September 2009
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by Boyd Pelley and Ron Wilbur
Dallas 2009 ConferenceBoyd Pelley, founder of Churchteams, and Ron Wilbur, Director of Small Group Operations for Saddleback Church, both attended the recent NEXT Conference in Dallas. Here are their unique observations...
Why Conferences Are So Worth It by Boyd Pelley
Purpose Driven Small Groups wrapped up their 2009 conference year during the past couple of days with a conference in Dallas. I think I have been to every small group conference but one that they have done, just as I have been to every small group conference Willow has done in like 10 years. In addition, I have been to many other conferences as well. Here are the reasons I go to these conferences:
September Articles
 Rick Warren
by Rick Warren
Last month we looked at how we can experience emotional burnout through focusing on our feelings rather than facts, comparing ourselves to others, assuming blame for the actions of others, and exaggerating the negative. This month, we are going to look at four things that we can do to counteract emotional burnout. 

The thing I like about the Bible is that it doesn't just give us the causes of our problems in life, but it gives us the cures. God helped Elijah do four things that are just as applicable to our lives 2000 years later.  If you are on the verge of burnout, depressed, you've got the blahs, and you are tempted to be like Elijah and run away from that job, or that relationship, or that problem you're facing, then you need to do these four things.
by Steve Gladen
Last month we looked at "Gathering" as an important part of sustaining groups, now I want to take a look at infrastructure and the role it plays in keeping groups on purpose.  As you start to add groups to your church, a common problem is keeping them.  Groups left on their own will soon fade away.  Without the proper guidance, groups will become social communities, and without purpose people will quit coming because there are more than enough social communities pulling at us.

Let me go through some common questions on infrastructure to help us make "infrastructure" a strategic word instead of a task word.
by Steve Gladen

Looking for some tips to help balance your small groups? Pass these suggestions on to your leaders: 

FELLOWSHIP - Put together a scrapbook that traces the history of your small group. Include pictures of regular meetings as well as holiday parties, service projects, church events, and whatever else you've done together. The scrapbook is a great way to see how your group has grown and reached out to others. Be sure to review the book together anytime your group is about to give birth to a new group, or gathers with a group that had spun off earlier.
by Tom Atkins

I was raised in a Christian home and attended church every weekend. I never heard the word sin in church. I never heard about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  After college I was married and attended Catholic churches. I never opened a Bible. We had a wonderful family with two daughters and I ran a successful engineering company. Life was good, but I knew that something important was missing from my life.

Small Group Studies Bookshelf
Looking for a small group study? We feature new material every month.
Books, websites, videos of interest to those directing small group ministries.
Ask the Network - A Gathering of Men
Question MarkTHIS MONTH'S QUESTION is from Steve Gladen of Lake Forest - What type of celebratory/vision casting gatherings do you have for your small group leadership?
Our answer for this month comes from Joe Windham, one of our State Point People for Florida. 

Event Details:  Grace Family Church - GamePlan Men's Small Group Connection Event 

This event originated out of a meeting with my pastor back in June.  I was concerned with the low number of men's small groups we had.  At the time, we had less than twenty.  In comparison, our ladies had over 80 healthy groups.  So, my pastor prayed and felt that God was leading him to do a four week series to men in August.  I asked him if we could sandwich a small group connection event in the middle of the series and he agreed.

I knew for it to be effective we would need at least 50 trained leaders ready for action at the big event.  So, over June and July we prepared, raised up, and equipped 50 new leaders.
Secondly, we set the goal to... [Read full article
NEXT MONTH'S QUESTION is from Dafnette Jones of Silver Spring, Maryland: How do you encourage male participation and retention in small groups?  Do you plan fellowship outings, etc.?  How can we equip male leaders to facilitate community among men?

Send your answers and other questions to Who knows, your answer or question could be featured next month!
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