Sharing Group Team

Sharing Group Ministries Team
of Immanual Lutheran church
Loveland, Colorado.

Our Mandates
Given to us when the congregation formed us in June 2007:

1.  Prepare regular meetings of all small group leaders for mutual assistance and training.

2.  Ensure that current lists of all Immanuel small groups are readily available.

3.  Promote participation in small groups in an ongoing way.

4.  Periodically provide small group leaders with suggestions for materials.

5.   Devise ways to add new small groups on a continuing basis.

6.   Provide ideas to other Immanuel committees and meetings for adding sharing and prayer.

7.  Recruit and train new leaders on a continuing basis.

Our Formation.

IImmanuel has had many successful Small Group initiatives over the years, and many groups formed during those times are still continuing. Many of those initiatives were sponsored by the Assimilation Team. When the idea of forming a new team came up in 2006, the first step was to gather a meeting of all interested parties to a small groups “summit.” From that meeting came our recommendations to the congregation. One of the key ideas was to invite each of the other Teams to send a representative to the Sharing Group Team meetings. This was because almost every team at Immanuel has a small group component. Every team has something to contribute to small group development, and the Sharing Group Team has the desire to help every other Team become successful. In June 2007 at  a congregational annual meeting, the new Sharing Groups Team was authorized. (See Appendix 1 at bottom of page).

 

Our Initiatives.
These highlights from our meetings show the gradual development of our action plans:.

Sept 07. Elected a chairman and talked through the congregational mandates.

Oct 07. Began custom of beginning each meeting with a time of sharing and prayer, in order to model how every group at Immanuel can have these elements of s sharing group. Also began the custom of handing out an updated list of people who are currently in small groups. Elected a recording secretary.  Discussed what should be in an Immanuel Small groups website, and what understandings about Immanuel small groups should be expressed in it. We agreed that we should be supportive of all groups at Immanuel, but not “controlling.”

Dec 07. Talked about the website draft, especially what expectations we expect of small groups, and the concept of small group “covenant.” Added a “group covenant” sample to our web pages. CURRENT GROUPS. We discovered 8 groups currently meeting, involving 68 people.

Jan 08. Began asking people to write paragraphs about “what small groups mean to me” for the monthly church newsletter. Agreed to invite people in New Members classes to form or join small groups. Decided to produce a tri-fold brochure about Immanuel’s small groups.

March 08. Instructions for linking to our church library’s search page for finding small group materials was put into newsletter and added to our Small Groups web page, which has now been published. (On the library search page, select “search by Keyword” and write in “groups.”) We agreed to set aside one month each year as “Visit a Small Group” month. Discussed promoting the idea of small groups visiting one another. Agreed to work toward setting up small interest groups that could have a sharing component. Agreed to sponsor a small group table at the upcoming ministry fair being sponsored by Human Care team. NEW GROUP has been formed by Sedlaceks and Gates.

August 08. Report by those who have been trying to start groups for young singles. Suggestion that small group leaders could be table leaders for the “Ablaze” Sunday Bible study planned for next January. Draft of Small Groups trifold brochure was approved for publication. NEW GROUPS are being formed by Carpenter and Bremer.

November 08. Report on table set up in atrium of new church, and presentation made as a Ministry Highlight during each service, and agreement to do this every year in the fall. A “hiking  group” has been formed from signatures collected at this table. People attending New Members classes will be encouraged to form new small groups. It was agreed to create a leadership training event for the coming April. NEW GROUP, for parents of teens, is being started by the Frerichs.

March 09. The Leadership training program will be April 22, and the entire congregation will be invited. People will be encouraged to visit small groups during April. A Hiking Page web site has been created. NEW GROUP has been started by Meier’s. TOTAL GROUPS. The new list took off two that have discontinued, one for college age and one for parents of young children, but added the men’s morning studies and women’s daytime studies for a total of 119 people in 16 groups.

APRIL 09 — FIRST TRAINING EVENT, called “Small Group Celebration,” featured a session on “fostering prayer in small groups.”  Attendance was 22 people, with some meeting at 11 am and others at 6 pm.

October 09. We agreed to hold another training event in 2010. NEW GROUPS: Pastor has started a new group on Thursday mornings.

January 2010. Team members agreed to bring food for the leadership training event, set for March 22. Agreed on list of Immanuel members to be invited to be speakers. NEW GROUPS. A, for parents of young children, has been formed by the Gappingers.

MARCH 2010 — SECOND TRAINING EVENT, called a “support workshop.” There were five speakers, including Angie B. on group dynamics, and Marcia V on facilitating group discussion. Attendance was 25.

April 2010. Discussed the March leadership event, which was ultimately NEW GROUP, for parents of young children, has been formed by the Beers. Greg Northrup is showing the Truth Project DVD to a group. .TOTAL GROUPS. 140 people in 18 groups.

September 2010. Jim is showing Truth Project to 2 groups. Need key person to start group for young adults. Need team members from youth and children’s ministries. Young Parents groups and  pastors group have ended. TOTALS. 127 in 16 groups..

MARCH 2011 — THIRD TRAINING EVENT, again called “support workshop.” There were two presenters, include Ed S who had taught about small groups at the college level. Attendance was 22,

April 2011. Discussed the third leaders support workshop, which was held in April 2011, and agreed to hold one again in 2012. T. Meyers are showing Truth Project DVD’s. TOTALS 127 in 16 groups.

