February 2010
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by Cheryl Shireman

SGN Website AnimationWe are very excited to announce that our new Small Group Network Website is ready for your use! Go to smallgroupnetwork.com to check it out for yourself! This website is a great asset for the SGN and will serve as a portal for information and resources for Network members, as well as tool for Network Leaders to use to connect members to the Network and each other.

You will find:
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One Day Small Group Conference in the Houston Area!

Learn from the most successful small group model in America. Join Saddleback's Small Group Pastor, Steve Gladen, as he guides you through breaking the barriers that are holding your church back. Exciting, focused learning for your entire small group ministry! Join us at the Gulf Coast Christian Center in West Columbia, Texas.
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by Rick Warren

Rick Warren New 2010Last month we began exploring how we can take wise risks as leaders and the effect fear can have on us as we begin to think about taking risks. This month I will begin discussing the six necessary steps for accessing risk.

1.  The first step is information.  Get the facts. 

Before you do anything, before you make the decision, you need to get the facts.
Proverbs 14:8 says this, "The wise man looks ahead.  The fool attempts to fool himself and won't face the facts."  A lot of people live in denial.  They deny that their marriage is in trouble.  They deny that their health is in trouble.  They deny that their finances are in trouble.  They won't face the facts
Eighty percent of all new businesses fail within five years.  Why? Because they're started on a foundation of uneducated enthusiasm.  They haven't done their due diligence.  They haven't done their marketing, their planning, or their research.  They say, "I'd like to do this.  It sounds like a good idea.  I'll just do this."  And that's why they don't last five years.  
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Create Leadership with Intention and Focus
by Steve Gladen

Steve Gladen NewOn Friday night August 13th, we had a Gathering for our infrastructure of the Small Group Community for Saddleback Church. It is called our Community Leader Gathering. We had over 350 Community Leaders in attendance (our CLs oversee our Small Group Leaders). Later this fall, we will have our Gathering for the Small Group Leaders (we use the term Hosts). That Gathering is called our Small Group Host Gathering. In case you didn't get a chance to read it, check out my past article on the purpose and importance of Gatherings  here. As I reflect on our most recent gathering, I am reminded of ten leadership points that need to be in place for such a gathering. I will share them with you in this article.

by Steve Gladen250 Big Ideas (Steve's Tips)

As fall approaches, many churches are starting new small groups. Why not give your new groups some suggestions for health and balance from the beginning? Make these same suggestions available to your existing groups as a great way to breathe life and excitement into their group time.
Fellowship - Anytime someone new joins the group, go out to eat together. A casual restaurant is a comfortable, nonthreatening setting to introduce the new person to the group. It can sometimes be awkward for a new person to find himself sitting in a stranger's living room, surrounded by people he doesn't know. But a restaurant meeting, on the other hand, is just about having a meal, some laughs, and a good time. A restaurant meeting is also great for inviting nonbelievers. It can be tough to invite a nonbelieving coworker to church and even tougher to invite him or her to a Bible study group. It's much easier to invite that coworker to a restaurant to have dinner with a bunch of your friends.
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By Lance WittStressed Man

"The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception"Proverbs 14:8 (NIV). One of the crying needs of ministry leaders today is to "give thought to their ways". In the grind and pressure of daily ministry, it is easy to be consumed with driving the car without giving thought to where it is going.
We tend to give lots of attention and focus to where the church car is headed but not as much attention to where the "personal" car is headed. Most every church or parachurch ministry I know will take a couple of days annually to retreat and talk about plans for the future. Goals are established, initiatives are considered, resourcing is allocated, and course corrections are made. These leadership gatherings are crucial for the future effectiveness of the ministry.

Small Group Studies Bookshelf

Looking for a small group study? We feature new material every month.

Books, websites, and videos of interest to those directing small group ministries.
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Questions, comments, or suggestions?
Contact Editor - Cheryl Shireman, Small Group Network Coordinator at cheryls@saddleback.com