Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Helping sermons stick

Brian Lowery, reflecting on the work of Larry Osborne, explains the benefits of sermon-based small groups:
Small group leaders have often been trained to lead a group of people through a study of a book of the Bible (Philippians), a book by a Christian author (Philip Yancey's The Jesus I Never Knew), or a hot topic item (The Da Vinci Code). In sermon-based small groups, leaders help their small group focus on what was learned in Sunday's sermon. In other words, small groups are not a supplemental or additional study. They are more of an extended study. To put it another way: The aim of small groups has often been to get one more Bible lesson or life lesson into people's minds. The goal of sermon-based small groups is to make sure people explore every nook and cranny—related themes, related texts, points of application, issues for prayer—of the one lesson they just had together in worship. One idea, one theme, one text, contends for people's minds at a given time.
I've believed strongly in the power of sermon-based small groups for quite a while. If you're interested in starting them at your congregation, you might be interested in my handbook for training small-group leaders.


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