October 2011. Agreed to bring food to 2012 training event. Totals: 121 people in 16 groups.

SUBSEQUENT ANNUAL TRAINING EVENTS ARE LISTED SEPARATELY, BELOW THIS CHRONOLOGY

April 2012. This was our first time to try a team meeting right after late service on a Sunday.Current small groups participants are 124 people in 15 groups.

August 2013. The last women’s group (Lydia Group) has ended. Current small groups are 55 people in 11 groups.

August 2014.  Announced new small group for prayer for global needs to start September 15, 2014,  Plans reviewed for adding small groups after the church’s fall emphasis on stewardship. Sunday afternoon group has ended. Participants: 62 people  in 11 groups.

November 2017. Agreed to invite Rick Lawrence to speak in January 2018. Current small group participants: 87 people in 17 groups.

The training events are described here:

 Support Workshops

We have held a workshop annually since 2009.   These workshops are meant to support all who find themselves leading groups at Immanuel, whether to children, youth, or adults, whether formal classes or informal sharing, and whether based around Bible study or around church business. This is not just for current leaders, for there are a lot of people who do not happen to be leading at the moment, but have in the past or will in the future. It is important to us to have seasoned leaders present as well as those who are just getting their feet wet, because we value everyone’s input.Our presenters not only give you information, but draw out your experiences and observations to the benefit of all.

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Below are highlights from workshops of past years:

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Tenth Workshop, January 25, 2018
Guest speaker Rick Lawrence

Ninth Workshop, February 12, 2017
Tim Aho: Using objects to teach Bible stories
Tim Handrick: Creating different types of questions
Gail Hein: Hospitality as integral part of a small group

Eighth Workshop, January 2016
Topic: Experience-based Faith Development
Presenters: Pastor Al, Sara H, Jim F

Seventh Workshop, February 15, 2015
Topic: Having Good Discussions
Material: hints page on this site
Facilitators: Jim F, Al S, Jerry M, Paul H

Sixth Workshop, February 16, 2014
Presenter: Craig Oldenburg
Topic: Types of learning

Fifth Workshop: February 14, 2013
Presenters: Thom and Joanie Schultz.
They led us through the 4 points from their newest book.

Fourth Workshop: March 18, 2012
Presenters: Craig Oldenburg, Jim Found, Power Point from synod.  In groups of 4 we went through a sample meeting including mixers and bible study, then discussed what we learned about presentation skills.

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Third Workshop March 20, 2011
Presenters:    Angie B on dealing with people as individuals
Ed S on drawing out meaningful content

Ed has taught college level courses about forming successful small groups. Angie is a practicing counselor here in Loveland. They are both members of Immanuel.

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Second Workshop, March 14, 2010, called “Leaders Support Workshop.”
Presenters: Greg N, on adopting service projects.
Pastor Andy, on setting the stage through ice breakers
Jim Found, on keeping a gospel focus
Angie B, on helping different personality types to work smoothly together
Pastor Al, on bonding together as a group.
Marcia V, on effective discussions

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First Workshop, April 22, 2009, called  “Small groups Celebration:”
Topics were:
Selecting materials
Promoting faith in the small group setting
fostering prayer in the small group

Appendix 1. the Proposal to the congregation.

Proposal to form a “Ministry Team for Sharing Groups” as one of the core teams at Immanuel.
Submitted by the Discipleship team, April 23, 2007; based on Immanuel survey of March 2007 and “summit meeting” of April 14, 2007.

In light of the scriptures like the following:
Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom,
1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing,
Galatians 6:2 Carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ,
Hebrews 10:24-25  And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another,
the Discipleship Team proposes the creation of a “Ministry Team for Sharing Groups.”

Desired outcome: That more people at Immanuel would benefit from “sharing group” experiences.

A. Definitions:
1.  “Sharing group experiences” include discussion of Biblical concepts, sharing personal needs, and prayer together.
2. “Sharing Groups” here means groups, typically of 5 to 12 people, that agree to meet regularly, typically for a 9 month period, in order to carry out “sharing group experiences.”
3. Immanuel “sharing groups” would respect Immanuel vision and Lutheran teachings.

B. Objectives:
1. Strengthening existing groups and leaders
2. Gathering new people into existing and new groups
3. Fostering “sharing group” type experiences in other Immanuel gatherings.

C. Ablaze benefits: Enhancing the sharing group experiences at Immanuel would:
1. Improve our members’ personal witness
2. Provide opportunities to invite friends

D. Implementation:  The “ministry team for small groups” would be tasked to:
1. Prepare regular meetings of all small group leaders for mutual assistance and training.
2. Ensure that current lists of all Immanuel small groups are readily available.
3. Promote participation in small groups in an ongoing way
4. Periodically provide small group leaders with suggestions for materials.
5. Devise ways to add new small groups on a continuing basis.
6. Provide ideas to other Immanuel committees and meetings for adding sharing and prayer.
7. Recruit and train new leaders on a continuing basis.

E. Membership:

Each of the following groups would be invited to send a representative to the meetings:
1. Elders  2. Church executive group  3. Executive council  4. Discipleship Team 5. Assimilation Team  6. Prayer Team

Additional Immanuel members would be invited to be members-at-large.

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