 5 ways to get everyone committed to contributing to your group

When it comes to getting everyone to participate in your small group, it’s important that you—their leader—know your level of openness is the primary factor in setting the tone for the group’s involvement and openness. Along with that, here are 5 ways to get your small group members to participate in group life: 1.

When you ask the first question, you should answer it first. When you’re done, simply ask, “How about somebody else?”

2.

Don’t rush responses, but learn to enjoy silence. Wait patiently with roaming eye contact. You might count to 7 or say, “I can wait longer than you!”

3.

As soon as someone says anything, affirm their response, whether it is a great answer or a oneword response. Make it safe for people to share their thoughts.

4.

Ask for volunteers to read the Bible passage or a paragraph from a book. But don’t put anyone on the spot unless you know they don’t mind reading. Read more…

More Men’s Curriculum here…

Risk: Are You Willing to Trust God with Everything? Book & Workbook Author: Kenny Luck Publisher: Random House, Inc $13.99 (Price) $10.49 (Your Price)

BEST SELLER

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Do you dare to let Jesus take control of your life? Jesus challenges God’s man to throw predictability, control, safety, and comfort out the window and go to the next level in their faith. By trying to eliminate risk from your life, you actually block Christ’s work in your life. Kenny Luck, men’s pastor at Saddleback Church, challenges men to put all their trust in Jesus.

Dare to Be Uncommon: Leader Pack(Book & DVD) Author: Tony Dungy Publisher: Group Publishing $24.99 (Price) $15.49 (Your Price)

BEST SELLER

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Super Bowl Champion Tony Dungy has spent his life shaping young men. Now in Dare to be Uncommon, Tony Dungy is ready to share core truths he wants every man to understand, live by, and pass onto others. This leader pack is designed to explore key principles found in Tony Dungy’s Uncommon. Through Scripture, discussions, and activitiesplus character building insights and candid ‘pep-talks’ from Tony Dungy-men will be challenged to examine their lives and aspire to a true life of significance. A life of renewed integrity.influence.and faith.

Business by the Book Workshop in a Box DVD Kit

Game Plan for Life DVD Leader Kit

Author: Crown Financial Ministries Publisher: Crown Financial Ministries $74.99 (Your Price) $100.00 (Price)

Author: Joe Gibbs Buy now Publisher: Lifeway $99.99 (Your Price) $99.99 (Price)

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NIV New Men’s Devotional Bible Bonded leather, black Author: Xxxxxxxx Buy now Publisher: Zondervan $32.49 (Your Price) $44.99 (Price)


Making Your Group Real ‘Friends’ Seven principles for deepening small group relationships By: Brett Eastman

D

on’t we all long to be a part of something fun, exciting, and life-giving?

The sitcom Friends captured this desire. Every week, 50 million people watched six actors pretend to have relationships with one another. Its popularity was fueled by the deep longing we all have to be connected in community. The advertising world has caught on to this yearning as well. MCI promises to connect us with “friends and family.” The felt need is clear. But the real need is found in the biblical word, koinonia, which means “fellowship.” God’s plan from the beginning was that each one of us would belong to a spiritual community, where we all would be known and we would know others. How can we create a community like this? How can we connect with one another? Here are seven principles to help you CONNECT with the people in your group and to help them connect with one another:

1. Create a “one-another” community. In the New Testament there are more than 50 different references to “one another”: love one another, bear one another’s burdens, pray for one another, serve one another. This can’t happen only on Sunday mornings; it needs to happen in other settings, like small groups. Once you’ve invited your circle of friends and they show up, remember you don’t have to be a Bible scholar to create a one-another community. Your job is to ask the questions, look around the room, and wait for someone to respond. When someone voices a response, affirm them, no matter what they say. Don’t feel like you have to answer every one of the questions yourself. It’s like a ping-pong game: just get it started and keep the ball in play.

TIPS: How to get your group to open up One concern of nearly every small group leader is how to get everyone to open up. This is especially problematic in larger groups. If your group has more than seven people, here’s a great technique for encouraging sharing: Separate your group into discussion circles of three or four people. With a greater opportunity to talk in a small circle, people will connect more with the study, apply more quickly what they’re learning and ultimately get more out of it. A small circle also encourages a quiet person to participate and tends to minimize the effects of a more vocal or dominant member. And it can help people feel more loved in your group.

your group. Remember, the Bible says “iron sharpens iron” (Proverbs 27:17, NIV). The group that doesn’t have sparks actually doesn’t have much life. Healthy groups have conflict. There are practical things you can do, however, to ensure that conflict doesn’t dominate your small group. First, make a group covenant. This agreement outlines the ground rules for your group. If you write down your expectations early on,

Another way to create a one-another community upfront is to schedule socials and meals together. Pull families together and get to know each other. Schedule casual gatherings, like a pizza dinner, before the meeting starts. During this time, your group has time to check in on prayer requests. Throughout the six weeks, rotate homes, so that people embrace the group as their own. 2. Open your heart. Being authentic lets your group know you don’t have it all together either. When we communicate openness, that makes it safer for everybody else to be open as well. It’s healthy to say, “You know, that’s a good question. I don’t know,” or “I’m not sure.”

Also, this allows time for people to share prayer requests. You don’t want to get halfway around the room during prayer request time and suddenly say, “Oops, we ran out of time.” Break into smaller groups so you have time to share prayer requests, as well as pray for one another. Remember: When people feel heard, they feel loved; when they feel loved, they return; and when they return, life transformation happens. 4. Never run from challenges, questions, or even conflict in

member to rotate the facilitation of the group at least by the second or third week. Get out your group calendar and record where the group will meet, who will host, who will lead worship, and who will bring refreshments. This will develop ownership on a variety of levels. Also make sure that each group member has a responsibility. Some people may not be ready to lead worship or plan a ministry project, but everybody can take a responsibility by teaming up and doing something together. It could be planning a social, following up on absent group members, or participating in a ministry project. Sign them up, pair them up, and follow up. If you don’t follow up, it won’t happen. 6. Cultivate a group of friends. The Bible says that early believers gathered in temple courts and house to house, week to week. This model ensured members would always connect with one another, even if they missed a meeting at the temple.

You are the role model, and they’ll follow your example. When you’re authentic, your group will be more authentic. 3. Naturally group members together for deeper discussion. It’s important that every meeting permits discussion time. When your group gets larger than seven, it’s more difficult for everyone to share. So break into discussion groups of three to four people. The more airtime an individual has, the greater the life application -- and that’s when you’ll see lives transformed.

When you gather again at the end of the section, you can have one person summarize the highlights from each circle. Small circles are also helpful during prayer time. People who are unaccustomed to praying aloud feel more comfortable trying it with just two or three others. Also, prayer requests won’t take as much time, so circles will have more time to actually pray. When you gather back with the whole group, have one person from each circle briefly update everyone on the prayer requests. People are more willing to pray in small circles if they know that the whole group will hear all the prayer requests. More Tips Ahead…

Because the early church embraced this model, they added to their numbers daily. Everyone wanted to be a part of the fellowship. Who are you going to add to your circle? If you invite friends to join the group, they’ll have a greater tendency to come back themselves because they’ll be surrounded by friends. conflict will occur less later on. Second, facilitate discussion to help evaluate the progress of your group. After a few weeks, assess how things are going and just throw out the questions: “How’s it going? What is one thing you like? What is one thing you’d change if you could?” You may want to have them do it on 3x5 cards to make it safer. Issues that arise from these responses are ones to address immediately so controversy doesn’t ensue. 5. Encourage shared ownership. When this happens, the group moves from being “your” group to “their” group. Re-

7. Take time to do life together. Don’t miss anniversaries, wedding parties, baby showers, job promotions, and even house closings. Celebrate one another’s lives. On my birthday, my small group made my favorite dinner and favorite dessert. They asked how they could pray for me. Though the group isn’t supposed to be about me, on my birthday they wanted the whole night to be about me. The beauty is that they loved on me and made me feel special. This is the longing in each of our hearts.


