Training 101 for

Small Groups

Joining the small group ministry team at church? Complete this series with a group or mentor for a hands-on training experience.

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T1: The Role of Groups

Key Points:

  • Sermons are important, but people need a shepherd to really apply truth to their lives. Matthew 9:36
  • Small groups strategically allow every church member to receive pastoral care. Exodus 18:13-22
  • Small groups are one of the primary environments where people can go “full circle” in their faith.
  • To make disciples, a group’s leaders must create a healthy group environment and develop the people in the group. That’s what we’ll talk about next.
Talk About It
  1. Initial reactions?
  2. Think of the best small group you have been a part of. What made it a great group?
  3. What are the relative strengths of a sermon versus a small group discussion? How do the two work together to make disciples?
  4. Have you ever experienced pastoral care in a small group setting? How did it impact your life?
  5. What do you think will eventually happen in a small group that is not intentional about making disciples who make disciples?
  6. What are the most important personal traits that will help a small group leader succeed? Explain your answer.
  7. As you prepare to lead a group, how does it help you to keep in mind your part versus God’s part?
  8. Is there a step you need to take based on today’s topic?
T2: Running a Group

Key Points:

  • Use the FLEX method to run your group, and you’ll be modeling how to disciple in other environments.
  • Find topics from, and
  • Try to make it look so easy that others will begin making disciples in their life.
  • The goal is to discover truth together, one conversation at a time.
Talk About It
  1. Initial reactions?
  2. What traits have you seen that make a group weird or unwelcoming for newcomers?
  3. Why is it important for a group leader to NOT adopt the role of Bible teacher or expert?
  4. Have you been in a group that felt like a safe place for you to share openly about your life? What made it that way?
  5. What are some topics or series that would be interesting for your group?
  6. Is there a step you need to take based on today’s topic?
T3: Developing People

Key Steps:

  1. Develop people who care about people. Colossians 3:12-15
  2. Develop disciples who make disciples. 2 Timothy 2:2
  3. Develop team members who lead.
Talk About It
  1. What’s your initial reaction to this topic?
  2. Describe a time when you were part of a successful team (sports, work, arts, etc.). What did the leader do to make the team effective?
  3. Think of a good group you have attended. Read Colossians 3:12-16. What did the leader do to create that kind of care? What did the members do?
  4. As you start mentoring people in your group, who would you begin with, and why?
  5. How will it benefit your group as the members learn to start mentoring others?
  6. Identify some challenges that make it hard for leaders to share ministry responsibility with others.
  7. What steps did someone once take to help you develop as a leader?
  8. What situations would require extra conversations or meetings with your co-leaders? With your coach or pastor?
  9. Is there a step you need to take based on today’s topic?
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T4: What Jesus Envisioned

Key Points:

  • Jesus envisioned a church full of disciple-makers. Matthew 28:19-20
  • Disciple-makers have a heart for people outside the church.
  • In a disciple-making church, the leaders are strategic about equipping people to minister. Ephesians 4:11-12
Talk About It
  1. What’s your initial reaction to this topic? What jumped out at you?
  2. Read Matthew 28:19-20. How do you think Jesus would respond to how most churches define “discipleship” today?
  3. How many people in your church are actively investing in people inside your church? How many are actively investing in people outside of your church?
  4. What is your strategy for making disciples right now? Have you personally used the strategy recently? How many others have used it?
  5. Is there a step you need to take based on today’s topic?
T5: Defining Discipleship

Key Points:

  • In a culture of discipleship it’s the norm – not the exception – for people to be making disciples. Ephesians 4:12-13
  • A “disciple” is someone who goes “full circle” to trust Jesus, honor God, and make disciples.
  • “Disciple-making” happens through a series of conversations, and that’s what our tools empower you to do. Ephesians 4:15
Talk About It
  1. What’s your initial reaction to this topic?
  2. What kind of culture does your church have right now? What about your specific ministry at church? Make a list of descriptive words or phrases.
  3. Have you ever seen a discipleship culture at work in a church or ministry? If so, describe it.
  4. “A small group is just one important part of the broader discipleship structure in your church.” Explain this statement. Do you agree?
  5. Do you think it’s worth the effort to create a discipleship culture in your church? Explain.
  6. Is there a step you need to take based on today’s topic?
T6: The Environments

Key Points:

  • Disciple-making happens in four main environments at church: the family, the small group, the ministry team, and one-on-one.
  • Equip your parents to disciple their kids at home. Deuteronomy 6:6-7
  • Leverage your small groups for disciple-making.
  • Leverage your ministry teams for disciple-making.
  • Every believer in your church can go make disciples. Matthew 28:19-20

Talk About It

  1. What’s your initial reaction to this topic?
  2. Why don’t many parents view themselves as pastors in the home? What have you tried to do in the past to encourage discipleship at home?
  3. Read Exodus 18:14-18. Pick out the words or phrases that describe the challenges of leading a growing organization. Why do you think Moses tried to do all of the work by himself?
  4. In what ways can small group leaders “pastor” their group? What are some of their limitations?
  5. What comes to mind when you think of the word “mentor”? Describe a mentoring relationship that you’ve experienced.
  6. List a few issues that would be more helpful to talk about with a mentor than with a small group.
  7. How would a handful of trustworthy marriage mentors impact your church? How would it impact your personal ministry schedule? Answer these questions for other areas of ministry in your church.
  8. Read 2 Timothy 2:2. Paul was prescribing a replicating mentoring ministry. Do you have one in your church? Do you want one? Why or why not?

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Training FAQ

Q. How does ministry training work?

Training tracks are designed to help you go “full circle” with a group or mentor over the course of 6 or more weeks. Just cover a topic every week with a group or mentor, watching the video ahead of time to prepare for the conversation. Connect in person or on the phone and use the discussion questions provided to learn together. The goal is to help you pursue God “full circle”, which is our picture of discipleship:

Q. What is the structure of a training track?

Training tracks are divided into two sections. First you’ll cover training topics specific to your area of ministry. Feel free to cover additional topics as needed. Then you’ll cover “big picture” topics to learn about how your specific ministry fits in to the overall picture of discipleship at your church.

Q. What if we need more than 6 weeks?

Then take more time! We recommend covering additional topics at the end of any section as needed for your own pursuit of God. 

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