The Top 10 Downloads of 2012

The Top 10 Downloads of 2012

Incredible resources that will change your small-group ministry

I feel privileged to put together resources to help you minister through small groups. And it brings me a lot of joy to see that our resources have met your needs. This year, a variety of resources really hit the spot for you: a new orientation guide for small-group directors, the back-to-basics Leading 101 resource, several video Bible studies, and more. They may be the top sellers from 2012—but they're still perfect for 2013.

1. 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. From organizing the structure of the ministry to meeting with coaches to talking about small groups from the pulpit, the small-group director makes sure that small groups have what they need to be successful. It's no small task, and yet many small-group directors find they're given a small-group ministry with little to no instruction.

That's why we've created the Small-Group Director Orientation Guide. This guide 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. Plus, if you've inherited your ministry, there's a great article on how to take charge without losing leaders who were loyal to the previous director.

2. Francis Chan: Sold Out to Jesus (3 session course)

Francis Chan is pastor of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, California, and a popular author and speaker. In this 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.

3. Creative Leader Training

Regardless of the small-group leader training offered to new leaders at your church, there are issues and needs that come up that require additional training. And many churches like the idea of training events where all the small-group leaders are present. But too often these events are poorly attended and elicit negative feedback from leaders.

In this resource, you'll learn the secrets to holding training events that small-group leaders want to attend. Learn from the experiences of people who have been training leaders for years. Plus, we offer several field-tested activities you can incorporate into your next training event.

4. Small-Group Leader Orientation Guide

This guide is designed to help you equip your church to provide orientation and basic training to new small-group leaders, and to help seasoned small-group leaders refresh themselves on their responsibilities. You may use it either for a group training session or to give individually to small-group leaders.

5. Leading 101

There's a reason college students are required to take 101 classes—they set a foundation for more in-depth classes they'll take later. These classes give the basics and serve as a survival guide for the subject.

When small-group leaders begin their first groups, they need a 101 class, too. That isn't to say they won't ever need more in-depth training, but they need a base—something to help them get off to a great start and navigate the responsibilities of their role.

That's exactly what this resource is designed to do. This incredible resource gathers some of our best articles for small-group leaders. Learn how to prepare for group meetings, lead discussions, handle challenging group dynamics, welcome new members, and apprentice new leaders. Use this resource to train yourself, or use it with the small-group leaders you coach. Either way, it's a valuable resource.

6. Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense(10-session study)

N.T. Wright shares the truths from his book Simply Christian in these 10 video sessions. 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.

7. Exegesis and Hermeneutics for Small Groups

Unfortunately, exegesis and hermeneutics are terms often only found in seminary textbooks, and are not common with everyday Christians. But they should be—or at least their principles should be. The fact is that we all interpret the Bible every time we read it, and it's helpful to have some principles to rely on so that we're interpreting the Bible faithfully.

This resource will help you better prepare for Bible study with your small group and give you tips on leading your small-group members in interpreting the Bible.

8. Birthing Groups Well

Whether or not you've experienced it, new groups can be birthed in a healthy, caring way. This resource is specifically for group leaders who want to know how to birth new groups in a healthy way, but small-group coaches and directors can learn a lot, too. Discover how to focus on leadership development, identify and train apprentices, prepare for a smooth transition, and lead the first meeting of a newly birthed group.

9. Is Our Church Discipling?

What does it look like for a disciple to be "fully trained" (Luke 6:40)? The first assessment in this 17-page pack can help you clarify what to aim for as you disciple people in your church. The rest of these assessments will help you evaluate how different aspects of your church's life and ministry might be facilitating or hindering people's growth in Christlikeness.

10. James MacDonald on Being Dead to Sin (4 session study)

In these four videos from James MacDonald, your group members will learn what it means to embrace the new life Christ gives. Discuss how to break the power of sin, live in your new identities, and walk in newfound freedom.

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