Featured Authors

Kay Arthur

Max Lucado

Andy Stanley

Beth Moore

Kay Arthur, international Bible teacher and four-time Gold Medallion award-winning author of over 100 books. Read more... http://www.precept.org/

A gifted minister and author for more than twenty years, Max has served as an associate minister in Miami as well as a missionary church planter. Read more... http://www.maxlucado.com/

Andy Stanley, senior pastor of the fast-growing North Point Community Church in Atlanta, Georgia. Read more... www.someurlgoeshere.com

Beth Moore is a woman of purpose, preparation, prayer and passion. Read more... http://www.lproof.org/

Ray Vanderlaan

John Ortberg

David Jeremiah

Ann Graham Lotz

He is the host of the video series “That the World May Know,” and has been intrigued with the meaning and message of Jesus Christ since Read more... http://www.followtherabbi.com/

John Ortberg believes his calling is to lead people to “spiritual formation,” which is how people become more like Jesus. Read more... http://johnortberg.com/

Dr. David Jeremiah is the senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California, and chancellor of San Diego Read more... http://www.davidjeremiah.org

Anne Graham Lotz, daughter of Billy and Ruth Graham, is the president and CEO of AnGeL Ministries Read more... http://www.annegrahamlotz.com/

Joel Osteen

Kay Warren

John MacAuthor

John Piper

Joel Osteen is a native Texan and the Pastor of Lakewood Church, which according to Church Growth Today is America’s largest Read more... http://www.joelosteen.com/

Kay Warren is the founder of the HIV/AIDS Initiative at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. Read more... http://www.kaywarren.com/

John MacArthur is the pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California and president of The Master’s College & Seminary. Read more... http://www.gty.org/

John Piper is the Pastor for Preaching at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Read more... http://www.desiringgod.org/

Mark Driscoll

Chuck Swindoll

RC Sproul

Francis Chan

Pastor Mark and Grace founded Mars Hill Church in Seattle in October 1996. The church started as a small Bible study in their Read more... http://theresurgence.com/

In the summer of 1977, the sermons that Chuck Swindoll preached at the First Evangelical Free Church in Fullerton, California Read more... http://www.insight.org/

Dr. R.C. Sproul is the founder, chairman and president of Ligonier Ministries, an international Christian education ministry Read more... http://www.ligonier.org/

Francis Chan is founding pastor of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, California. He is also the founder of Eternity Bible College. Read more... http://www.francischan.org/


1. What’s your preferred ice cream flavor? Where do you usually enjoy it?

2. How many brothers and sisters do you have? What

Great n o i t a s r e Conv Starters

Recruiting a Co-Leader

is your birth order?

3. Which do you prefer: the hustle and bustle of city life or the quiet and serenity of country life? Why?

4. What’s your all-time favorite meal, and how often

How help from God and group members takes the worry out of leading

do you enjoy it?

5. What’s one of your nicknames? What do you prefer to be called?

6. As a child, what was your idea of fun?

7. What’s a phrase your parents often said to you as a child that you promised yourself you’d never say, but now you catch yourself saying all the time?

8. As a kid, what did you want to grow up to be? 9. What’s one of your hobbies?

10. What books have made a big impact on you?

11. What was the most recent compliment that surprised and delighted you?

12. What’s something about yourself that you hope will never change?

13. Are you more of a rule breaker or a rule keeper? Why?

14. Would you describe yourself as an extrovert or an introvert? Explain.

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15. What’s your dream job?

16. What’s one of your greatest achievements?

17. What one word sums up your high school experience? Why? Good questions draw people in and keep a conversation flowing. 18. What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word “fun”?

Be on the lookout for good questions. 19. What are you a “natural” at doing? What skills have Below are some suggestions: you just always had?

20. How often do you leisurely eat a meal with friends?

T

here are few other tasks in the family of God that surpass shepherding Jesus’ flock—which is what you as a leader are doing. As you prepare to lead—whether it is one session or an entire series—keep in mind that you are not alone. God knows everything about you, and he knew that you would be asked to lead your group. It is common for all good leaders to feel unready to lead. Moses, Solomon, Jeremiah and Timothy were all reluctant to lead. But as he did for them, God promises to us, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). Remember, you don’t have to try to do this alone. Pray right now for God to help you build a healthy leadership team. If you can enlist a co-leader, your experience will be much richer. This is your chance to involve as many people as you can in building a healthy group. All you have to do is call and ask people to help—you’ll be surprised at the response.

Small Group Leader FAQ’s Who may attend this group? How long will this group meet? Who is the leader? Where do we find new group members for our group? How do we handle the childcare needs in our group? Click for answers


Stages of Faith

Picking the curriculum that matches the spiritual maturity of your group Xxxxxxxxxx

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Best Sellers V

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Fearless DVD-Based Small Group Kit

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Author: Max Lucado Publisher: Thomas Nelson $34.99 (Price) $24.99 (Your Price) Buy now

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Can you imagine your life without fear?Max Lucado presents six DVD sessions that offer hope and calm in a time of unprecedented fear in our nation and the world. Designed for individual study or a small group experience, Fearless draws from Jesus’ encounters with people in frightening situations giving evidence that we can trust God through these

Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desires with God Not Food Pack, Participant’s Guide and DVD Author: Lysa TerKeurst Publisher: Zondervan $31.99 (Price) $20.99 (Your Price) Buy now

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Pack containing one softcover guide and one DVD. In this six-session video study, Lysa TerKeurst helps women discover the missing link between a woman’s desire to be healthy and the spiritual empowerment necessary to make that happen. The reality is, we were made to crave. Craving isn’t a bad thing. But we must realize God created us to crave so we’d ultimately always desire more of Him in our lives. Many of us have misplaced that craving towards overindulging in physical pleasures instead of lasting spiritual satisfaction. For a woman struggling with unhealthy eating habits, Made to Crave will equip her to: *Break the ‘I’ll start again Monday cycle’ and start feeling good about herself today *Stop beating herself up over the numbers on the scale and make peace with the body you’ve been given *Discover how your weight loss struggle isn’t a curse but rather a blessing in the making *Replace justifications that lead to diet failure with empowering Go-to Scripts that lead to victory. *Eat healthy without feeling deprived * Reach your healthy weight goal while growing closer to God through the process.

More Best Sellers Curriculum here…

Crazy Love, Book and DVD Author: Francis Chan Publisher: David C. Cook $44.98 (Price) $29.99 (Your Price) Buy now

Sharing from his own life struggles and sacrifices, author Francis Chan issues a call for selfless, Christ-like living. It’s crazy, if you think about it. The God of the universe—the Creator of nitrogen and pine needles, galaxies and E-minor—loves us with a radical, unconditional, self-sacrificing love. And what is our typical response?

The Invisible War--3 DVDs and Study Guide Author: Chip Ingram Publisher: Living On The Edge $24.95 (Price) $17.99 (Your Price) Buy now

In a culture where witches are no fairy tale, Chip Ingram reminds Christians of the battle being waged against them!

Walking with God in the Desert Faith Lessons Pack: Discovery Guide and DVD Author: Ray Vander Laan Publisher: Zondervan $36.99 (Price) $23.49 (Your Price) Buy now

Faith Lesson Packs include the DVD with Leader’s Guide plus one Discovery Guide. Order additional discovery guides for each member in your group.


Building Character Together

Deepening Life Together V

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Romans, Study Guide

Authenticity: Living a Spiritually Healthy Life Author: Brett Eastman $22.00 (Price) $14.99 (Your Price) What does it take to build character? How do you instill godly qualities inside yourself that are displayed consistently through words, actions, and attitudes that reflect what Jesus himself is like?

Friendship: Faith: Living a Living a Transformed Connected Life Life

Service: Living a Meaningful Life

Obedience: Living a Yielded Life

Influence: Living a Contagious Life

Author: John Eldredge Publisher: Thomas Nelson $39.99 (Price) $19.99 (Your Price) Buy now

Learn about six different aspects of faith from famous biblical characters like Joshua, Jacob, and Job and your own faith will be transformed.

Living a Meaningful Life focuses on Service. Examples of God’s servants are: Moses, Deborah and Dorcas, Nehemiah, Noah, Esther, and David.

Learn about obedience and becoming more like Christ with your small group as you study the experiences of Mary, Abraham, Rahab, James and John, Isaiah and Hosea.

The examples of Levi, Daniel, and Nicodemus and how they influenced those around them are a few of the characters you will be studying with your small group while practicing the five elements of a Purpose Driven Life

for several weeks, or for a lifetime, you will be blessed as you serve.

Congratulations! You have responded to the call to help shepherd Jesus’ flock. There are few other tasks in the family of God that surpass the contribution you will be making. As you prepare to lead—whether it is one session or the entire series—here are a few thoughts to keep in mind. We encourage you to read these and review them with each new discussion leader before he or she leads.

2. Don’t try to do it alone. Pray right now for God to help you build a healthy leadership team. If you can enlist a coleader to help you lead the group, you will find your experience to be much richer. This is your chance to involve as many people as you can in building a healthy group. All you have to do is call and ask people to help—you’ll be surprised at the response.

1. Remember that you are not alone. God knows everything about you, and he knew that you would be asked to lead your group. Even though you may not feel ready to lead, this is common for all good leaders. Moses, Solomon, Jeremiah, or Timothy—they all were reluctant to lead. God promises, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). Whether you are leading for one evening,

3. Just be yourself. If you won’t be you, who will? God wants to use your unique gifts and temperament. Don’t try to do things exactly like another leader; do them in a way that fits you! Just admit it when you don’t have an answer and apologize when you make a mistake. Your group will love you for it!— and you’ll sleep better at night

4. Prepare for your meeting ahead of time. Review the session and the leader’s notes, and write down your responses to each question. Pay special attention to exercises that ask group members to do something other than engage in discussion. These exercises will help your group live what the Bible teaches, not just talk about it. Be sure you understand how an exercise works, and bring any necessary supplies (such as paper or pens) to your meeting. If the exercise employs one of the items in the appendix (such as the PurposeDriven Life Health Assessment), be sure to look over that item so you’ll know how it works. Finally, review “Read Me First” on pages 11–14 so you’ll remember the purpose of each section in the study. Read more…

Author: John Eldredge Publisher: Thomas Nelson $39.99 (Price) $19.99 (Your Price)

Buy now

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The most important promise God ever made was that he would restore the broken relationship between himself and those who bear his image. What happened in the garden and what were the long-term effects on God’s creation?

