Suffering surprises us. Our mother is suddenly taken to the hospital. We go through a break-up. Our husband has open-heart surgery. Each person in our group will go through a valley. But here are four things not to say to a friend who is suffering.
Small Group member Chris Skinner shares the value of going through hard times together with his Small Group.
How do you “do life” and have fun with your group? Small Group Leader David Rawlins shares how his group is doing this.
Pastor Bob asks Small Group Leaders Karl and Bekah Krukenberg why they left their Small Group. And how that’s a good thing.
I often struggle with prayer. I feel empty-headed, and I revert back to simple words and phrases that I’ve used again-and-again to speak to God. Fortunately, I have found three places where I can borrow others’ words to help me pray.
Ever wondered how to deal with tough relationships during the holiday? Ryan Berg, Assistant Pastor of Soul Care, shares some practical things to keep in mind.
Have you wondered how to lead the men in your Small Group? Mark Schuitema gives some practical ways to do this well.
Have you wondered how to lead the women in your Small Group? Karen Pourcho gives some practical ways to do this well.
In Charlotte, we had a wonderful Small Group of folks we loved talking to about what was going on in our life and what God was teaching us. We hoped to find this same community at our new church. But we had no idea what community would look like in a new church.
Is your group in a prayer rut? How can you freshen up your group prayer times? How do you lead your group in a worship-based prayer style? Don Bartemus shares how to.
What do you do when people in your group have significant prayer needs, like an upcoming surgery, a close family member passing away, or a cancer diagnosis? Pastor Don Bartemus answers how your group can elevate important prayer needs to the pastors and elders.
When our church decided to spend thirty days emphasizing prayer and fasting, I chose to do a media fast. I took inventory of my media habits, and I was alarmed with the amount of time I was spending watching TV and browsing social media. Here’s what happened.
Jeff Ballard opens up the topic of depression so that we can see that it’s encouraging that a person would share this with us, that even the famous pastor Charles Spurgeon struggled in this way, and there are practical takeaways for us to help.
In this video, Jeff Ballard shares how we can walk with someone who shares a deep sin with us or our group, including asking the following questions.
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?
In our hyper-individualistic culture sharing anything remotely private almost sounds scandalous. But we all know that only when we get real do we really change. What would it look like to place yourself in a relationship where you share your deepest struggles? This can happen if you’re willing to make your Small Group “smaller.”
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.
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?
At College Park, we believe in equipping our ministry leaders to better serve those in our congregation. One of the ways we do this is through Small Group Leader Equip Nights. Check out all the past training content including power points slideshows and downloadable PDF guides to better equip you as you lead your group.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.