August 2009
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by Cheryl Shireman
The Purpose Driven Small Group Network is the dream of Steve Gladen, Pastor of the Small Group Community of Saddleback Church. After receiving questions from so many Small Group Point People over the years, many ready to throw in the towel, Steve began to wonder how he could help all of these people beyond a short phone conversation or email. People graphicAs he began to explore possibilities, he realized, beyond an occasional conference, very few of these leaders had contact with any other Small Group Point People - even those that lived just a few miles from each other. At that point, he started to dream of a free Network that would connect all of these people to each other. It is Steve's goal that no Small Group Point Person ever stands alone. To this end, he created the PDSG Network to connect Small Group Point People across North America so that they might build relationships, encourage one another, and share resources and ideas...
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August Featured Articles
 Rick Warren
by Rick Warren
With today's high pressure lifestyle it's easy to run out of emotional energy and experience burnout.  This is not a new problem, or unique to you. It is a problem that is as old as mankind, and it is a warning light that something is out of balance in your life. 

Look at the example of Elijah found in 1 Kings 19:1-8.  Elijah was a great man of God.  He had just had a very high spiritual experience atop Mt. Carmel. Yet with every mountaintop there is inevitably a valley, a low.  When Elijah faced his low and became depressed, he ran off to the other side of the mountain and hid under a tree, then later hid in a cave and said, "God, I'm so depressed I want You to kill me." 

What causes that kind of burnout?  How do you go from that kind of high to that kind of low? A number of things:
  1. Fear causes it.  Verse 3, "Elijah was afraid and ran for his life."  Fear can cause burnout.
  2. Resentment can cause burnout.  In verse 4 he said, "I'm fed up.  Lord, I've had enough.  I don't want any more."
  3. Low self esteem.  He said, "I'm no better than my ancestors."  He was comparing himself.  He said, "I'm no good."
  4. Anger can cause burnout.  In verse 10 he complains to God. "God, I've been serving you yet none of these people want to follow your will."
  5. Loneliness. 
  6. Worry.  "Now they're trying to kill me too." 

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by Steve Gladen

There are two questions inherent in every small group ministry: How do you get people connected into new groups, and how do you sustain existing groups?"  There are two crucial areas you need to consider in sustaining your Small Group Ministry.  One is how you do infrastructure; not sexy, but needed if you have over ten groups in your church.  This topic will be discussed in next month's issue. The second area, and the topic of this article, is Sustaining Gatherings.
What in the world is a Gathering? Why are Gatherings important and why should your church do a Gathering?  How do you do a Gathering?  Are Gatherings just for large Small Group Ministries?  Each of these questions needs to be answered in order for you to sustain the small groups you start.
More Articles
Steve's Tips
Monthly tips for developing balanced and healthy small groups.
Soul Searchin: Classic Christianity
Monthly nourishment to feed your weary soul.
Small Group Studies - August 2009
Looking for a small group study?
Resources For You - August 2009
Books, websites, and videos for Small Group Point People.
Ask the Network - Curriculum for the 30 Something Crowd

THIS MONTH'S QUESTION is from Elaine Morse, our State Point Person for Washington - What is the latest in curriculum? What works well for moving a younger (30 something) crowd toward spiritual growth and action in their communities?

We received a great answer from Jen Hurst of California: One way I've been trying to address community action in our church is by writing a blog. It's a way to address questions that are asked, to update people on service opportunities and announcements, and to model easy serving and engagement with the community. We started using a blog as opposed to emailing or handing out a newsletter so that it is easily accessible and so that we can track how much it is actually read. Those who don't have email are mailed a newsletter quarterly. [Read full article]

NEXT MONTH'S QUESTION is from Steve Gladen, - "What type of celebratory/vision casting gatherings do you have for your small group leadership?"
Send your answers and other questions to Who knows, your answer or question could be featured next month!
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Contact Editor - Cheryl Shireman, PDSG Network Coordinator at