Acts, Study Guide

Parables, Study Guide

Author: John Eldredge Publisher: Thomas Nelson $39.99 (Price) $19.99 (Your Price)

Author: John Eldredge Publisher: Thomas Nelson $39.99 (Price) $19.99 (Your Price)

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Deepening Life Together video Bible studies guide small groups into a deeper understanding of the Bible, and a deeper relationship with God and others.

Praying God’s Way, Study Guide Author: John Eldredge Publisher: Thomas Nelson $39.99 (Price) $19.99 (Your Price) Buy now

Perfect for small groups, Sunday school and Bible studies, Deepening Life Together is a great way for believers to rediscover the joy of God’s Word while growing closer with fellow Christians at the same time.

Small Group Leadership 101 Group Leadership 101 (Top Ten Ideas for New Facilitators)

Fruit of the Spirit, Study Guide

Author: John Eldredge Publisher: Thomas Nelson $39.99 (Price) $19.99 (Your Price)

Explore Paul’s systematic presentation of the gospel that he had been preaching for more than twenty years, as well as the practical application of the gospel in everyday life with your small group, Sunday school class, or Bible study group.

Author: Brett Eastman Author: Brett Eastman Author: Brett Eastman Author: Brett Eastman Author: Brett Eastman $22.00 (Price) $22.00 (Price) $22.00 (Price) $22.00 (Price) $22.00 (Price) $14.99 (Your Price) $14.99 (Your Price) $14.99 (Your Price) $14.99 (Your Price) $14.99 (Your Price) Explore the famous friendships of David and Jonathan, Ruth and Naomi, Jesus and Peter, and three more while practicing the five elements of a Purpose Driven Life: Connecting, Growing, Developing, Sharing, and Surrendering.

Promises of God, Study Guide

Perfect for small group ministries, Sunday school classes, and Bible study groups, this unique DVDbased small group series includes everything a new or experienced leader needs to successfully start or sustain a healthy small group.

How and what is the proper way to pray? Will God really answer all of our prayers? Deepening Life Together helps answer these questions and many more.

Revelation, Study Guide

Ephesians, Study Guide

Ruth, Study Guide

Author: John Eldredge Publisher: Thomas Nelson $39.99 (Price) $19.99 (Your Price)

Author: John Eldredge Publisher: Thomas Nelson $39.99 (Price) $19.99 (Your Price)

Author: John Eldredge Publisher: Thomas Nelson $39.99 (Price) $19.99 (Your Price)

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If you could use only one word to describe the book of Revelation, what would you choose? Frightening? What about hopeful? It may seem odd, but John’s revelation was supposed to bring hope to Christians living in the dark times of Roman persecution.

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As you study Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, you will unpack principles from God’s Word that reveal God’s divine purpose and plan of bringing redemption to his people and the outworking of that purpose in the life of the believer Read more…

Deepening Life Together video Bible studies guide small groups into a deeper understanding of the Bible, and a deeper relationship with God and others.


Hot Topics

Sit Back & Relax—It’s time for a movie night! Every group needs a change up, a shift in their schedule, or just time when you take a break from small group study. You can’t keep the pedal down all the time, especially this time of year when everyone is still in a holiday mode and you haven’t settled on your new curriculum. A movie night creates an environment where your group can come in after a busy day, grab some pizza, and not have to say a word. The following movies are all built on Christian values and will leave your members inspired, encouraged, and grateful they showed up this week. They also make great gifts, so order one for your family, friends, or small group leaders, today!

How to Host a Movie Night

1. Give them advanced notice and show them several options in case they have already seen some of the options. 2. (the text here is missing)

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The Hole In Our Gospel: Personal Quest Six-Session DVD

Just Walk Across the Room, DVD Curriculum

Author: Richard Stearns Publisher: Thomas Nelson $19.99 (Price) $14.99 (Your Price)

Author: Bill Hybels Publisher: Zondervan $99.99 (Price) $62.99 (Your Price)

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Fireproof, the latest film from the creators of Facing the Giants and Flywheel, is now available on DVD! Starring Kirk Cameron, the Fireproof movie portrays the inspiring love story of a firefighter, his wife, and a marriage worth rescuing. At work, Capt. Caleb Holt (Kirk Cameron) lives by the old firefighter’s adage: “Never leave your partner behind”. At home, he lives by his own rules. His job is to rescue others. Now Caleb Holt has to face his toughest job ever,

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The astonishing true story of a courageous 13-year-old surfer who lost her arm to a shark attack---but never lost her faith! You’ll be inspired by how Bethany Hamilton overcame physical and emotional trauma to return to competitive surfing with the help of her family---and God. Stars AnnaSophia Robb, Helen Hunt, Carrie Underwood, and Dennis Quaid. (PG.) 106 minutes.

At the lush Evenswood estate in Concord, Massachusetts, Edith Adelon (Cari Shayne), a beautiful orphan, lives as the paid companion to the daughter of the wealthy Hamilton family, although they regard her as one of their own. As the Hamiltons await a trio of visitors for the annual Greens Cup horse race, Beatrice Hamilton (Meredith Baxter) asks for Edith’s help in finding a suitable husband for a cousin, Ida Glenshaw (Brigid Walsh Brannagh), with one of two

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Created by a church in Georgia to evangelize non-believers and encourage believers, this inspiring story about a losing high school football coach with a new game plan will have your whole town talking about trusting God for the impossible! After six consecutive losing seasons and fear surrounding his life, coach Grant Taylor turns to God in desperation. Taylor and his Shiloh Christian Eagles soon discover how faith plays out on the field and off! Rated Where there’s love, there’s hope. Adapted from the bestselling autobiography Faith like Potatoes, this inspirational film weaves together the moving journey of a man who, like his potatoes, grows his faith - unseen until the harvest. This powerful DVD includes God’s Farmer, a gripping, 54-minute documentary on the real life of Angus Buchan. Rated PG. Approx 116 minutes.

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A Six-Week quest based on the book The Hole In Our Gospel with DVD sessions, group discussion, Bible study, and personal application in the companion Study Guide, available separately. Speakers on the DVD sessions include author and World Vision U.S. President Rich Stearns, Max Lucado, Lynne Hybels, Rudy Carrasco, Justin Dillon, Ryan Dobson, Renee Stearns, Philip Yancey, Bruce Main, and Bill Hybels. Read more…

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Guide your congregation step-by-step to the next level in personal evangelism with this transforming 4-week experience! Hybels urges us to stay attuned to and cooperate with the promptings of the Holy Spirit by learning to “live in 3-D”---developing friendships, discovering stories, and discerning the appropriate next steps. This kit consists of three integrated components that expand on the principles set forth in Bill Hybels’ book Just Walk Across the Room. Read more…


Finances V

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How to Manage Your Money: An In-Depth Bible Study on Personal Finances Author: Brett Eastman Publisher: WaterBrook Press $22.00 (Price) $14.99 (Your Price) Buy now

With God’s financial plan, the possibilities for contentment are guaranteed and the opportunities to be used by Him are endless. In the How to Manage Your Money Workbook, trusted financial author and teacher Larry Burkett leads you on a step-by-step adventure to eye-opening biblical principles and offers powerful applications you can use immediately.

Digging Out of the Money Pit: 30 Biblical Solutions to Your Financial Headaches Author: Brett Eastman Publisher: WaterBrook Press $22.00 (Price) $14.99 (Your Price)

If you have questions about money, God has answers. Digging Out of the Money Pit offers 30 Biblical guidelines to relieve your financial headaches. Filled with practical suggestions and helpful advice, this guide will help you get started on the road to wisdom and financial security.

Author: Brett Eastman Publisher: WaterBrook Press $22.00 (Price) $14.99 (Your Price) Buy now

The Journey to Financial Freedom is designed to be a helpful tool in the ministry of budget counseling. It contains forms for developing spending plans and assignments based on important scriptural financial principles that will impact future financial decisions.  Please Note: This manual is not intended for personal study without the guidance of a budget counselor. It is intended to be used by volunteer budget counselors who have completed the Money Map Coach Training Course. This is not a stand-alone budgeting workbook.

