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Better Than Instagram: How To Form Digital Relationships

Does your group have members who attend virtually (via Zoom or another videoconference software)? Is that okay? Or is that a second-rate form of community? And how much work does it take to make sure that you’re still in real relationship with that face on the screen?

Don’t Miss These 4 Ingredients to Help Men Follow Jesus

What we pray for and strive to achieve with the group is the discipleship strategy of College Park Church: to belong , grow and multiply. Our group is a launching pad, not just a landing pad—helping men not just look inward but forward. Here are four ways that we help our community of men follow Jesus.

You Only Need These 3 Questions to Lead a Group Discussion

It’s easy to overcomplicate things. In an effort to lead well, I often over-think, over-plan, and over-prepare. But sometimes simple methods are the most effective. Although many strategies are useful for leading a Small Group in discussion, in my experience I have seen how three simple questions can create a helpful walk-through for how to understand and apply God’s Word together.

Do We Really Need Accountability in Our Group?

Sometimes the word “accountability” can instill fear—and for good reason. When misused, it becomes nothing more than legalistic, performance-based righteousness. Biblical accountability can be a beautiful tool within the context of a group and can draw members into deeper fellowship. But what exactly is biblical accountability?

Is Your Prayer Life Stuck in a Rut?

We can all easily find ourselves stuck in the same prayer habits, leading us to an ineffective time with Lord. Christians often struggle in their prayer life—not knowing what to pray and offering distracted prayers. With so many things competing for our attention, we need to be more fervent in creating the space to commune with the Creator God.

How to Deal with Uncertainty Through Prayer

If there has been one constant this year it is this: uncertainty. Crisis causes change. And change leaves us figuring out how to respond. If uncertainty is our constant companion, what do we do about that? It’s never easy to feel out of control. We cherish finding a sense of stability. So, here are four actions we can take to continue moving forward even in the midst of uncertainty.

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Help! Group Prayer Intimidates Me

Praying in a group can be intimidating, especially if it’s with people you’ve just met or still getting to know. Prayers begin to sound better in your head than when spoken out loud—so you decide not to speak and are afraid you will embarrass yourself by saying something silly. But sharing your heart in prayer or sharing your prayer requests can be a place of healing.

Marriage and a Move: Finding Community

Everything was new for us: being married, living together, new state, new jobs, new city, new friendships, new church; all of it. Although we both have loving and supportive families and friend groups in Michigan and Ohio, we knew that community was going to be important in a year of transition.

The First Thing We’re Doing in Our New Home

After moving into five different apartments the first five years of marriage, my wife and I are ready to settle into a home. The excitement for this milestone in our life has led us to ask the question, “What is the first thing we will do in our new home?” Buy new furniture? Likely! Enjoy watching our kiddo run around in the backyard? Certainly! Start a Small Group? Yep!

Searching for Friends During a Pandemic

During the height of sequestering and feeling increasingly confined, my wife Cathy and I were introduced (virtually) to Nathan and Rebekah Elliott—who are Small Group leaders at College Park Church. Meeting new people through video phone platforms can be difficult. Nonetheless, it was very clear to see across a screen just how charming, fervent, and genuine the Elliotts really were.

4 Tips for Cultivating a Healthy Small Group

As Small Group leaders we have answered a call to steward those entrusted in our group. Much like a gardener, we are tasked with nurturing, but the Lord is the one that causes the growth. We can’t take credit when our group is doing well, but we can take steps to ensure against neglect. 

How Do I Avoid Burnout?

I don’t want to burn out. But there are so many threats in life that push me toward spending all my energy and having nothing left. Especially after a season of heightened crisis, we need some recovery. So, what can we do to avoid burnout? Let’s try these six practices

Becoming a Leader Is How I Found Community

I can say leading a Small Group has become one of the greatest joys and experiences I have had in my faith journey so far. I am able to encourage, be encouraged, and bring people together so that they can continue to love one another well and I can also be loved. Every member of the Small Group community plays a special part in that.

