GUEST POST: KRISTIN ARTRIP ON SMALL GROUPS

HSM has Wednesday night worship as our first step.  Our Grace (small) groups are step two and our discipleship philosophy.  Jim Heffner oversees all those groups, so it seems anymore my biggest involvement is that I happen to be married to one of the girls group leaders.  Kristin’s group started tonight and as she came home and told me the makeup of the night (minus the confidential details no leader should ever share) I was really impressed and asked her to write a guest blog post. I hope this can help someone who reads it and I think I will send it to our adult staff too.

FIRST GROUP MEETING BY KRISTIN ARTRIP

I am in no way an expert Grace Group leader and most of the time I feel I am not sure what I am doing! I do find that making a “lesson plan” helps me to stay on topic and organized so that Grace Group runs smooth and orderly. Otherwise it’s easy to forget important discussion questions or to get off topic.

We had our first group of the year tonight and it was very exciting! I thought I would blog about what was talked about, planned out and laid in front of my students for this year.  I am leading with Katie Rochte this year and it will be great. She brings a fresh perspective as a college student and the girls really love her!

1-    To start we went around the circle and said name, grade and school (each girl had to say everyone else’s name as well as their own). We had a few new girls join so this is an easy icebreaker.

2-    Before I started talking about our vision I told the girls that I was going to ask an important question at the end and I wanted to give them a good hour to come up with an answer so I posed the question at this time: “ what is one thing you want to be held accountable to this group for. We will ask each other publicly every week”

3-    I transitioned into what I call “the business meeting time”.  Here are the first items of business:

  • who is Grace Group for?- GG’s are for Wednesday night HSM attendees who have a relationship with Christ and want to continue growing in their faith. They are not for first time visitors or someone who is not a Christian (we want those students plugged into Wednesday nights first and then after they accept Christ we point them to a GG where they can grow).
  • Why do we have Grace Groups? So we can share life together, grow in our faith, and hold each other accountable in our walk with Christ.
  • Do I need to commit? Yep! I ask that the girls get their homework done and plan their outside activities at other times than 6:30-8:30 on Sundays. They need to commit for the sake of their own personal growth as well as keeping the intimacy created by everyone being there and caring about each other.

4-    The next order of business is talking about the vision of GG. There are four main areas that we want to emphasize and practice every week:

1)    Caring relationships- this happens at the very beginning when everyone arrives and we hang out in the kitchen, eat snacks and catch up with each other

2)    Biblical truth- we are doing a DVD series on Fransis Chan’s book Crazy Love. We will watch the short chapter clip each week and talk through discussion questions at the end.

3)    Accountability- We will all talk about our personal time we have spent in the Bible that week and the things that God is teaching us.  We will also talk through the specific things each girl mentioned as a struggle that needs accountability.

4)    Prayer- simply put we will pray for each other. This may happen in pairs some weeks or corporately. We also would like to have a chair sitting in the middle of the room and if someone feels there is a need beyond what we general pray for then they will sit in the chair and we will come around them and pray for them. It is a new idea that I feel will bring intimacy to the group and create an atmosphere of sharing real life struggles with each other.

5) I thought we needed to lighten the mood in the middle, so we all went around and shared something positive or a praise that happened in the last week.

6) At the end we all shared something that we need to be publicly held accountable for and wrote them down. It was a great time to see girls open up and share things that they really want to see changed in their life.

7) I had them get into pairs and pray for each other and any other request that came to mind from the night.

8) I think we are set to hit the ground running next week!

(Katie also brought up to the girls that everything sounds so serious, and it is but the girls also need to know that beyond the deeper sharing we also need to be sharing the praises in our lives and celebrate the things that God is teaching us. We can grow just as much by seeing that God is alive and active and doing great things in our lives. )

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