You are a strategic player in the heavenly realm. Helping a few others grow in Christ could put you squarely in the sights of Satan himself. I Corinthians 15:58 (NASB) says, “Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.” Leading a group is not always going to be easy. Here are the keys to longevity and lasting joy as a leader:

• •

Be sure to refuel your soul as you give of yourself to others. We recommend that you ask a person to meet with you for personal coaching and encouragement. When asked (over coffee or lunch) to support someone in leadership, nine out of ten people say, “I’d love to!” So why not ask? Delegate responsibilities after the first meeting. Doing so will help group members grow, and it will give you a break as well. Most importantly, cultivating your own walk with God puts you on the offensive against Satan and increases the joy zone for everyone in your life. Make a renewed decision right now to make this happen. Don’t give Satan a foothold in your heart; there is simply too much at stake.

More Personal Finance Curriculum here…

Dividing responsibilities not only eases your leadership burden, it helps your group members grow

Journey to Financial Freedom: A Coaching Participant Manual, Book & CD

TIPS: Don’t Lose Heart: A Leader’s Vision

Share The Load

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Becoming Money Smart, Max on Life Studies with CD

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irst Corinthians 12:7 says that God gives every believer spiritual gifts for the common good of the body. But if your small group is like most, it’s led by just one person—you! Not that you’re probably complaining, but that’s a huge burden. Aside from that, it’s also keeping everyone else from growing in their gifts. The load usually falls on one person because many leaders feel like the only way to get things done is to do it themselves. And it doesn’t occur to group members to volunteer because they don’t know that taking on a responsibility is part of being a full member of God’s family. This contributes to group members thinking they don’t have any spiritual gifts because they’ve never had a chance to experiment. So tactically, how do you motivate people to step up to the plate and discover their gifts in the process? 1.

Author: Brett Eastman Publisher: WaterBrook Press $22.00 (Price) $14.99 (Your Price) Buy now

Interact with popular teacher Lucado on one of the most important spiritual issues in your life—and discover that your dollars never made so much sense! Complete with a 70-minute CD, these four ready-to-use lessons are great for individuals or small groups. 64 pages, hardcover with CD from Nelson.

2.

Read through Acts 2 as a group and talk about that community’s demonstration of all five purposes of the church (for more information on the purposes, click here). Just as that community brought the purposes into their homes—not just into the temple—so should all five purposes be going on in your group. And this requires group “load sharing.” Deal with shared ownership in a developmental way. Take into account people’s spiritual age. If they’re seekers—not even sure if they believe in Christ—don’t ask them to do anything. Just welcome them in the group. If they’re new

believers, give them a small role. Don’t overwhelm them. If you’ve got mature believers, you can dump the truck on them. They can certainly handle it. Also take into account your small group stage. If your group is brand new, give people baby-step responsibilities. Perhaps you can have a potluck and let everyone bring something. The balance here is that you don’t want people afraid to show up next week because they feel overwhelmed with responsibility. If your group has been together for a while, you can nudge people a little more to take on something bigger. A good first step would be to pass out a sign-up sheet for helping with the group’s worship time. 3. Don’t expect people to go it alone. Jesus sent the disciples out in pairs. You can ask a couple of people to team up to host a social evening for your group. Or ask two people to share the job of coordinating the prayer list. Teaming up makes it much less scary for people. The best time to ask people to take on a role is right after a great group meeting. Nine out of ten will say yes to a responsibility if you ask them then. Ask them to do it for the next three weeks—not forever. Or ask people to coordinate one project. If you ask members for help and the room goes quiet, don’t just drop it. Follow up with people after the meeting. If you’re nervous to ask for help, remember the Holy Spirit will be right there with you every step of the way.


Doing Bible Study Together

Spiritual Gift Assessment

Building your personal resource library

Sharing Your Life Mission Everyday Gifts

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Preaching (1 Cor. 14:3)  

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Design/Develop

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Spiritual

Evangelism (Acts 8:26-40) Discernment (I John 4:1) Apostle (Romans 15:20) Teaching (Eph. 4:12-13) Encouragement (Acts 14:22)   Wisdom (I Cor. 2:1, 6-16)

Operate/Maintain Excel Repair Follow the Rules

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Missions (I Cor. 9:19-23, Acts 13:2-3)

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Pioneer

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Pioneer

Service (Acts 6:1-7, I Cor. 12:28)   Mercy (Romans 12:8) Hospitality (I Peter 4:9-10)   Pastoring (I Peter 5:2-4) Giving (II Cor. 8:1-7) Intercession (Col. 1:9-12)  

Interests Serve/Help Perform Lead/Be in Charge Prevail

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Music (Psalm 150)

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Organize

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Organize

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Planning

Arts & Crafts (Exodus 31:3-11)   Healing (James 5:14-16) Miracles (Mark 11:23-24) Hosting (Heb. 13:7, 17) Administration (I Cor. 14:40) Faith (Romans 4:18-21)  

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Persevere Influence

Experiences Operate/Maintain Excel Repair Follow the Rules Painful Ministry

Serve/Help Perform Lead/Be in Charge Prevail Educational

 

Entertaining Evaluating Artistic/Graphics Teaching Repairing Mechanical Operating Public Relations Landscaping Musical

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Recruiting Managing Interviewing Writing/Editing Feeding Resourceful Welcoming Arts & Crafts Ministry

Don’t let the low price of this high-tech tool fool you! Bible Explorer 4’s elegant interface and powerful engine make finding the deeper meaning of Scripture as simple as a mouse click or two. Read more.

This one-volume edition of a beloved classic features a trimmer size, and includes everything from the original multivolume commentary! (Only the KJV text has been eliminated to save space.) Read more.

Author: Brett Eastman Publisher: WaterBrook Press

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Why build your own personal library?

VocationaL

Strengths

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Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible

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Researching

• • • •

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TEMPERAMENT

YOUR SHAPE

WHAT DO YOU KNOW?

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Grow Together Know Create

WHAT COULD BE NEXT?

Gifts (Spiritual)

Interests (Passion)

Familiar Experiences

Small Group Gift Assessment

Temperment (Personality)

Small Groups Gifts Guide Strengths (Talents)

How to Study the Bible

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A favorite for decades, Strong’s numbering system is cross-referenced to many other important study tools. Now it’s even easier to use! Read more.

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Creating Team Players

Several church leaders share their do’s and don’ts about sustaining their 40 Days of Purpose Small Groups Much could be said from the trenches of the campaigns... But after listening to some of the most successful small group champions they all boil things down to a few do’s and don’ts!

teaching on the weekend. Best of all it’s this Purpose Driven Group Resource, helps to take the purposes deeper every year. “I can see us doing this review of the purposes for the next few years.”

Their thoughts on the “Do’s” are simple…

2. Do a Survey – Before and after each of your small group series or key seasons of the year like September and January. This allows for a “check in” and then a “check up” on the health and strength of your leaders and their groups. That way you can measure the “levels” of life change that is happening or not. There are several surveys from Lifetogether you can use to benchmark your small group leaders, groups an even the entire ministry’s health. a. LifeTogether Health Assessment - Based on the five purposes of the church. You can send this via e-mail to your entire church or to your small groups – then have them all do this at the end of each series. This is a great New Years survey as well. Read more…

1. Do it again! “40 Days of Purpose is and was one of the most successful campaigns we have ever had in our church,” Scott Mawdesley from Christ Fellowship Church, Florida. Many churches are repeating or reviewing the campaign and many are using the new Doing Lifetogether DVD Teaching Series the second time through. Gary Kendall from Indian Creek Church in Kansas said “We went through 40 Days of Purpose a year ago but our people need to be reminded year after year. The “Beginning Lifetogether” DVD series allows for our people to hear six of the best authors and speakers in the country and it’s a great compliment to what I was

Opening Gifts Isn’t Just For Kids

8 tips to help your small group open up and develop their spiritual gifts By: Brett Eastman I grew up with a single mom, two sisters, a girl cousin, and an aunt. One Christmas morning we were sitting around the tree rifling through presents. We tore a package open and showed it to the entire family. One time I opened my gift, and I pulled out … a skirt! The family exploded in laughter. Late on Christmas Eve, my mom had gotten the gifts all goofed up. I am reminded how each of us receives different gifts, and when we open them up others can look at them and affirm them or say, “You know what? I don’t think that’s yours—it’s probably somebody else’s.” The Bible teaches that spiritual gifts are given for the common good of the body of Christ. And the Body is blessed when those gifts are opened, engaged, and exercised. But if they’re never opened, they’ll never be experienced. It’s like walking by a Christmas tree and leaving all the packages wrapped. As a small group host, one of your chief goals is to help your small group identify and develop their spiritual gifts. Below is an acronym (CHAMPION) to help you lead your small group in this key area: 1. CELEBRATE every member’s spiritual gifts. While everybody is blessed with abilities and skills, an individual understands their unique God-given gift whey they trust Christ with their lives. God uses circles of friends—the body of Christ—to affirm and help develop those particular gifts.

