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preparing for small group training


I'm looking at the handouts for the small group training tomorrow, which were sent to me in advance... Of course, I'll have more notes on how these are used in reference specifically to small groups; but I want to make a few general notes about my reactions to some of them because they impact me personally as I look over them.



North's Core Values



North's Core Values are basic principles that guide and steer us in all that we do. They give us perspective. Core Values define who we are and who we will become as we make choices and engage in the world around us.



TRUTH



The Bible is our ultimate guide and authority, the standard by which we live.



Our world is filled with competing ideas and values, voices everywhere demanding attention and allegiance. Sometimes, it's easy to become confused. Are there absolutes? Is anything absolutely right-or absolutely wrong? How can I sort things out and make sense out of all the confusion? We believe the Bible is God's written word. It helps us understand our world and ourselves. From beginning to end, it reveals the heart of God and His way of life. The Bible introduces us to Jesus Christ, God's Living Word. The Bible explains God's love and His desire to be in a life-giving relationship with us.



Truth is defined for us by the Bible. (II Timothy 3: 16)


WORSHIP



We respond to the greatness and goodness of God by humbling ourselves before Him.



Worship is a way of life...it is a humble spirit...it is the gathering of God's people to honor and serve Him...it includes prayer and song and teaching and listening and loving ...it is confession and repentance...it is the filling of the Holy Spirit...it is experiencing the presence of the living Christ. Worship requires the offering of every aspect of our lives, all of our capacities, senses, and creativity, in a lifetime of being poured out for the glory of our Creator, who is revealed to us as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It also includes meeting together regularly to honor Him.



Worship defines our relationship with God. (John 4:23)



COM

MUNITY



Our love for God is proved true by the way we love one another.



When we experience the presence of God we are inevitably drawn to embrace His people. The Lord calls us to live in community, sharing together the joys, sorrows, triumphs, struggles, and responsibilities of His work—and our lives—in this world. We develop and nourish life-changing relationships with each other, creating safe places, guided by God's Word. We stand by and protect one another, strengthening and supporting, working, learning, and playing, side-by-side.



As we learn more about God's love, we see it come to life in our hearts and relationships.



Community defines our relationship with others. (Hebrews 10:23-25)



MISSION



Jesus came to proclaim, heal, free, and restore. So do we.



God's love, experienced in worship and community, compels us to reach beyond ourselves and influence the world.



Jesus calls us to be "salt and light," change agents, which alter the taste and appearance of everything they touch. We are a people on mission-not just pursuing a project or program, but a people intentionally working for the redemption of a broken and suffering world.



Mission defines our relationship with the world. (Luke 4:17 -21)



Purpose Statement: The North Anderson Church of God exists to expand the Kingdom of God.




I really like this handout, and I wish that every church had one! The term "core values" has sounded like business-ese for a long time, but reading this handout makes a lot of sense to me. I've always wondered how I'm supposed to go about choosing a church. How do I know what to look for? The core values define what I should expect. It won't always be what I receive--people are fallible. But these are the things that define this church. They are what people look for when coming here; and if we look for these things, then we should also be working to evidence them.




Shepherding Plan



This handout has two major columns with sub-columns underneath. The left major column has two sub-columns. One has North's core values in it, and the other has questions related to each core value. The other major column is labeled "my plan" and has three subcolumns: this week, this month, and year. They are blank.



I converted this file to HTML in order to interpret it correctly--JAWS doesn't read Word tables very well. Fortunately, it converted well, and I've spent a good amount of time with the table navigation commands a few years ago, so I was able to explore the table and learn how the table cells were arranged in relation to each other. ... In the past, I would have had a tremendously hard time understanding the point of this handout, which is to evaluate myself and plan my responses to these questions over time.



The questions are:



Truth: Truth is defined for us by the Bible. (2 Timothy 3:16)



  • Am I reading and applying God’s word in my life daily?

  • What is my study of the Bible teaching me?

  • How are my actions being corrected by my study of the Bible?

  • Am I living righteously according to the Bible’s teaching?• Am I reading and applying God’s word in my life daily?

  • What is my study of the Bible teaching me?

  • How are my actions being corrected by my study of the Bible?

  • Am I living righteously according to the Bible’s teaching?



Worship: Worship defines our relationship with God. (John 4:23)



  • What does my relationship with God look like?

  • How is my spirit engaged in the pursuit of Truth?

  • Am I worshiping God in my actions? My heart? My mind?

  • Am I serving God in the area of my giftedness and passion?

  • Am I using my financial resources in a God-honoring way?ÿÿ



Community: Community defines our relationships with others. (Hebrews 10:23-25)vØW´vZ



  • How am I connecting to others in the body?

  • Am I loving others?

  • Am I listening to others heart cries?

  • Do my daily actions reflect an Acts 2 lifestyle?



Mission: Mission defines our relationship with the World. (Luke 4:17-21)



  • What lost person am I building a relationship with?

