SHEPHERD YOUR GROUP IDEAS
A community effort by the Tampa Bay Team: Jeremy Stephens, Jessica Stephens, Ken Brown, Jon Dengler & Michelle Verrill
These ideas are designed for a more intimate small group for support, encouragement and community rather than for training. Some of these ideas can be repeated throughout a semester or year without it becoming trivial.
ALL ABOUT YOU
It’s uncomfortable but good to listen and be listened to.
Spend time where everyone’s attention is on one group member while they talk about themselves for 10-20 minutes. They have to fulfill the time requirement which will be easy for some and difficult for others but overall it will be fun, insightful and community building.
TOP 3 LIFE MOMENTS
Our lives are the summation of “life” moments that have shaped us for good or bad and to understand each other and ourselves we must begin with those “life” moments that meant the most to us.
Spend a few minutes per person to reflect and share their “top 3 life shaping moments”.
This time can conclude with members asking insightful questions about each others lives or with prayer thanking God that he redeems all things, good or bad, for his purposes. Romans 8:28
DOUBTS ABOUT GOD
Christians are really good at hiding their doubts about God and it’s to our own detriment. In Matthew 28:17 “When [the eleven] saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted…” we see that disciples can be mixed bags where doubt and worship and a commissioning combine to describe a life devoted to Jesus. If some of the eleven can doubt while worshiping the risen Christ and still receive the same empowerment to accomplish God’s mission then surely we can have doubts too and still be used in our mission. We all struggle with doubts so all God to use the community to encourage us so that we can defend against the flaming arrows of the enemy. Ephesians 6
Spend time sharing our top doubts we have about God. The group should take a humble listening posture rather than a “let me fix you” approach. If the sharer wants advice or a scripture then allow the group to speak to the doubt with love and the Word.
TOP 3 STRUGGLES
Christians struggle in this life with various difficulties from school stress, to family situations, to sin and we all need to expose these struggles to the light and life that Jesus gives us. John 16:32, 33
Spend some time sharing openly about current struggles so they can be prayed for. The group should take a humble listening posture rather than a “let me fix you” approach. If the sharer wants advice or a scripture then allow the group to speak to the doubt with love and the Word.
BIBLE STUDY & OPEN SHARING
Spend time as a community reflecting on a passage and how God is speaking into your lives through it.
Spend time venting about ministry life.
PRAYER & SCRIPTURE
Have a time of praying the scriptures…pick any topic and passage you believe is relevant.
Spend some time reflecting on the topic and scripture through meditation then spend time praying the scriptures over the topic.
This might also be used well in conjunction with sharing doubts or struggles.
It might be scary but people need to be pushed beyond themselves and the mundane “Christian” life.
Spend some time sharing how each member would begin spiritual conversation with a stranger but don’t take too long.
Next have everyone pray for the lost, then pair up and go see what the Lord might do when we obey and take risks for him!
Come back and share stories with each other about what God did.
SIMPLY KEY TRUTHS
There are truths that everyone needs to learn to speak into another’s life as well as receive into their own. This is an exercise designed to emphasize the power of God’s simple truth and learn how to speak it without adding our own words.
Have the group come up with several key simple truths about God. (ex. It was God’s pleasure to purchase you with his blood, no matter what you’ve done you are totally forgiven, Jesus loves you and will never leave you...) This can be done in community with the group deciding what truths are key and which ones are not.
Spend time discussing how we add to God’s truth as we do ministry or as we receive it ourselves.
Have the members pair up and pick one truth each to speak three times to their partner without laughing, giggling or adding more words. (I recommend eye contact; speak with confidence and a moment pause between repeating it.)
How would speaking simple truths into others lives change the way we do ministry? What affect would it have on those we minister to?
CONNECTION WITH JESUS
Ask the question, “What has God shown you lately?”
How is Jesus shaping you currently?
ASK A QUESTION
Allow group members to ask any question they want to anyone in the group.
VISION FOR THEIR MINISTRY
Develop and draw the vision for your ministry. What do you want to see God do through you?
Develop goals according to the vision
GIFTS & ABILITIES
List your abilities and gifts. What do you do well that gives you energy? What do the people around you think are your gifts and abilities?
What words would you use to describe yourself? What environment or circumstances do you function best in? (e.g. pace, indoors or outdoors, with people, kinds of tasks)
LONGINGS & DREAMS
What do you want to do with your life? Do you have a life dream? What motivates you? Why did you join leadership and how does that fits with your bigger dreams? Is there a passage of Scripture or Biblical character that speaks to your heart?
THE WORLD’S NEEDS
Of the needs of the world around you, what stands out as most important? What you like to do to make a difference?
RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD
What kind of relationship with God would you like to experience? Is there a Biblical passage that speaks to you about the kind of relationship you seek? What image do you have of God? What metaphor would you use to describe him?