Blog Articles

Spiritual Disciplines: Growing Together in Community

When we think of the spiritual disciplines, we think about practicing them ourselves. Maybe its reading your bible more, or having a more consistent prayer life – whatever the discipline – our thoughts go to the individual. But, what if the spiritual disciplines were not meany to be practiced solely individually but in community? As Small Group Leaders and Coaches, this is the key question we need to challenge ourselves with.

Blog Articles

Leaders & Coaches

Bible Reading and Prayer: Does One Impact the Other?

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.

4 Things Not To Say To A Friend Who Is Suffering

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.

Is Your Group Like This? 3 Reasons We Love Our Small Group

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.

Life After a 30-Day Media Fast

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.

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?

You Have a Small Group, Now Make a Smaller Group

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.”

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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?

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.

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”?

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.

Using My Gifts as a Co-Leader and Wife

Serving alongside my husband as a Small Group Co-Leader hasn’t always been easy or something I naturally fell into. But God has been using this role as Co-Leader to teach me more about myself and how he created me–particularly in these two roles of wife and Small Group Co-Leader.

2 Ways to Invite People to the Christmas Concert

The Christmas Concert is one of the biggest weekends of the year at College Park Church. In 2018, over 7,400 people came to experience our church: music, cookies, and people! And many of them were able to start or build on relationships because of that weekend. Here are two ways you can invite others to the Christmas Concert this year.

Caring for your Small Group like Family

Using care to shepherd your Small Group creates a loving platform beyond what we could provide alone as leaders. God is glorified as his Spirit moves within the group to care in ways we cannot.

Why I Love My Small Group: Authentic & Genuine

At our first meeting together our Small Group Leader asked us to give our testimony and offered to go first. He went on to share very personal life circumstances that led him to Jesus, and I remember thinking, “Dude, we just met. Your living room is full of strangers. Why are you telling us this?” His vulnerability and willingness to step out in faith set the tone for our Small Group for years to come.

4 Reasons Why Singles Need a Marriage Series

Small Groups are a place for married couples to find hope together. During our sermon series entitled The Marriage Mystery, a few contributors have been asked to share tools for Small Groups to help one another in their marriage or singleness.

Date Night Changed Our Marriage

Small Groups are a place for married couples to find hope together. During our sermon series entitled The Marriage Mystery, a few contributors have been asked to share tools for Small Groups to help one another in their marriage or singleness.

4 Ways to Deal with Transition as a Couple

We’d lived in East Asia for seven years. It was home. Our apartment was our house. Our church was our family. Our neighbors were our mission field. And then, we received some really, really bad news. In light of this news, we were told that if we ever wanted to work in the country again, we should leave immediately.

Why My Small Group Feels Like Fellowship

When I look at the early church and its people, one simple word comes to mind: fellowship. But it’s through my Small Group that I’ve come to realize what this feels like.

How Can Your Small Group Affect the Nations?

It’s remarkable that your Small Group can actually affect the nations! In a lot more ways than it could have, say, one hundred years ago.

But first, why affect the nations? God’s plan from the beginning of His choosing Abraham was to bless all nations through him…