  • How am I reaching out beyond the walls of my church?

  • Who is my mission?



In time, I will reflect on each of these questions more deeply, probably within the context of other writing.




Forms



There are three forms in the packet. One is a sample small group application. 2 is a small group change request. 3 is a monthly report on small group activity that the leader fills out. I'll have to come up with a solution for this.





Typical Community Group



If I am interpreting this handout correctly, the group may include:



  • The overseer/coach

  • The leader/facilitator

  • The apprentice leader

  • Babysitter/children's leader

  • Hospitality person

  • Seekers

  • Extra care required members

  • Growing disciples

  • Open chair



All groups don't include all of these elements. I may be misinterpreting the ECR thing, but it seems to me that there may be some people who need extra care but aren't necessarily seekers, and at the same time they are having difficulty growing..




Managing Your Personal Schedule



I'm going to need some help interpreting this one--or else I'll just need to come up with my own ways to gage my time and stress management... I get bogged down sometimes in trying to make other people's techniques accessible to me instead of thinking about the heart of the problem and finding my own solutions to it. The point of this handout seems to be to display the weekly schedule in a calendar format with boxes for morning, afternoon, and evening so that you can fill in your scheduled activities and see how busy you are and evaluate it by checking off boxes, counting up your check marks, and weighing them against a scale. If I can understand the types of activities that people are tracking, I can use another method to talley these. Then again, an activity may count as stressful or busy for me that isn't in the average person's daily schedule... Basically, how many balls am I juggling? When I add dealing with disability concerns on top of school and other things, it alters my juggling factor. For instance, taking time to interpret these handouts is something that I should figure into my schedule...



For each activity you have on your schedule place a check in the corresponding box. This includes everything you are scheduled to do, including your regular
work as well as social commitments.



How many boxes did you have filled?



  • 20-21 Burnout

  • 18-19 Stress zone

  • 15-16 Busy but productive

  • 10-14 You’re on vacation

  • 6-9 Retirement lifestyle

  • 1-5 Get a life!



Let's look at it with next week's schedule, including making time for housework, which I have to schedule or else it doesn't get done.



  • Small group training

  • church

  • Mock class morning

  • Rheumatology

  • Mock class morning

  • Therapy in place of mock class afternoon

  • Toastmasters

  • Rehab

  • Hair appointment

  • Housework

  • Mock class morning

  • Days with C unknown



According to this measure, 10 to 14 is on vacation. Personally, I contend that this depends on what the 10 to 14 things are. I really dislike measuring stress based purely on numbers. None of the above factors in emotional stress associated with the particular events, dealing with transportation snafus, being in pain, etc.



At the bottom of the handout, there are other questions that I think are better.



  • How is your heart when you go to worship?

  • How are you doing really with God?

  • How is your personal quiet time?

  • Tend toward strong emotion easy?

  • Are your emotions raw?

  • Closed off to your emotions?

  • Tired?

  • Over weight?




The Scoop on Small Groups



The Bible study tips in this are very good. I'll have more to share on this in time--they gel a lot with other things I've been thinking about lately.



There are also upcoming events:



  • 08/05/06 9:00-11:00 Leading life-changing discussions

  • 09/02/06 9:00-11:00 Small group leader huddle

  • 10/13-10/14/06 Small group leader retreat



This newsletter, like most, needed some sprucing up before I could read it easily... I don't understand the point of breaking up an article that starts on p. 1, sticking in some other stuff on p. 2, and continuing the article on p. 3. It's a common journalistic practice, but I'll always think it's silly. I think that even if I was sighted, I would want to read the article straight through. It's hard on my thought process to have to search for the continuation point--and it's especially hard when I'm doing it without the benefit of being able to turn the page and quickly skim the text!



Enough whining! It's done, and I did get the benefit of reading the included excerpt From Thomas Merton's letters. I've always shied away from his writings--the style is difficult for me to follow. But maybe I'll give them a try...




Lego Activity



This is going to be a challenge... How am I going to participate effectively in this when I can't see what the other people in the group are doing...? It's a timed competition.., and I am to have the secret to the group's success that cannot be revealed, even to the group. Yikes!





It took me a good three hours to look over these... I hope it's good practice for class in some way... The knowledge that I have not been in school in eight years is always with me, even though I have always kept my mind active. I remember how long and hard I had to work during the semesters when my grades were good... Can I do it again? Can I really do this? Can I do it AND lead a small group? Can I keep track of all the information I need? How much should I be putting in braille, and how much time should I be allotting for this since I don't have an embosser? I've noticed that I don't fly on the slate quite as much as I used to... The arthritis probably contributes a lot to this... I expect a lot more of myself than I'm able to do--I keep thinking I will put out as much speed as I did when I was 23, and it just doesn't happen. It's something I have to accept and just go on with what I have to work with now. That's fine. I just wish I had a better understanding of what that was. I won't have that until fall rolls around.


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