If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 2 Cor 5:17
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Investing in God’s people from life to life
These pages are designed to aid study or investigation for Christian discipleship through individual Bible study, Cell groups, Home groups, or meeting one to one. The questions could be used alone allowing each person to use their own Bible.
A group has a life of its own. If you understand how groups work they are much easier to lead. Since a group has a life of its own, if you understand how they work you can develop strategies that will enable you to stay ahead of the group or redirect it if it goes off track. By doing this you can help the group reach its aims and thus serve the group members.
There are a number of key dynamics for groups to work. Here are some thoughts on practicalities. It is worth looking at the next page Environments for growth, which sets out a Biblical framework for these suggestions..
An agreed aim will help keep the group on track. A group that does not have a stated purpose will be manoeuvred to an unstated purpose by those who have a strong agenda.
The aim does not have to be sensible. It might be that you are a group of friends and you want to meet up. If you know that, it makes life easier later on.
A word of caution. If there is a cost to meeting, either in time, money or emotions, then there needs to be some immediate tangible benefit from meeting. Although the primary objective might just be ‘to be together’ that will not be enough to keep the group together over the long term.
A leader will give direction and momentum to a group. A group without leadership will tend to stagnate or just go round in circles. When there is little, or poor leadership then either a strong member of the group will take over the leadership, or the group will meander since no one is willing to put themselves forward and give direction. Leaders can feel insecure in leading, but choosing not to lead is very unhelpful to the development of the group as a whole or the people in the group.
The strength of the leadership will be down to the style of the person who ends up leading.
Strong leader types have a great deal of clarity about where they want the group to go. They have clarity about how to get there and set out a program to do it. The more urgent and focused the task, the more important it is to have a strong leader.
Unobtrusive leader types have a way of leading without anyone really realising that anyone is actually leading. Asked afterwards, people might not think there was a leader, things seemed to have just happened. When a group needs to develop itself and its identity more than achieve something, then an unobtrusive leader works best. This type of leadership is achieved by throwing questions into the group, and encouraging people to think through their answers.
Dynamic groups don’t just happen. Groups start as people who don’t know one another. There is hesitancy to speak and few decisions are made or comments voiced that require any degree of trust. How do groups come together?
Since there is a significant cost to any form of bonding beyond merely spending time together, it normally needs stronger leadership if the process is to be accelerated.
Regular meetings on set days in the week or month enable people to block out the time for a meeting on their agendas. A failure to meet consistently will lead to inconsistent attendance.
Some groups have members with such irregular hours that consistent meeting is impossible and time has to be devoted each meeting to arranging the next date.
Changing the set pattern without prior agreement can be disastrous in terms of people continuing with the group. There is something about breaking the flow that leads to some questioning whether they want to be involved.
A group’s size determines how people relate. The smaller the group the more intimate. A group of 5-6 is ideal for a discussion where everyone participates. By 12-14 a group is confused as to whether it is a group or an audience. By 16-20 a group is largely an audience and only the boldest will speak.
The larger the group, the greater is the need for strong leadership to make it work. Sometimes one would prefer a larger group. For instance if there are many quiet members you may need a larger group to carry a discussion.