We need to mirror one another. Once I told a friend I thought I had a certain spiritual gift, and I was wondering what he thought. He said, “I really don’t think it’s that gift. It’s this gift, Brett.” Soon following that encounter, another person said, “Brett, you need to be focusing on this particular gift in your life.” If you don’t create an atmosphere for your small group members to get this type of feedback, you may be leaving a package wrapped up with a nice little bow on it. Take the thing, shred the paper, open it up and have everybody kind of go, “What do you think?” Here it is!” Be gentle, but don’t be afraid to help them identify and develop their spiritual gifts. 2. HAVE every member take a baby step toward using their gifts. A small group is the smallest form of the body of Christ. Within each group there are just enough gifts to accomplish exactly what God wants to do in every single small group, and in every single church, and ultimately around the world. His dream is for all of us to get in the game. Try to assign a role or responsibility to everybody in the group. Do this regardless of where they’re at in their spiritual journey; just get them moving in an area where they think their gifts are. Also, take time to encourage them. Say, “Hey, you’re so good at this!” or “Thank you for that.” or “Have you ever thought of this?” These are opportunities to get them in the game.

3. AFFIRM every individual’s gift and every step they take in ministry. No matter what steps they take, you and your group need to be hootin’ and hollerin’. Ask the group, “Hey guys, wasn’t that fantastic?” It doesn’t matter what they did, just praise them.

and then say, “Who should fill these individual roles?” They’ll fire out some names. Then ask, “Who would you like to join you in accomplishing this particular deal?” And they’ll give names of individuals who they enjoy hanging with.

Also encourage members to test-drive ministries: children’s ministry, youth ministry, music ministry, or the mission team. Introduce them to areas where they could be involved and urge them try and participate in one. Another good way for a member to find a fit is to do a spiritual gift assessment. From those results, they’ll be able to see where God uniquely made them to fit in.

One turn deserves another, so rotate the responsibilities every month--or every series--so each time everyone’s doing something different but at the same time together. This won’t happen overnight, but dream to have this happen over time.

4. MOTIVATE every member to develop their God-given shape for life. One way to do this is to say, “What things would you guys like to do? What are some ideas?” Fill a whiteboard,

5. PUT them into teams in order to mobilize everyone. Jesus didn’t send out his disciples alone; He sent them out in pairs. Use the power of pairs to accomplish any task. If you have people at different spiritual levels, one is kind of a newbie and one is a longtime believer, pair them together. This makes the new believer feel safe and empowers them to accomplish something they would never do on their own. It also provides accountability. 6. INSPIRE your members with your own examples and stories. I’ve told my scariest small group stories, ones in which I was reluctant to lead but was pushed to lead anyway. This is your chance to testify that God uses all people with various gifts— regardless of whether they feel prepared or not. 7. OFFER open discussion about serving together. Ask your group, “What can we do together?” Don’t just tell them what you’re going to do as a group; instead, involve them in determining want to do and where you think God is calling them to go. You may consider watching and discussing the movie Pay It Forward to demonstrate how doing small things catalyzes others to get in the game also. 8. NEVER give up. The body of Christ needs you. If you’re a little wobbly at times, remember what Hebrews 13:7 says: He will never leave you. He will never forsake you. He will never leave you out there in a place where he doesn’t want you to grow and go to the next level in your own gifts. Be steadfast; be immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil in the Lord is not in vain. It is for a great measure and a great cause (I Corinthians 15:58).


This model is very simple, effective, and transferable to any church. It can work for small groups or the entire church, and is easy to establish. Encourage your members to host a back-to-school picnic, end of the summer party, or a weekend barbeque—not for the purpose of selling homes, but to see their homes used for Christ. For example, I did this last summer by renting a bounce house on our block. It cost me $75.00 for the day, and almost every family joined in the fun. I asked every adult who came if they would be open to participating in a 6-week Bible study on the topic of marriage, family, or relationships. It was a success. This fall, instead of trying to get the community to come to your church, why not consider bringing your church to the community? 2. Significant life transformation can happen in small groups. Most pastors and church leaders assume small groups are a great way to create a sense of community among the members of their congregation. It’s true. Small groups are a great tool for helping people transition from doing life alone to doing life together.

Why

SMALL are GROUPS such a

BIG DEAL Seven things every pastor needs to know about the emergence of small group ministry.

T

here is no simple solution to growing a healthy, balanced body of believers. However, a thriving small group ministry may be one of the best ways to fulfill the biblical purposes of the church—and solve many of the issues of evangelism and stewardship that can confound pastors. Here are seven reasons why every pastor should consider investing resources into building a healthy small group ministry: 1. Small group community is a primary felt need in America, let alone in our churches. In South Orange County, there is a community known as one of the top 10 fastest growing developments in the country. For every new home construction, there are 10,000 applications from interested buyers.

Rick Warren, developer of the 40 Days of Purpose program, says small groups provide a place for people to fulfill all five purposes of the church: 1) grow warmer through fellowship, 2) deeper through discipleship, 3) stronger through worship, 4) broader through ministry, 5) and larger through evangelism. Other Christian leaders endorse small groups, as well. Bill Hybels says “life change happens best in small groups.” Rob Lacey says it’s a great place for people to “talk back” about the Bible and discuss the implications of its message, leading to greater application of truth in the lives of those who attend. Bob Buford, founder of the Leadership Network, said to me recently, “There is a definite shift in the church from just a procrastination model seen in churches all across America, to a greater demonstration model of Christianity that leads to greater transformation of our hearts.” With the introduction of new DVD and video teaching delivered directly into living rooms and classrooms in our churches, we can get the best of both worlds—proclamation and devotion. The churches

Part of the appeal of this community is that it is built from the ground up for community. Its ads sell a return to “Mayberry” days, when everyone had a front porch, a true neighborhood community, and a sense of family among friends. Their slogan is simply this: Belong. I met the Community Director for one of these kinds of neighborhoods and was fascinated to learn that her job is to create and cultivate a sense of community—where people feel loved, supported, needed, and have a true sense of belonging. She hires, trains, and manages cul-de-sac leaders, helping them launch social events, such as progressive dinners, costume parties, and charades nights. Her job includes a weekly trip to new and existing cul-de-sacs with a truck filled with fresh Starbucks and Krispy Kreme Donuts.

we have had the privilege of coaching have had a positive response about our teaching and training materials from members who say they are glad not only to have more teaching, but more talking about teaching, as well. Talking about teaching leads to greater integration of truth in the lives of people—resulting in the transformation of the minds, hearts, and hands of believers for Christ! 3. Small groups can exponentially grow your church. Deep down, most pastors would love to grow their church. Rick Warren says, “Balancing the purpose in your church leads to growth and balance to health and that health ultimately leads to growth.” But how? As your church grows larger in attendance, you need to counteract that by simultaneously growing it “smaller” through small groups ministry. I’ve had the privilege of serving at two megachurches with thousands in attendance, but I grew up in a small church of less than 100 members. I now know that if my pastor would have followed some of the simple steps we learned in the “40 Days of Purpose” campaign, he could have easily doubled or tripled the active attendance in our church. 70 percent of the churches we coach and consult have healthy, active Sunday school programs, but with the addition of small group ministries they can multiply growth exponentially. In the early 1950s, Sunday school was designed as a tool for evangelism and assimilation, but over the years, its primary purpose has been education. Today, few churches have an extra Sunday school classroom available, and the average Sunday school class size is 12 people. It’s difficult to grow your church through Sunday school because brick and mortar limit growth, unless you keep building more educational space—which most churches can’t afford. Don’t miss the opportunity for growth through small groups community. The beauty of off-campus groups is the potential for unlimited growth. An onsite Sunday school program is limited unless complemented with off-campus small groups. As Rick Warren says, “Don’t let the shoe tell the foot how big it can grow.” Ironically, during the first 300 years of the church, people didn’t meet in temple courts; they met in homes. Since then, we’ve done


just the opposite—moved from homes to church buildings. The truth is, we need more house-to-house ministry to grow our churches. 4. Small groups are not a program, but a primary model for doing church. I’ve talked with many senior pastors who say small group ministry is one of many programs in the church. But small group ministry is the primary model found in the New Testament. The book of Acts teaches that the early church met as a church gathered and a church scattered. Somehow, we have forgotten the “scattered” church, and small group ministry can help us model the early church.

evangelism in the future. Building relationships is the most non-threatening, natural way to connect authentically with an unchurched person. And your home is the best place on earth to hear the most important message in eternity. 50 percent of people invited by a friend will say yes to a short six-week Bible study in your home. 50 percent! If you simply challenge your people to follow God’s call to do life together, it will have a positive impact on your church. Ask church members to write down names of 6-10 people with whom they would enjoy doing life together and challenge them to call those people on that list this week. Then, create a video table they can check out after each Sunday service. Provide DVD/Video curriculum with a few study guides for the week so they can have the tools they need to be able to host Bible studies in their homes with their friends. Challenge them with the value of community. Here is the best part! We’ve found that in at least 40 percent of the churches we work with, when people jot down the names of friends to invite to their group, most don’t worry if those friends are Christian or not. They just ask, “Is this someone I’d like to do life together with or hang out with for six weeks?” So they end up inviting people who do not know Christ, are new in their relationship with Christ, are not growing in their relationship with Christ, have never been in a small group, or haven’t made spiritual life decisions in a long time. 6. Small groups are the crock-pot for training unlimited leaders. Bill Hybels said at the Leadership Summit last August, that small groups were one of the top performance drivers in the church of tomorrow. Rick Warren said they are a “Leadership Engine or Factory of the Future.” Either way, don’t underestimate the power of community to train and develop the leaders of the future. I call it the crock-pot method, because mobilizing small-group leaders is getting easy. The real challenge is developing leaders who don’t just launch a group for six weeks, but leaders who continue on for a lifetime. Here are a few ideas that can work right away for you. First, challenge all groups to de-emphasize apprenticeship and focus on rotating and sharing leadership. The best way to learn how to lead is to experience it. This will grow every member into a leader … not overnight but over time. When you rotate leadership in the groups, ultimately people are being better prepared than if they were to participate in a 10-week small group leadership training course. Each person gets a turn to lead and passes the curriculum on to the next person to facilitate the next time.

