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Small Groups
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This week a church member considered moving her membership because her Sabbath School class didn't have enough interaction among class members. "Because I have a stressful job and my family lives in other parts of the country, I look forward to relating to other believers at church," she stated. "But most classes are very impersonal with the entire focus on the lesson. I would really like to find a class that includes both in-depth Bible study and social activities." According to data from the "Faith Communities Today" (FACT) study, in more than 75% of local Adventist churches, only a few members participate in small groups.

Only about one in fifteen churches have strong small group ministries with many or most adults participating. Yet many of our congregations’ members report a longing for authentic community and sincere interaction. Ideally this can happen in a small group with a purpose and effective leadership.

Some congregations have long-standing small groups that are topic focused. Still others have free-market cell groups that meet for a short period of time around specific activities or the ability of the leader/facilitator to sustain the interest from the participants. Adventism has yet to enjoy a prevailing small group among North Americans; the reasons of which have yet to be explored through research.

Discussion Questions:

1. Does our congregation currently have small groups for adults or youth? How many?

2. How many of our members are participating in these types of small groups? 

3. What can be done to strengthen the existing small groups in our church?  

  • Study and Support Groups 
     
  • Free-market Groups 
     
  • Sabbath School Classes 
     
  • Task Groups 
     
  • Other   

4.  If we do not have any groups, how can we start some?

The Nine Facets of the Effective Small-Group Leader kit helps your church leadership on how to reach maximum potential in this important ministry. In this one-of-a-kind training series you will find cutting-edge, relevant material that will equip and train these strategic individuals. Each tape gives group leaders practical ideas and fresh motivation. The workbook includes a progress form and a Certificate of Training. The videos, shot at an actual training seminar, lay an essential foundation for a relationship-based ministry designed to strengthen and enlarge the kingdom of God.

Nine Facets video library:

1. Connect: Relating to Church Leadership
2. Recruit: Training Someone to Replace You
3. Invite: Cultivating Your Network of Relationships
4. Prepare: Determining the Agenda and Content
5. Meet: Keeping the Group on Target
6. Worship: Staying Connected Through Worship Services
7. Serve: Meeting Needs in and Beyond the Group
8. Win: Reaching People with the Gospel
9. Secrets: Communicating with God

The nine videos are on VHS. One workbook, on CD-ROM, comes with each kit and helps guide through the video sessions and is useful for taking notes. Printouts of the CD material may be made for each participant.

Paul Richardson
Executive Director
Center for Creative Ministry

Creative Pastor e-Newsletter, April 4, 2007, Center for Creative Ministry