Leading Your Group by Sharing Your Struggles

In the age of Photoshop and curated feeds it has become normal to only publish what we want people to see. I longed to feel like I could be myself without the need to hide behind a mask or stand protected behind a wall. These precious relationships can only flourish by being vulnerable and sharing real struggles with others.

How Do I Know If Someone In My Group Is Ready To Lead?

Although it can be scary to think about “losing” a really great group member, we’re called to encourage one another to maximize using our spiritual gifts (see Heb. 10:24-25). And one of the best days in a Small Group is that bittersweet day when a member is released to start leading a group on their own. Here are five clues that will help you know if someone in your group is ready to lead

4 Ways to Connect with Your Group This Summer

We are beginning a series of firsts after being in lockdown for weeks—whether that is your first dine-in restaurant experience or first haircut since quarantine. But how do you pick up where you left off with your Small Group? How are you preparing for your first gatherings as a group post-quarantine? What about social meet-ups with members from your group?

Unconventional Friendships: Why Our Small Group Works

I love our Small Group. God has brought together a group of people representing incredibly diverse backgrounds, and it has been a privilege getting to know those the Lord has brought into our lives. But this diversity wasn’t something I even realized to ask God for until two years ago.

3 Tools for Neighboring Post-Quarantine

The strangeness of post-quarantine life has given us a window of opportunity to connect on a deeper level with unbelieving people in our lives. Quarantine, E-learning, working from home, political unrest and social injustice have opened doors to conversations like never before. But are we ready?

Is “Accountability” Enough? The Case for Peer Discipleship

Unfortunately, “discipleship” can often be reduced to a vision of a mentor and a mentee, drastically distanced in their spiritual maturity level, that meet together for years. But this is not the only way, or perhaps even the most frequent way, that discipleship happens in our lives.

4 Easy Steps to Mentoring Others

You understand that to be a Christian is to be a disciple-maker, but you aren’t sure how to go about it. You want God to use you to make a difference in the lives of people around you through mentoring, but actually getting started has you at a standstill. Thankfully, God by his grace has given us help in his all-sufficient Word to know how to get started in the kingdom-advancing work of discipling.

Help! We’re Married and Have a Problem

Over the years we have had to look at each other many times and say “Honey, we have a problem.” Of course, problems come in different shapes and sizes. I want to encourage you with four guiding principles to pursue when your marriage is experiencing any of these types of trouble.

Jesus Meets Us in Our Loneliness and Insecurities

Even though I am not experiencing loneliness at this present time, I am well acquainted with it. I know what it’s like to be with others while feeling completely isolated. I’m thankful that Jesus knows it too.

A Letter from Heaven If You Are Discouraged

But today, while it feels discouraging, know that I am the only one who fully knows how you feel. That is where I am meeting you: in the middle of what you are experiencing, not after. Keep trusting me, because I can be trusted. Pastor Bob shares a letter from heaven to a discouraged child.

In Anxiety: Who is God and Who Am I?

When your mind defaults to anxiety what you believe about yourself, and more importantly, what you believe about God become paramount. Anxiety can evaporate when you rehearse and believe foundational truth. Here are two questions for you to ask yourself as you face anxiety.

Fight Fear with Faith…And Friends

Living in the middle of a worldwide pandemic is surfacing my fears and worries in ways that I have to address. Can you relate? What does help? Having others walk with us, pointing us toward God.

Why Sundays Still Matter

In this time, you are learning firsthand why Sundays are important as a believer. Why you gather together is less of a hypothetical question and is now answered with a feeling of longing to be together. I recommend that we show up for worship at the standard service time each week, even if we’re not walking into the same building. Why?

Why I Love My Coach

Having been a leader in different contexts over the years, I was pleasantly surprised that this coaching relationship was a core dynamic to Small Groups. If I was going to keep growing as a spiritual leader, I felt that this coaching relationship was a must!

Fun Activities to Do With Your Kids

As we are having to find new ways to make the most of this time with kids at home, let me encourage you that being stuck indoors can also be a blessing. When will you ever have this much consistent, uninterrupted time with your child? Here are some ideas on how to make the most of each day—and even make some new memories too.

