Growth Groups Summer 2017
We want to provide an opportunity for Growth Groups during the summer months of June, July, and August.
Who? Growth Groups are an opportunity for anyone interested in the study, whether member or non-member.
What? There are many good small group studies available. Here are some recommendations:
- Evangelistic (DVD and discussion): Christianity Explored (http://www.ceministries.org/Groups/274683/Home/Courses/Christianity_Explored/Christianity_Explored.aspx)
- Discipleship (DVD and discussion): Discipleship Explored (http://www.ceministries.org/Groups/274685/Home/Courses/Discipleship_Explored/Discipleship_Explored.aspx)
- Bible Study: (Bible and discussion questions): Eight Weeks through Mark’s Gospel
- Six Steps to Loving Your Church (DVD and discussion) (http://www.matthiasmedia.com/six-steps-to-loving-your-church)
- Marriage Study: What Did You Expect? (Book and discussion) (https://www.paultripp.com/what-did-you-expect)
- Parenting: Getting to the Heart of Parenting (DVD and discussion) (https://www.paultripp.com/getting-to-the-heart-of-parenting)
- Bible Study: Jonah Bible Study (DVD and discussion) (https://www.paultripp.com/jonah)
- Discipleship/Christian Growth: How Does Sanctification Work (Book) (https://www.crossway.org/books/how-does-sanctification-work-tpb/)
- More selections at http://stores.newgrowthpress.com/small-group/
Where? Growth Groups will meet in homes. Each group can determine the start time and any other details, such as food or no food, etc.
When? Growth Groups will meet from June through August. Sunday evenings are a great time to have these gatherings. Ultimately, each group should determine the best day and time to meet to maximize attendance. This round of Growth Groups will meet five times: July 9, 23, August 6, 20, and September 3.
How? Growth Groups will have a discussion leader. Each group will ideally have 8-10 participants. The number of groups will be determined by the number of participants. This will require discussion leaders and host homes.
Cost? The only cost is the material associated with the study.
Interested? Sign-up if you are interested in participating in a Growth Group this summer! There is a sign-up sheet above the Information Table at church. You may also sign-up by using the form below.
Background of Growth Groups
Growth often takes place in community. We must never assume that small = familial. We have made several attempts to foster community and growth in our church over the years. We currently employ three variations of growth groups.
Home Fellowship Groups (HFGs)
The first variation of growth groups is Home Fellowship Groups. We started these in 2008. HFGs met quarterly at the beginning. HFGs had three objectives: 1) to fellowship (in the Christian sense of the term, not just merely socializing); 2) to have extended discussion on and application of the sermon from that morning; and 3) to expose unbelievers to a group of genuine, committed Christians. The first and second objectives have been met to a certain degree based on a December 2009 church-wide survey. The third objective has not. In fact, some of the survey respondents indicated that they were unaware that evangelism was even part of the HFG objectives. The overall strength of the HFGs has been the opportunity to discuss and apply the message.
Deacon Care Groups (DCGs)
The second variation of growth groups is Deacon Care Groups. We piloted these meetings on August 21, 2011. We retained HFGs and added DGCs. We set out to accomplish the following three objectives with the DCGs: 1) nurture relationships, 2) care for one another, and 3) promote accountability. DCGs provide greater consistency in the make-up of the groups because they are always comprised of the same individuals and families under the care of a specific deacon.
HFGs and DCGs are very similar. Both meet in homes. Both include a potluck style meal. Both meet on the third Sunday of the month. Both use discussion questions from the morning message. The primary difference is that DCGs are comprised of the same group while HFGs are sign-up based groups.
Community Gatherings (CGs)
The third variation of growth groups is Community Gatherings. We started these in the summer of 2013. The community gatherings sprung up based on feedback from DCG discussions on February 2013. The feedback from each group was that we struggle with developing relationships outside of the corporate gatherings. The struggle to develop relationships outside of the corporate gatherings gave birth to the idea and implementation of CGs. We typically cancel any afternoon or evening corporate gatherings in the summer months to facilitate CGs. As far as the nuts and bolts of CGs,
- CGs are intentionally unstructured. This means it is entirely up to individuals, couples, and families to initiate and coordinate these gatherings.
- CGs are intended to foster community not cliques. Ideally there will be variety in who attends these groups.
- CGs are intended to promote relational and spiritual health. The individuals and families that gather will determine the agenda for their time together. One encouragement is for each group to incorporate genuine Christian fellowship. We cannot properly consider enjoying a meal and casual conversation about current events Christian fellowship. There is nothing distinctly Christian about this, though it may be a good social time. CGs should include some type of spiritually edifying exercise. Perhaps some time of prayer and/or singing, or maybe a time of sharing a testimony. Some groups may want to have a Bible study. Again, each group has a lot of flexibility but don’t lose the spiritual dynamic in these gatherings.
- CGs can be planned or spontaneous. These gatherings are intended to happen by individuals and families extending invitation to other individuals and families. Nothing fancy or complicated. As the Nike slogan states, “Just Do It.” Just invite someone over to dinner or dessert or a picnic at a park and take it from there.
- CGs can meet wherever it works for the group. It may be in a home or at a park. It totally up to the group.
- CGs may be most easily scheduled on Sunday evenings since we leave Sunday afternoons and evening open for CGs to meet. However, if it works best for a CG to meet on a different day, go with whatever works for everyone involved.
Evening Service Sermon Discussion
While this is still a corporate gathering, the focal point of this service is an interactive discussion on the morning sermon. The discussion is guided with questions to steer the interaction. A majority of our evening services include this discussion time. A person attending our church could hear anywhere from two to four propositions every week. This could amount to two to four areas of their Christian life that the word calls a believer to address. Then they repeat this the next week and the week after that and so on. This can lead to spiritual overload and generate discouragement. The discussion time allows us to spend more time focusing in on fewer propositions. If we can give more time to develop and discuss one area of our Christian life, there is a greater likelihood that it will have a greater spiritual impact on our congregation.
Please go to our Events page to see when the different growth groups meet.