February 2010
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Interview with Author, Steve Gladen 


This month we are doing an interview with Steve Gladen whose long-awaited book, Small Groups With Purpose: How to Create Healthy Communities is now available. Experienced at leading one of the largest Small Group Ministries in the country, and with over 25 years of leading Small Group Ministry in various sized churches in various denominations, Gladen's book will be a welcome addition to the bookshelves (or Kindles!) of many Small Group Pastors

Q: After over 25 years of working in small group ministry, why did you decide to write a book now?

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by Rick Warren

Rick Warren New 2010

Last month I started a three-part series on how to let go of the past and move into the future. We looked at the first thing one must do to let go of the past - I must give up my grudges. This month we will look at the second thing you must do to disengage from an unhealthy focus on past hurts.



Sorrow is a normal part of life. Everybody eventually experiences loss. Many of you have had losses in the last year. And it hurts. And grieving is a natural part of life. There's nothing wrong with mourning. The Bible says, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." The Bible says it's OK to weep and grieve; it's a part of life.


But there's a big difference between mourning and moaning. Moaning is self-pity --
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Online Small Groups - A New Frontier?

by Steve Gladen

Steve Gladen NewIn 1999 a team of us met with talkcity.com to learn from them. The lady we talked to shared how they were 80% volunteer driven and had 1.2 million people in chat rooms in any given month!  What church wouldn't want an audience of 1.2 million people? But in Chat Rooms? Really? Fast forward to 2011 and social media is dominant force. Back in 1999 I heard stories of community that was happening in chat rooms. Last month I chatted with Scott Heiferman, CEO of meetup.com. They have 7.2 million people in their chat rooms. Again, stories of community echo those that I heard in 1999. Evangelism tells us to go where the people are at. Yet in church circles we seem to turn a blind eye to where millions of people gather. At Saddleback we've experimented with 'Online Small Groups' for the last two years. Different than

by Steve Gladen250 Big Ideas (Steve's Tips)

As summer approaches, give your groups some out-of-the-box ideas to balance the biblical purposes!


Fellowship - A day-long or an overnight group retreat can be a special time of fellowship. It is the same as a month's worth of group meetings, and is a great way to accelerate friendships within your small group.


Discipleship - Pass out a paper to each group member. Then have everyone read Psalm 96 individually. In the New Living Translation, verse 3 says, "Publish his glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does." Now have each person in the group write out a prayer thanking... 

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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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Contact Editor - Cheryl Shireman, Small Group Network Coordinator at cheryls@saddleback.com