As we head into the holiday season, we're taking a look back at 2013 and some of your favorite Training Tools and Bible studies. The variety is amazing. The Bible studies range from from Francis Chan to N. T. Wright to mental illness to simplicity. And the Training Tools range from marketing your ministry to coaching leaders and ministering to difficult group members.
If you're new to SmallGroups.com, these resources are the perfect place to start. And if you're a long-time friend, well, make sure you have these in your arsenal.
- Francis Chan: Sold Out to Jesus
Francis Chan is pastor of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, California, and a popular author and speaker. In this 3-session Video Bible Study, he talks about the supremacy of Christ detailed in Philippians 3. Chan reminds us that fellowship with Christ often comes through suffering. Although we tend to see suffering as a bad thing, this passage shows that it can actually be a blessing. As we are consumed by Jesus and Jesus alone, we begin to understand what really matters in life. Videos and a discussion guide are included.
- Market Your Small-Group Ministry
Whether you're just starting your ministry, relaunching it, or simply continuing a healthy ministry, small-group point people need an intentional strategy for marketing the small-group ministry. Experts like Steve Gladen, Mike Mack, Carter Moss, Will Johnston, and Ben Reed have contributed to this incredible Training Tool, sharing the wisdom they've gained from leading small-group ministries. Learn how to develop a marketing plan, communicate effectively, keep small groups in front of your congregation regularly, and pull off a successful campaign.
- Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense
N. T. Wright shares the truths from his book Simply Christian in this 10-session Video Bible Study. Wright outlines Christianity in a way that challenges viewers but uses language that is easy to understand. These 10 video lessons also come with a PDF discussion guide that corresponds to each lesson.
- Small-Group Director Orientation Guide
Whether you're called the small-group director, pastor, champion, or coordinator, you're the one leading the small-group ministry. And if that's you, you know what an amazing and challenging adventure it can be. That's why we've created the Small-Group Director Orientation Guide. This Training Tool will help lay a solid foundation for small-group point people. With a refresher course on the purpose of small groups, directions on how to choose the right structure for your ministry, and realistic ideas for training leaders, this resource will help small-group directors start, restart, or reexamine their small-group ministries.
- Ministering to Difficult Group Members
Leading a group seems so honorable, grand, and life-changing … until you run into difficult group dynamics. It's amazing how the actions of one person can dramatically alter the group. One person giving a little too much advice, one person talking a little too much, and the whole group is affected. Despite all the work you've put in to create a safe environment, it can all come crashing down when difficult group dynamics reign. And that's exactly why you need to learn how to address the issues. This resource will give you the tools you need to keep your group healthy and on track—even when you have some interesting group dynamics at work.
- Ministering to those with a Mental Illness
This 4-session Bible study will help you discern how to help those who are suffering from a mental illness. It covers such topics as what it means to be a Christian who is suffering emotionally, how to discern if something is a mental illness or has other causes, how the church should respond to those with mental illness, and how to provide hope for those who are depressed.
- Bible Study Basics: Philippians
In our world, people are pretty obsessed with themselves. But Paul says that Christ-followers must life a different way: a life of humility. As we take on Christ's mindset of humility, we will begin to see life and death as gain—not because we are glorified, but because Christ is.
This Bible Study Basics study can be done in any number of sessions you'd like, with the ideal number being 5-7 sessions. It includes excellent discussion questions for the text, fun icebreakers and activities to engage group members, clear application points, great tips on leading discussion, and information on how to make the study work for all levels of spiritual maturity.
- Coaching Small-Group Leaders
Small-group leaders play a vital role in the discipleship process of many churches by teaching, supporting, and even confronting the members of their groups. But who teaches, supports, and confronts the group leaders? That is largely the role of small-group coaches. This Training Tool can help focus and strengthen your church's coaching ministry. And if your church doesn't support small-group leaders with coaches yet, this resource can help you get started today.
- A Life of Simplicity
This 4-session Bible study will help you and your group members consider what a life of simplicity looks like and why God calls us to simple lives. Learn the way to the simple life—and recognize that the organizational advice given by popular magazines and websites just won't cut it.
- Empowering Group Members
While the desire to see spiritual growth is a good thing, we can't make other people change. But we can create environments where change can happen, and empower group members to take their next spiritual steps. Use this Training Theme resource to hold a training event for small-group leaders, for one-on-one training with coaches, or as supplemental handouts for leaders to read on their own. However you use it, leaders will gain lots of practical ideas for empowering their group members. In this one resource you'll receive a devotional for leaders, two assessments, two case studies, six how-to articles, an assessment leaders can use with their group members, and a retreat plan.
Did we miss your favorite? Share your top SmallGroups.com resource with us below.