Curriculum Review

 
Community Bible Studies

 

 

Community by Andy Stanley

A review by Trisha Hicks

If your small group is new or needs a refresher on the importance of being in biblical community, Community by Andy Stanley is a great option for you. This study will inspire group members to desire authentic community. It is a series of 3, 20 minute sermons from Andy Stanley followed by questions for your small group. Andy covers essential topics for being in genuine community. He addresses the importance of being intentional and committed to being in relationship with other believers. He also addresses how easily sin can deceive us and the need for doing life with others so they can point out self-deception in our lives.
As the leader, it would be helpful to view the sermon and questions before your small group meets. This way, you can have answers ready for the questions in case you need to get the ball rolling during the discussion. Side note: There is a reference to MySpace in the second session, so it is a little outdated, but the principles are still relevant.
The Small Groups Team at Tysons has copies of this DVD available for rent. Please contact Trisha at trisha.hicks@mcleanbible.org, if you are interested.

 

 

Community: Building Relationships Within God’s Family by Bill Hybels

A review by Colleen Hunter

This is a great study to help your group understand what Biblical Community is and engage each person personally and corporately. This is a highly practical and biblically grounded study broken into six sessions. The sessions themselves are well organized. As a leader, you can choose to linger in some places and move quicker through other parts. Some parts of the session are designed for personal reflection to prepare for discussion while other parts provide a great entry point for discussion no matter what past experiences have been. I have used this study more than once in the early stages of a small group to establish our expectations, fears and realities and found it extremely helpful! The thoughtful questions make for stimulating discussion and honest dialogue. I would also recommend this to a group that may not be in the early life stage but needs to go back to the practices of Biblical community. The cover may seem cheesy or outdated but do not judge this book by its cover!

Christmas Edition

Sleigh bells ring, are you listening?

It’s that time of year again! Thankfully we haven’t had any snowstorms yet (except the freak October snow), and with the Christmas season comes a few tips in leading your small group well. Here are some ideas to integrate this month:

  1. Reflect on Christ’s mission. While Christ’s birth is a cute story in our culture, we need to remind ourselves of why Jesus came and how His salvation has impacted each of us. (Romans 5:18 “Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.”)
  2. Rest. Many of you have already decided to break for the holidays, but for those who haven’t, consider taking a few weeks off because of extra work in the office and traveling.
  3. Celebrate together. Find a time to gather as a group to celebrate what God has done in your group this year. What have been the greatest memories? How has He answered prayer? What is one thing He taught you this year?

You should use this season of Christmas to intentionally lead your group in reflection, rest, and celebration. We hope you have a great season of gathering with friends and family, and we’ll be praying for you as you lead your group!

Boundaries – When to Help

Proper boundaries in the context of a small group permit the leader to be physically, emotionally, and spiritually available equally to all group members. But when do you help your small group member and when do you refer them?

Consider some of the following situations; what would you do? A small group member calls you 4-5 times per week for advice. A member of your small group loses his or her job and asks if they can borrow money from you or the group. A small group member becomes disruptive or monopolizes the conversation in almost every weekly meeting.

If you lead a group long enough, you’ll eventually run into circumstances like this, and being prepared will help you to tactfully respond with grace and wisdom. Every situation is different but, generally speaking, consider these 3 guidelines:

1. Know yourself. All of us have different backgrounds and training, and you need to be aware of what is in your range of experience and abilities when leading others who are in need.
2. Discern the issue. Pray for guidance as you help someone. If you are comfortable in the situation, continue to help. If it is too much to handle, please refer.
3. Know who to refer. Inform your coach or staff contact if there is any issue that is overwhelming for you. Your coach and the staff are here to help in situations like that!

Boundaries – Misperceptions

Sometimes, a small group leader refuses to set proper boundaries because it feels wrong. Consider the two most common misperceptions about boundaries:

Misperception #1: Setting boundaries is selfish.
Misperception #2: Setting boundaries hurts people.

Let’s begin by addressing the first misperception. Far from being selfish, setting boundaries is simply good stewardship of the relationships to which God entrusts to each person. This does not mean you’re neglectful or unloving, but without saying “No” at certain times, you will burn out.

The second misperception is a natural way of thinking, but we need to train ourselves to realize that most people are respectful of the leader’s time and commitments. The group just needs to know! Rather than hurting people, a leader who sets boundaries actually makes him or herself available in a healthy way. Proper boundaries create space where relationships – all relationships – can flourish.

Remember, we do not expect you to be equipped to deal with every potential problem raised within the group, such as drug addiction, major depression, domestic violence, etc. If an issue is above your ability or experience, please let us know immediately so we can help.

Boundaries (Overview)

Over the next two months we will be discussing boundaries with small group ministry. Have you ever felt drained by the demands of the relationships in your small group? If so, you probably need to review proper boundaries in ministry.

What do we mean by boundaries? A boundary is a mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual marker that distinguishes one person from another. In a setting where broken people engage in authentic and honest community, a small group leader’s understanding of boundaries is essential. Without proper boundaries a small group leader may lose him or herself in the context of relationships, may begin to feel overly responsible for others, and may become resentful for the time and energy that these relationships consume.

Even Jesus had boundaries and knew when he needed to get away and “recharge” with God. Matthew 14 describes how Jesus, after feeding the crowd of thousands, withdrew to the mountain with God. He could have preached more sermons; he could have healed more people; rather, Jesus pulled away from the crowd.

Jesus had boundaries, and we need them, too. It might not be leaving a crowd on a mountainside, but to be effective leaders, we must implement boundaries. Next time we will answer why leaders fear having boundaries and how it negatively impacts their ministry.