We must work together on what it takes to help our people do life together just like Jesus. And the best part about this is that Jesus didn’t just tell us to do it—he modeled it through his own life and ministry. How about your church? Are your members doing life in community with a few like Jesus did? Maybe it’s time. Doing life together is a biblical model, not a fancy program. 5. Small groups ministry will become the primary means to lifestyle

Second, use campaigns two or three times a year to align the weekend with the small group study to create an excuse to ask all existing groups to take a six-week vacation to host a short-term group in their community for their church community. 30 percent of the Saddleback groups did this during our first 40 Day Campaign. But you could do this every fall, even if you have done it before in the past. The Beginning Lifetogether DVD is an excellent resource for our first small group campaign. You could launch 20-40 percent of your church into groups. It comes with live weekly teaching (from Bruce Wilkenson, John Ortberg, Henry Cloud, Joe Stowell, etc.), live leader training, live testimonial, and live small group worship. It’s the first plug-and-play curriculum on the market with a built-in small group leader “GPS” system for your leaders. Do it again every fall, even if you have done 40 Days before. Each week, a new teacher shares about one of the five purposes, helping bring back the vision and momentum gained from the previous campaign. It will amaze you

as it did us at Saddleback! Third, give them plug-and-play DVD/video curriculum. Not everyone is called to be a teacher or a leader, but some are called to be shepherds of a few. 7. Small groups will help to increase weekly giving and the response to any capital campaign. Glen Kruen, the executive pastor at Saddleback, said that giving increased well over 25 percent during the “40 Days of Purpose” campaign. This was true across the country. Not only will a church’s weekly giving rise, but when they have a capital campaign, they will see a significant return on their investment. I have seen this work with every church we have coached. Many of these churches postponed their campaigns until after they connected another 25-75 percent of their church into groups. This is critical not only because it will improve the overall financial health of the church, but the spiritual health, as well—and it is the spiritual benefits that are vital to factor in when considering church finances. Willow Creek’s executive pastor Greg Hawkins, who ran its capital campaign, said that over 60 percent of the people who gave to the capital campaign to raise over $75 million for their new facility came from people in small groups. Overall, the water level in any church’s giving goes up. When people are cared for and feel loved, there’s a tendency for them to give more. One pastor likened it to when Peter was fishing all day on one side of the boat and then Jesus instructed him to toss his nets on the other side. Well, how about you? If you consider all these ideas that have worked in other churches, I promise that you won’t come home empty. Instead, the people in your community will be more likely to come home where they belong!


2. Align the launch with your weekend service. We recommend getting your pastor on board. Perhaps he could preach a six-week series on a topic, perhaps from the parables of Jesus. Use these six weeks to meet in homes as an entire church family during the series. Prepare a handout of discussion questions from the sermon as means for people to connect and grow in the six-week campaign.

Small Group University Small Group University provides a proven pathway to train new and existing small group leaders in any size church at any stage of their small group ministry.

3. Recruit Hosts, not leaders. The bottleneck, in building health into your small group ministry is always new leaders. Fresh troops are hard to recruit, but our strategy is not to recruit leaders; it’s to recruit people who are simply willing to open their homes for a specific length of time. Instead, a couple weeks before the six-week preaching series is to begin, have your pastor make this invitation: “In a couple weeks, we are going to ‘do church together’ in a way we’ve never done before. For six weeks, I’m going to preach through a series titled ‘Growing Deeper in Our Life Together.’ We would like our entire church to meet in homes each week during this time—for only six weeks. Would you open your home to a group of 8 to 10 people for six weeks? If so, then sign up at our Host Home table in Fellowship Hall after the service.” You’ll be amazed how a simple change of language will open the floodgates of recruits.

Building Lifetogether

Coaching Lifetogether

Author: Brett Eastman Publisher: Xxxxxxxxx $XX.XX (Price) $XX.XX (Your Price)

Author: Brett Eastman Publisher: Xxxxxxxxx $XX.XX (Price) $XX.XX (Your Price)

Buy now

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This 6-session DVD and companion study guide will provide the initial or in service small group leader/host training based on the 5 purposes. This series is perfect for new hosts training either in a classroom, coaching huddle or self paced online study. The package includes six video teaching sessions on DVD based on the five purposes, personal testimonies, and inspirational stories for your leaders to study on a daily basis.

The Building Lifetogether Training Series is designed for a senior pastor, church leader, or volunteer small group champion helping to launch and lead a healthy small group ministry in your church. This 6-lesson series provides practical how-to’s for starting and sustaining your small groups. Whether you are trying to sustain the new groups you have recently begun or trying to multiply your existing small groups, Building Lifetogether will become your personal coach on how to get there. The 6 lessons come on both DVD and CD with 170-page training handbook.

The Coaching Lifetogether Training Series is the first DVD training series of its kind designed for experienced leaders and emerging small group coaches and community leaders in your church. This series will help recruit, train, and develop your leaders of leaders! This series shares proven strategies and transforming principles straight from the front lines of ministry. You can develop a group of well-trained coaches who cultivate healthy groups that produce purpose driven lives over time. You will learn timely methods to apply timeless truths of coaching your new and existing small group leaders and their small groups. The 6 lesson series comes complete on DVD and CD and includes a 150 page comprehensive training handbooks.

Hosting Lifetogether Author: Brett Eastman Publisher: Xxxxxxxxx $XX.XX (Price) $XX.XX (Your Price)

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Author: Brett Eastman Publisher: Xxxxxxxxx $XX.XX (Price) $XX.XX (Your Price) Buy now

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Small Groups Built To Last How to prevent stale groups O

ften small groups become a place in the church, where “every person (or small group) does what is right in his own eyes.” Too often small groups operate independently like nation states, where the individual groups choose curriculum, choose frequency of meeting, and refuse any governing or leadership structure but their own. Everything tends to move toward chaos. If that’s where your small group ministry is, then this is the time to build some health into the system. Here are a couple ideas to move your groups toward small group wellness: 1. Launch a fresh small group campaign. There’s nothing like fresh wave of small groups to energize your ministry.

Are these Hosts leaders? Not yet. You’re recruiting them to open their homes, and your team will need to coach them weekly through the six weeks as they serve coffee and get the discussion started. For resources on coaching leaders, you may want to consider our “Coaching Lifetogether” video series. The idea is recruit people on what they know they can do—open their homes and put on a pot of coffee. 4. Publicly invite your church to the host homes. Before the the six week campaign, once you recruited enough Hosts, have your pastor publicly invite your church to attend a Host Home. Then, develop a plan to have your hosts invite their 8 to 10 people with a handwritten note or letter, also calling them before the first host home meeting. 5. Roll the Host Home groups into ongoing small groups. This requires a strategy to identify leaders that emerge in the Host Homes during the six weeks. Look for additional articles to help you do this. Also make sure you have a clear curriculum plan moving forward and a way to coach your new leaders as they learn to lead. It’s often impossible to try to move existing, closed groups towards health. It’s almost always best to create health by launch new groups and training your new leaders in your new ministry strategy.


Steve Gladen Resources

Saddleback Church Authors

Pastor of Small Groups at Saddleback Church

Small Groups with Purpose This 6 DVD set and workbook will teach you the essentials of implementing a Small Group Ministry at your church.

