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FI

2018-2019

RST PRINCIPLES
SCRIPTURAL BASIS FOR SMALL GROUPS
ACTS 2:42-47
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to
prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All
the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to
anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in
their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the
people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
EPHESIANS 4:11-16
“It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors
and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we
all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole
measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and
blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful
scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is,
Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds
itself up in love, as each part does its work.”
HEBREWS 3:12-13
“See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But
encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s
deceitfulness.”
HEBREWS 10:23-25
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us
consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as
is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”
1 PETER 2:9
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may
declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

THREE COMPONENTS: FELLOWSHIP, PRAYER, DISCUSSION


Three Components: Fellowship, Prayer, Discussion
Each part should get equal “billing” and “air time”. However, this is over the course of weeks; don’t be rigid
with your time from week to week. Do your best to start on time and end on time, especially for those with
kids (you may be one of them). You should decide the order of events, based on the needs of the group. For
instance,
• If you have several couples that come a little late, have fellowship first.
• If prayer time is staying superficial, have it last; perhaps the discussion of the Word will prompt heartlevel
issues to come to the surface.
• If the discussion time is crowding out time for the other two, move it to the end (and hold to your
advertised quitting time).

FELLOWSHIP
HOUSE SET-UP IS IMPORTANT
• Be observant. Notice if anyone has any special needs, and have the house prepared for them in advance.
• Check the lighting. Some may need more than you for reading the small print of their Bible.
• Gather up the pens in your house and have them ready for prayer time and discussion.
• Make changes where changes are needed, and try to be consistent on everything else.
SOCIALS HELP A LOT
• They help the group “gel”, especially where the group is diverse.
• Schedule these (at least tentatively) on the first night you meet. Ask everyone in advance to bring their
calendars.
• Get creative. Go to a different part of town, do something that’s age-appropriate for absolutely no one in
your group, something relaxing that fosters conversations that would not normally happen.
FOOD IS GOOD
• Send around a dessert sign-up at the beginning. It is helpful for the host to call and remind people it’s
their turn the week they are signed up.
• Popcorn is a universal pleaser. Gives an alternative to those who may be trying to cut back on sweets or
have dietary restrictions.
• Listen to conversations and try to anticipate in future weeks what they like.
• Offer to let those coming straight from work have dinner with you.
LISTENING IS CRUCIAL
Listening with a view to remembering and acting on what we hear is essential. The most interesting
conversationalists are those who speak little and listen a lot.
PRAYER
Your prayer requests set the tone; be willing to share from your own life and heart. In light of Hebrews 10, let
us commend and encourage those who open up about their fight against both external and internal sins. How
many times have you heard someone confess that they were struggling with covetousness? Yet how many
external sins grow from breaking the Tenth Commandment? It would actually be, in my opinion, a good sign if
someone asked for prayer for dealing with such a sin in your group . . .
Remembering requests from previous weeks is important and thoughtful. Sometimes folks will even forget
they shared something and it will remind them to keep praying for that.
CHANGE IT UP
Talk about this with your leader/host on a regular basis, and try different things to achieve what you’re
missing or desiring:
• Pray for the person/family on your right . . . to get the group going.
• Have one person close (instead of everyone praying) . . . if running out of time.
RECORDING REQUESTS
So that the leader can stay focused on everything going on, it’s often better for someone else, perhaps his wife,
to record prayer requests. Encourage people to write down their requests and establish a system early on to
systematically continue to pray for everyone.
CALL PEOPLE MID-WEEK
This is important - people know you’re taking time out to do this, and you’re expressing sincere concern for
them. This is especially true when they know you’re praying over specific details of their situation. This need
not be a long or involved call - just touch base.
DISCUSSION
We’ve already said quite a bit about the leader’s mindset going into the discussion time. Be humble, be
gracious, be encouraging, be yourself. No need to impress anyone; impress them with Christ, for the sake of
his name. That’s your center.
PREPARATION
Be prepared to lead the group, should they be quiet. At the same time (and this is hard for most leaders), be
prepared to not share most of your “good points” that you came across in your prep time. Why? It may mean
that your group is also saying all those things, except in their own way. To hear someone in your group say
the same thing a great theologian did, only in his own words, is a great thing! Relish and encourage that.
OPENING
Be prepared with an opening that could carry and “warm up” the group, if needed. This is an art form and is
dependent on the characteristics of your group. Corny is OK at this point.
GETTING THROUGH THE QUESTIONS
This is something every group deals with. Here are some pointers:
• Encourage everyone to actually answer the questions in writing beforehand. The discussion is always
richer when this is happening.
• Think about possible transitions and follow-on questions as you go through the questions yourself. Openended
questions, especially about life application, are great.
• As the leader, don’t show up with an empty question sheet, unless it’s in case someone forgot their own.
• Alternating between men and women on certain questions can be enlightening.
• Remember that each person who did the questions probably thought a different one was the most
thought provoking. So then try your best to touch on most of them.
QUIETER FOLKS
• Try to include them, but don’t openly identify them as “the quieter people”.
• Observe what they gravitate to during fellowship time. You might call them out on topics that they’ve
previously talked about. “I appreciated what so-and-so said when we were talking earlier about this-and that
. . .”
• Be patient. Some people just take time, and that’s just all right.
REMEMBER WHY WE’RE HERE
• We want our people to love Christ more. What does this look like?
• We want people to obey him more out of that growing love. What does this look like?
• We want our fellowship to resemble a “basking-in” of His love and grace to us, and our love and
obedience to Him. What does this look like?
• We want to come alongside each other as Christ has come alongside us, with the same patient, accepting
love that Christ showed us. What does this look like?
• We want our people to humbly and tangibly serve each other just as Christ has humbly and tangibly
served us. What does this look like?
CHILDCARE
CHILDCARE
This has perennially been the trickiest part of LifeGroups, at least in terms of planning and logistics.
GENERAL GUIDELINES
• If you keep the kids on-site, be deliberate and edifying, whatever you do with that time.
• Work hard to keep the kids from interfering with the group. Why?
§ Kid interruptions can have a cooling effect on discussion.
• It’s the only time that some moms can complete uninterrupted paragraphs in conversation all week.
• Keep it open to change. It’s OK to adopt a different approach later for the sake of the group.
• If finances are an impediment to getting a babysitter, give people the opportunity to contact you privately
to discuss it.
DIFFERENT APPROACHES
 No kids on-site. Simple, no-fuss.
 Parents go together to pay for a babysitter on-site. Less expensive than babysitting. Often will require
picking up and taking home the babysitter.
 Childcare at a nearby home. Requires more logistics (and a nearby house). However, if it works, this is
the preferred route to take.
 Unpaid, ministry-minded teenager watches the kids. Pastor Brandon may be a good person to talk to
about this.
 Rotation. Rotate between which adults will watch kids each week and miss the group discussion.
CHECKLISTS
LEADER
• Prayerfully prepare
• Review prayer requests from previous weeks
• Pray
• Plan how prayer time will go
• Plan what order the group will take that evening
• Review last week with hosts/spouse; consider their suggestions
• Consider special needs in the group that should be followed up on
• Bring a few blank question sheets

HOST
• Clean? Organized?
• Lighting
• Food
• Coffee
• Hot water for tea / hot chocolate
• Sundries for coffee
• Plates and utensils
• Popcorn
• Seating
• Pens
• Cups/mugs/glasses
• Water pitcher
• Dinner for early birds (optional)
• Kids’ area ready

ATTENDANCE RECORDING