Running a Zoom Gathering FAQs

When your Small Group can’t meet in person, you can still gather digitally by using a video conferencing app like Zoom. This article will only cover some top questions about how to use Zoom.

Enduring Isolation With Jesus as Our Example

I’m sure you feel the surprise and challenge of this year as well. This time of isolation is difficult on many levels, yet in these challenging times we can look to the example of Jesus and three lessons he can teach us about isolation.

How the Resurrection Changes Community

The crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus over two thousand years ago has forever changed the course of human history. He exercises dominion over everything that exists—and that includes our community. Jesus’ resurrection has changed community in three important ways.

How to See Yourself and Jesus Better

Just like your kids don’t know what they’re going to be learning before the lesson starts—so we don’t know what God’s going to teach us each day. There’s something more that’s available to us as Christians. It’s seeing spiritually. Even today, we can take the chance to tell our spouses or kids what we’re seeing today: not another episode or a neighbor, but our heart and our Savior.

Irritability and How To Fight It

Even the best of us feels the pressure when we are in close quarters with others for a long time. Maybe a month ago you were hoping that you could spend more time at home, and now you are wishing you could get out! No one is immune from the temptation to be irritable with those we love. Here are 7 weapons to fight irritability.

What to Think After THINK|20?

The weekend encouraged me to actively strive to live a life that pleases the Lord—not to earn salvation, but as a deliberate means of living out the grace that God has given us in Christ. So now that THINK weekend is over, what are some next steps we can take to keep “growing in godliness”?

Is My Group Helping Me Grow In Godliness?

When we connect into God’s church, we are supposed to “grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ”. But is that actually happening in your group? Here are three questions you can ask to find out.

9 Check-Up Questions for a Small Group

We’ve all been to the doctor to get a check-up on how our body is doing. But how do you run a check-up on a Small Group? Whether you are a Coach or a leader, the following nine questions should help:

2020 Vision: 5 Dynamics Where We’re Seeing Success

Whether you are leading or participating in a Small Group, have you ever stepped back and evaluated your expectations? How do you measure whether your Small Group has been a success? Here are 5 things that I have learned over the past few years that have remained a marker for our group.

Loving Earnestly Through Hospitality

It is easy for our motives to become less about making our guests welcome and more about presenting our homes and families better than how we really live. Biblical hospitality offers a more strategic opportunity. . .

It’s Not Easy But It’s Simple: Trusting God by Going Global

In many ways, my Small Group members were as much a part of this trip as I was. As I pressed on in faith, they prayed with me, encouraged me, and helped generously support me. The Lord had prepared me. He had also surrounded me with people who loved me and were praying for me—including my Small Group family.

Feel Guilty About Missing Small Group Gatherings? Remember These 3 Truths

While growing up in church, perfect attendance was often lauded as the pinnacle of Sunday School or Awana participation. Sure, these are my childhood thoughts towards attaining an award. But these yearly moments trained me. They trained me to feel guilt when I had to miss gatherings of different sorts. More recently, I have also had these thoughts and feelings about missing Small Group gatherings.

6 Bad Reasons to Join a Small Group

We could think that involvement in a Small Group absolves us of our responsibility to fully engage on Sunday mornings. That won’t work. Sunday mornings are the primary place where God’s people gather and worship, and Small Groups allow us to dig deeper into how to apply those truths into our real lives.

How Do I Make Plans for My Small Group in the New Year?

While plans are good and necessary, it is God who ultimately directs your steps. Whatever your hesitations are associated with the new year, have you asked what God’s plans are for your Small Group? Here are a few suggestions to help frame your mind as you enter a new decade.

4 Ways to Pray for your Small Group When You’re Busy

How many times have we heard a fellow member share a prayer request update and realized that we completely neglected to pray for them during the intervening week between Small Group gatherings? These four methods can help with upping our prayer priority for those in our group—even in the midst of our full schedules.