Rick Warren

Kay Warren

John Baker

Steve Gladen

Pastor Rick Warren appeared on many lists of top evangelical Christian leaders in the early 21st century, aided by the popularity of his books, The Purpose Driven Church (1995) and the best-selling The Purpose Driven Life (2002). A Southern Baptist preacher’s kid fresh out of a Texas seminary, Warren believed God was calling him to move to booming Orange County, Calif., south of Los Angeles, to start a church. He and his wife held the church’s first meeting in their living room in 1979, with one other family. Read more…

Kay Warren is the founder of the HIV/AIDS Initiative at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. She is an author, international speaker, and advocate for orphans and for people infected and affected by HIV and AIDS. Married to Rick Warren, together they founded Saddleback Church in 1980. Kay authored Dangerous Surrender: What Happens When You Say Yes to God and co-authored Foundations, a systematic theology course used in churches around the world. Read more…

John Baker is the founder of Celebrate Recovery®, a ministry born out of the heart of Saddleback Church. Over the last sixteen years, nearly 10,000 individuals have gone through this Christcentered recovery program at Saddleback. The Celebrate Recovery program is now being used in 12,000 churches nationwide. Over 500,000 individuals have completed the program. Read more…

Steve joined the staff of Saddleback Church (www.saddleback.com) in February of 1998 as Pastor of Small Groups, where he oversees the strategic launch and development of the small group community. Steve also founded the Small Group Network, a network for leaders of small group ministry in 2006 (www.smallgroupnetwork.com). Read more…

Senior Pastor at Saddleback Church

Kenny Luck

Men’s Pastor at Saddleback Church Kenny Luck is the Founder and President of Every Man Ministries. His enthusiasm for God and life is contagious, as is the zeal that sustained him through a wide range of achievements. He has served as a former missionary with Campus Crusade for Christ, the Communications Director for the Josh McDowell Ministry and the CEO of New Life Clinics West. Read more…

Author, Speaker & Director of HIV/AIDS Ministry Initiative at Saddleback Church

Eric Rees

Pastor of Life Purpose at Saddleback Church Erik Rees is pastor of the Ministry and S.H.A.P.E. Discovery teams at Saddleback Church. He also dedicates time to equipping pastors from all around the world on how to do the same within their church. Erik is the author of S.H.A.P.E. and Congratulations... You’re Gifted, and his greatest joy in life is spending time with his wife and three children. Read more…

Celebrate Recovery Pastor at Saddleback Church

Small Group Pastor at Saddleback Church

Tom Holladay

Brett Eastman

Tom Holladay is a teaching pastor at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. In addition to his pastoral leadership and weekend teaching ministries, he assists Rick Warren in teaching Purpose Driven Church conferences all over the world. With Kay Warren, he is the coauthor of Foundations: 11 Core Truths to Build Your Life On. His most recent book is The Relationship Principles of Jesus. Tom and his wife, Chaundel, have three children. Read more…

Brett Eastman founded Lifetogether in 1989 after serving as the Small Group Champion at Saddleback Community Church with Rick Warren and before that at Willow Creek Community Church with Bill Hybels for over a decade. Today he serves as a producer and consultant in the area of small group ministry, curriculum production, church innovations and strategic partnerships. Read more…

Teaching Pastor at Saddleback Church

Small Group Ministries at Saddleback Church

Leading Small Groups with Purpose

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This 6 DVD set and workbook will teach you the essentials of implementing a Small Group Ministry at your church.

Designing a Healthy Small Group Ministry DVD

Building Healthy Small Groups CD Set

This 6 DVD set and workbook will teach you the essentials of implementing a Small Group Ministry at your church.

Building Healthy Small Groups is for pastors and small group point people.

Small Group Leader Training Kit

DVD Small Group Leader Training

The Small Group Leader Training kit will help you train your small group leaders to balance the biblical purposes from the Great Commission and the Great Commandment.

In this 3 DVD and PDF workbook set Pastor Steve Gladen trains your Small Group leaders how to foster spiritually healthy small groups by balancing the Great Commission and Great Commandment in their groups.

Spiritual Health Assessment & Planner

Don’t Lead Alone CD Set

The Spiritual Health Assessment and Health Planner is the one tool that helps measure the level of spiritual health in the human heart and gives individuals an action plan to help

250 Big Ideas Book 250 Big Ideas offers small group leaders 250 innovative and proveneffective ideas to help cultivate the five purposes.

This will give your small groups the empowerment they need to get everyone in their small group involved. This is the easiest way for groups to get every one of their members to


on iron has to happen many times in order for both to be sharpened. Growth by campaigns, not disrupting community Small group ministries live in a constant tension between fellowship and evangelism. Do the people in our small groups continue to grow closer together or do we ask them to leave those groups so that we can grow the number of groups? What do we do about the people who have just recently joined a group? How long should a group stay together? These are all questions that get considered in every small group ministry, often proving that there is no light without fire. It is, after all, a delicate balance.

The Saddleback

Small Group Difference

I

'm often asked what Saddleback Church does differently in our small group strategy. My answer is, "not one thing." Because, in fact, we probably do several things that many other churches also do. But what has been so interesting is to watch how God uses the combination of many different things to reach people and connect them into lifechanging small groups. This combination of eight key principles is what we characterize as the Saddleback difference. Purpose driven groups, not special interest groups Our small group strategy intentionally deepens the five biblical purposes of fellowship, discipleship, ministry, evangelism, and worship into every group. We are far more concerned about healthy groups than the number of groups. Groupings of people that meet around "special interests" are strategic, but are not groups that are trying to balance the five purposes for healthy individuals and groups.

So, while our greeter's small groups (in the Greeter's Ministry) are very important and strategic, those groups don't generally focus on "health" of the person and group, but on "greeting" people to our campus. You need specialty groups that accomplish individual purposes, but you need small groups to bring "health" to your church. Good enough, not perfection Our small group ministry strives to be effective, not excellent. We've made our biggest strides by pulling the trigger on ideas at the right moment, not by overthinking every possible scenario that could go wrong. I love the passage of Scripture found in Ecclesiastes 11:4: "If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done." (NLT) We don't make excellence an idol, and we are not idle because we're waiting for perfection! God wants us to be good stewards of our resources, not good stoppers of every idea.

We have grown to more than 2,500 adult small groups at Saddleback Church because we use a campaign to launch new groups every year. Since 2002, campaigns have increased small group participation at our church from 30 percent to 110 percent. We now have more people in small groups than attend our weekend services (on average). And rather than taking energy from our small groups by forced division or multiplication, the campaign approach actually adds energy to groups. There’s an excitement to being involved in a churchwide effort.

Relational, not multiplying Small groups need a simple mission. Too often small group "theory" dictates that groups should be constantly multiplying. These strategies often place too much pressure on an average leader to be a "church strategist" instead of a relationship builder. We help small group leaders relax and use their natural desire to serve in ways that help their group grow closer. When John and Mary walk in the front door of a small group, they're hoping that someone will be there who will greet them warmly, love them for who they are, pray for their challenges, encourage their growth in Christ, and praise their answered prayers. The last thing they want is those friends they are starting to trust, those people who they now feel ready to open up with, suddenly say, "OK, it was fun knowing you. Let's all pray about the new small groups we are going to start!" Life on life takes time. One piece of iron doesn't sharpen another piece of iron with one brush against it. Iron

Leadership potential, not proven leaders Our H.O.S.T. strategy is designed to first get people into serving and then build them into leaders. If you wait for perfect people to lead your small groups, you’ll be waiting until Christ’s return. But you don’t need “allstar, supertrained” small group leaders to create a successful small group ministry! All you need is people who are willing and obedient. Remember, God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called. So, you can relax and heave a great sigh of relief. This small group strategy will help you no matter your church size. Using biblically solid studies, even a member with a very young faith can host a small group in his or her home. We get people involved early in leading groups – and then help them get to where they need to be. Seems that’s the model that Jesus showed us when he picked 12 ordinary men. His first requirement was “follow me.” But no ministry can grow much unless there is an infrastructure to support it. We look at the people who are serving as hosts and identify the ones who are natural shepherds. Then we begin to raise these people up through a “Small Group Leadership Pathway” that helps them understand the ministry, recognize God’s call in their lives, and then trains them in head and heart fundamentals so they can be effective in the ministry right from the beginning. We take hosts and turn them into leaders! When people have reasonable knowledge of what to do, they enjoy the ministry more because they see God

working through them quickly. This is literally part of a streettostaff pathway that greets people at the front door and guides them into greater service for the Kingdom within the small group ministry. Ratios, not size So often we get prescriptive about how big we want our small groups to get. Some churches assign people to groups so they can precisely limit size, others start the guilt train when a group hits a certain size, and there’s probably at least one church in the world that preaches group size from the Old Testament. But let’s face it, some people are just natural builders. You know the type. They start out with just a few people at their group and they just keep inviting others until pretty soon they have 20 or 30 people jammed into their house every Wednesday night, all trying to figure out who gets to sit down this week. At Saddleback, we don’t penalize the people with the “gifts” of being able to gather people; instead, we encourage groups to become any size they wish to. Then we equip them for health in spite of their size. Through subgrouping we help maintain ratios of attendees to leaders to optimum levels, so that participation and group health are not jeopardized. In other words, we say you can grow your group as big as you like and we’ll show you how to foster an environment for lifechanging community. In fact, subgroups are one part of a strategy we call “large group/small group.” Simple systems, not complex structures You don’t need to spend a lot of money on staff as you grow. Saddleback uses a leadership development process that can quickly build a network of 10hourperweek community leaders to develop, guide, and encourage group hosts to become leaders. We now provide better care for our groups through a flattened structure. The beauty of this approach is it mobilizes those who have leadership potential within your small groups to serve in the ministry. Then it equips them with consistent, uniform training for service (our Saddleback Leader-

