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Posted by on Oct 28, 2010 in Blog |

Open Groups – Part 3: The Open Chair

If you’re just now joining this series of posts on “open” groups, you can catch the last two posts to bring you up to speed: Open Groups – Part 1: Conversation with Rick Howerton Open Groups – Part 2: Kingdom Mindset Part 3 involves a very simple concept that has been used for years in groups to promote the openness of the group.  Its called “the open chair”. Nothing complex about it.  To promote and remind group members of the value of inviting others in, designate a symbolic open chair each week.  Make reference to the chair during and as you close your meeting time.  You could say something like, “Who can we invite to fill this chair next week,” or “Let’s be in prayer this week that God would bring someone into our group to fill this chair. The ‘open chair’ is a great, weekly reminder of the fact that the group is never...

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Posted by on Oct 24, 2010 in Blog |

Open Groups – Part 2: Kingdom Mindset

Last week I posted the first part of this five-part article series on open groups, which came from a conversation I had with Rick Howerton, former LifeWay small groups guru now beginning his work with NavPress.  If you haven’t read it, you can find Open Groups – Part 1 here. While Part 1 set the foundation, parts 2 through 5 are really the “how to” pieces of this series.  My conversation with Rick produced several practical suggestions for creating or maintaining an open small group atmosphere.  Here is number 1: “You must have a Kingdom mindset – the Kingdom is more important than the intimacy of the group.”  Rick used the example of the “Twelve”; the small group of disciples that ‘did life’ with Jesus throughout his ministry on earth.  Think about this: If there was ever a group in all of history that had the ‘right’ to be a closed group, it was the Twelve.  Only they had been with Jesus.  Only they had endured the things they...

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Posted by on Oct 22, 2010 in Blog |

Open Groups – Part 1 (Conversation with Rick Howerton)

I had the opportunity to talk with long-time small groups guru Rick Howerton and bounce a few questions his way regarding our fledgling groups ministry.  Rick was very gracious with his time and really ‘leaned into’ our ministry situation as he posed questions and shared from his experience.  I was encouraged greatly by our conversation. One of the questions we discussed actually came from one of our facilitators.   The question went something like this: “How can we become an open group when so many of our current members value our current group chemistry and intimacy?” Great question. Open vs. Closed GroupsOne of the things I learned from Rick (and from another groups guy who blindsided me a bit on his blog) is that there is an ongoing debate regarding whether groups should be ‘open’ or ‘closed’.  Some argue that all groups should be closed, others say that groups must be open, and many others find themselves somewhere in the middle.  I won’t open up the debate here, but I...

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Posted by on Oct 19, 2010 in Blog |

Go and Serve Sunday Opportunities

I wanted to be sure and put in your hands a copy of the different service opportunities we’ll be taking part in for Go & Serve Sunday on November 7th.  As you talk with your group about the project you want to be a part of, download THIS DOCUMENT and bring it to your gathering for folks to look over. If you have any questions about Go & Serve Sunday, please let me...

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Posted by on Oct 11, 2010 in Blog |

Go and Serve Sunday – November 7

If you weren’t here two years ago for our first ever “Go and Serve Sunday” you really missed out on a phenomenal service event.  More than 200 of our members worshiped, served, and celebrated together as a natural outcome of our growth in Christ.  Through various projects we were able to be a blessing to those with physical, financial, emotional, spiritual, and relational challenges. Go and Serve Sunday is back for 2010.  On November 7th, our members will have the opportunity once again to move from a church service to being a church of service.  And this year, our small groups will be a big part of this.  If you watched the clip from Eric Swanson regarding externally-focused small groups, you heard Eric say: “Good friends help turn good intentions into good deeds, which create good will and create a good platform to share the good news.” Think about that for a moment.  The people in your group want to make a difference.  They want to impact the world...

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