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Raising the bar on Small Groups

For the next couple of months we're studying as a staff team some books to help us serve and resource CU small groups better. Across the region we're meeting to study Leading Better Bible Studies (Rod & Karen Morris) and then Total Church (Tim Chester & Steve Timmis), ahead of some discussion in November when Marcus Honeysett is with us, and hopefully leading on to enhanced training for students in the region.
  • In chapter 1 of LBBS I'm struck by the need for a central purpose to leadership, namely Christ. Furthermore leadership is about knowing Christ and relationships. This is a great governing principle to have.
  • In chapter 2 they explore how adults learn. Many of us might be suspicious of this material, and I confess it's not where I'd look first. That said, it is very helpful to consider the need to "establish a need to learn" (p24) rather than assuming people want to, they note "information for the sake of information is not necessarily a compelling reason... to learn" (p24). Changed life is key, rooted in bringing out the message of Christ.
  • In chapter 3 a great comparison between inductive and deductive learning is given, encouraging us towards induction around three basic questions of observation, interpretation and application. Many styles of doing this are then illustrated though it is noted that method isn't the key. They cite Byer who wrote "our understanding of Scripture will be opened or blocked, more by our obedience than by our study methods" (p102).
This stands out for me: "Grace.. means we must avoid any interpretation of Scripture than shifts the focus away from what God has done for us and onto what we do for him" (p59) We come to see Christ, carefully learning and knowing from Scripture the one who is the completion of the prophetic word (Hebrews 1:1-2), the fulfillment of all prophecy (Acts 13:32-33), the end of David's line (Romans 1:3), the fulfilment of the promise to David (Acts 2:30-31), the salvation told of in the Old Testament (2 Timothy 3:15) and the concern of the whole Old Testament (Luke 24:27) (p60).

Subsequent chapters concern group life and leadership.


  1. Dave- I found this post through my google feed on small groups. I was writing about your interest in submitting an article on this topic (raising the bar in small groups) to to our new site

    If you think you might be interested, please contact me at editor [AT] smallgroupexchange [DOT] [COM]

    Thanks in advance.



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