ship Development Pathway). The result of this process is that it helps bring health to your small group network without adding to the stress of your staffing budget. Sure, organizational development books might say you need to have capillary networks, hierarchical trees, and org chart jungles with their accompanying costs in order to build a big organization. But in the end, you only want to help people get into groups that are healthy so they can experience life transformation. That doesn’t take complexity; it takes simplicity. Strategic care, not equal care Some small group people believe that every group deserves equal care. But the reality is that not all groups are created equal. In any small group community there are early, mid, and late adopters. Some groups have very mature leadership. Some groups are brand new. Some are full of baby Christians. Others have been liberally sprinkled with challenging types of people. Of course we love them all, but we shouldn’t put the same effort and attention into them all, because some simply will need more and some will need less. At Saddleback, we find that “equal care” can actually hurt leadership development and health rather than help. So, we prioritize our groups based on four categories. This simplifies care management and allows our leadership infrastructure to be more effective at providing care. The “Saddleback Small Group Difference” I shared in these three articles describes how small groups operate differently at our church. As I said in the first article, there really isn’t one thing we do differently. It’s all of them in combination. We don’t pretend we have the perfect answers. These are just the ones that are working at Saddleback. Since 2002, God has grown small group participation in our church in a dramatic and exponential fashion. It is my prayer that your small group ministry experiences the same Kingdom impact, all for the glory of God.


10 Bestselling Churchwide Campaigns V

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The Love Dare Bible Study—Leader Kit Author: Michael Catt Publisher: Lifeway The Love Dare Bible Study Leader Kit helps a leader facilitate a marriage-centered Bible study experience for individuals and couples.

Courageous DVD Church Campaign Kit One Month to Live— Book and Study Guide Author: Kerry Shook Publisher: Random House, Inc Learn to make every minute count with the Shooks’ 30-day challenge.

Outlive Your Life Church Bible Study Kit Author: Max Lucado Publisher: Lifeway The Outlive Your Life Bible Study will challenge you to get off your knees, roll up your sleeves and start serving God in practical ways.

The Prodigal God, Curriculum Kit Author: Timothy Keller Publisher: Zondervan Using his characteristic intellectual approach to faith issues, Timothy Keller uncovers an unexpected message in the familiar---and often misunderstood---New Testament parable of the prodigal son.

Author: Michael Catt Publisher: B & H Publishing Group Courageous is the title of a 2011 movie about four law officers who discover leading a family takes even more bravery than fighting crime!

Old Testament Challenge Vol 1 Kit Author: John Ortberg Publisher: Zondervan Create a fresh enthusiasm for God’s Word in your congregation this year!

Where Do We Go From Here? Much could be said from the trenches of the campaigns... But after listening to some of the most successful small group champions they all boil things down to a few do’s and don’ts! Their thoughts on the “Do’s” are simple… 1. Do it again! “40 Days of Purpose is and was one of the most successful campaigns we have ever had in our church,” Scott Mawdesley from Christ Fellowship Church, Florida. Many churches are repeating or reviewing the campaign and many are using the new Doing Lifetogether DVD Teaching Series the second time through. Gary Kendall from Indian Creek Church in Kansas said “We went through 40 Days of Purpose a year ago but our people need to be reminded year after year. The “Beginning Lifetogether” DVD series allows for our people to hear six of the best authors and speakers in the country and it’s a great compliment to what I was teaching on the weekend. Read more

The Purpose Driven Life Curriculum Kit Author: Rick Warren Publisher: Zondervan Life Small Group Curriculum is a six-week, video-based small group study of The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren.

The Story: Church Campaign Kit Author: Michael Catt Publisher: Lifeway There’s a new story unfolding. People in churches and in homes everywhere are experiencing God’s word in a whole new way.

Fearless Small Group DVD Kit and Extra Discussion Guide Author: N/A Publisher: Thomas Nelson Can you imagine your life without fear?Max Lucado presents six DVD sessions that offer hope and calm in a time of unprecedented fear in our nation and the world.

3:16 The Church Experience Leader Kit Author: Max Lucado Publisher: Lifeway Based on Max Lucado’s bestseller 3:16 The Numbers of Hope,

From Soloist to Choir How one church transformed its Sunday school ministry through small groups By: Brett Eastman

S

unday school is one of the best places to begin building community in your church, but often Sunday school consists of star teachers—and few people end up in leadership as a result. This is the story of how one church moved from a soloist (the rock-star Sunday school teacher) mentality to a choir (a host of people providing leadership) philosophy of Sunday school ministry.

their chairs around each fencepost, who then led the group in follow-up discussions. They also recruited more fenceposts each week than were needed, because, again, they knew that few would make all 12 Sundays. They wanted to spread out the work. What happened was amazing—instead of Sunday school starting off with 140 people and ending up

At Glen Ellyn Covenant Church in Glen Ellyn, IL, the vision and planning team decided that one of the first steps in implementing a new church vision was through the adult Sunday school program. For 12 weeks this fall, the entire adult Sunday school met in the church gym to watch the Doing Life Together DVD Teaching Series. Following the 20-minute DVD teaching clip, circled their chairs, people divided up into groups of 8 to 10, and then discussed the questions from the Doing Life Together study guides. The vision and planning team recruited three sets of moderators (three couples), who opened the Sunday school time with prayer and announcements and Scripture reading. They recruited three sets because they knew that out of 12 weeks, one set of moderators would, likely, burn out; it’s difficult for anyone to provide leadership for 12 straight weeks. After the introduction, which included reading the Scripture passage provided by the curriculum and DVD, the moderators transitioned into the DVD teaching clip. Each lesson was visually interesting and the speakers were outstanding. After the DVD teaching time, the moderators asked all the “fenceposts” to stand up. Twenty-five fenceposts— or discussion guides—had been recruited to lead the discussions following the teaching. So, people circled

with 70 or 80 at the end of the fall, attendance stayed high the entire time. Instead of one Sunday school class being led by one or two teachers, more than 30 people were involved in some kind of leadership—as a fencepost, as a moderator, or as a hospitality (food) coordinator. The 15-minute time at the beginning of Sunday school for coffee and snacks (fruit, coffee cake, etc.) proved just as valuable as the content portion! The fall program gave the church a new vision for how Sunday school can support the larger issue of spiritual formation and life change. Their purpose was to “do life together” as a congregation this fall, and the Sunday school portion was fully integrated in accomplishing what they set out to do.


Small Group Show Hosted by Brett Eastman and Steve Gladen

The Small Group Show is a free resource distributed to small group ministry leaders, pastors and champions across the country. We are interviewing some of the best, the most influential, and interesting men and women in the small group movement today in a talk show format to help encourage and inform local small group workers. The show is built on 6 T’s:

Testimony

A guest shares a piece of his or her testimony as it relates to small groups, from joining a group, to becoming a leader, pastor or director in order to others on the same journey.

About The Author Brett Eastman served as the Small Group Champion at Saddleback Church and Willow Creek Community Church for over a decade. Brett has produced and either authored or co-authored over 200 small group curriculum series including the bestselling Purpose Driven Small Group curriculum, Doing Lifetogether published by Zondervan, which has sold over 3,000,000 copies. He also was the primary designer behind the 40 Days of Purpose Campaigns that fueled over 25,000 churches around the world. He also wrote and produced the first Purpose Driven small group series for Rick Warren that influenced the development of over 50 small group series to date. Brett received a B.A. in Marketing from San Diego State University. He then worked in technology and training in the Silicon Valley, partnering with companies like Apple, Xerox and Novell. He later earned his Masters of Divinity degree from the graduate school of Biola University, Talbot School of Theology and received a Management Certificate from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois.

Training

In 1989 Brett founded Lifetogether, a ministry committed to championing the small group movement around the world. Brett has produced award-winning resources for the top 100 Churches and Christian Ministries Today. Some of the publishing partners include Zondervan, Tyndale, Baker Books, Thomas Nelson, Focus on the Family, Christianity Today, Serendipity, Purpose Driven Ministries, David C. Cook, just to name a few.

Together

Dee Eastman is the real hero in the family, who, after giving birth to Joshua and Breanna, gave birth to identical triplet girls— Meagan, Melody, and Michelle. Dee is the Director of the Daniel Plan at Saddleback Church and co-leader “The Journey” a women’s Bible Study at Saddleback Church. The Eastman’s live in Las Flores, California.

This segment features training on a myriad of different topics related to small groups. It will give you new ideas, wisdom and tools to more effectively start and sustain a small group ministry

This segment highlights small group conferences and other larger training opportunities around the country

Tip of the Week

Our guests share advice on what could be a simple key to improving a small group, or small group ministry.

Tool

Our guests discuss books they have written, blogs they are reading, podcasts they listen to and other resources that will help you and your small group ministry.

Trend

We discuss what is new and next with our guests. How they see small group ministry evolving and tell you how to stay on the cutting edge. Sign up to receive the Small Group Show at Lifetogether.com

Check out the first Show


Doing Life Together Magazine