Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Five Stages of a Healthy Small Group

WRITTEN BY DeAntwan Fitts
EDITED BY Nicky Pittman, Jeremy Wight & Richard Jarman

Healthy small groups do not just happen. They are the result of the leader being INTENTIONAL about moving the group through the four important stages of a healthy small group. Prayer and the enabling power of the Holy Spirit are essential to you developing a healthy small group.

We are exited about having a small group ministry at Peace Chapel, because healthy small groups play an integral role in the overall goal of producing fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ. It takes more than Bible study to help a person become like Christ. People need to be engaging in community with others who are traveling in the same direction as they are. Small groups are a place were people can develop friendships, be transparent, cultivate community and become more like Christ. The key to a healthy life changing small group, is being INTENTIONAL. Below are healthy stages of a small group and intentional approaches to moving people to the next stage.


The friendly stage is generally what will happen when the group first starts meeting. During the first two to three meetings, you will notice for the most part people will be friendly with one another. This means your group is off to a good start. Your group must move from being friendly to developing friendships.

Groups that never get past the friendly stage will not cause transformation and will eventually die off.

There are a few intentional approaches for moving your group to the next stage of friendship.

1. Encourage prayer partners (female with female & male with male),
2. Partner assignments such as two group members meeting to pick up supplies for the group.
3. Friendships can also develop by encouraging group members to find an accountability partner within the group that they meet with over the phone or in person once a week (female with female & male with male).


Not everyone in your group will find a close friend but with an INTENTIONAL approach you should see some friendships developing between the fourth and fifth small group meeting. This is confirmation that your group is moving along well. Your group must continue to move towards community by moving from making friends in your group to being transparent.

Transparency is not easy, but it is necessary if you want to have a healthy small group. This is undoubtedly the toughest obstacle to a healthy Small group because this does not happen unless people take risk. This means letting people see the real you. This is the stage where a good small group leader is very important. The small group leader must must must create an environment where people are safe to open up. It is equally important that the leader first model this attitude of authenticity and transparency. If you as a leader are not open, you cannot expect it from those who are in your group.

The intentional approach for this stage is for you as the leader to give honest and open testimonies. You must be honest about your own frailties. Be open with your group about things that you struggle with. Being honest about our issues is extremely important in getting past our issues.

One point of caution with transparency: being transparent does not mean being graphic. You can open up about your struggles without giving all of the details of your struggles.

Below are some intentional things that can promote transparency in your small group

1. Go over Small group guidelines before every group meeting stressing the importance of confidentiality
2. During prayer time, ask them to pray for you in the area of your struggle.
3. During prayer time ask them is there anything that you can pray for them about
4. Break the group up into groups of two during prayer time.
5. Get help from others in the group who are comfortable with opening up and ask them to give testimonies (ask them prior to the group meeting).


Once your group makes it to this stage, you should start to see life-transformation taking place. Many groups never make it to this stage because of the challenges associated with being authentic. If your group makes it to this stage, that means they are ready for the very important stage of maturity or discipleship.

Small Group Discipleship happens when the members of your group start to take on more of the character and qualities of Jesus Christ and grow in intimacy with Him. This is an important step towards the overall goal at Peace Chapel, which is to develop fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ.

The intentional approach for this stage is:

1. A group mission project, where you take the principles you are learning and put them into practice
2. Provide your group members with a daily devotional plan such as the “Daily Bread”, one from the small group study or one that you put together based on the subject matter of the lesson.
3. Give out homework assignments that require a study partner for accountability
4. Have all group members set discipleship goals such as reading through the Bible in a year, praying and daily quiet time with God.
5. Set a goal as a group for each member to spend 15 min alone with God everyday and share the impact with the group.
6. Share prayer request
7. Recognizing a need the group can fulfill and doing it as a team
8. Helping people to find there place to serve
9. Encourage volunteering at the church
10. Encourage accountability partners
11. Regularly pass out study tools and study guides at your small group meetings
12. Memorizing versus of the Bible as a group


When Discipleship is taking place within your small group that means that lives are being transformed. If you get your group to this stage, you have a mature group of believers that is now ready to reproduce transformation. This is where it is important for you as a leader to stress the importance of reaching out.

Stage 5
“Building Community”

Now that you have established an environment that is intentional about producing growth, it is time to bring others in to experience the power of community and send others out to reproduce community.

The intentional approach for building community is:

1. State the goal of the group often
2. Encourage group members to invite people to your small group
3. Encourage acceptance
4. Expect people to serve within the Small group (including the opportunity to host the group from time to time)
5. Develop a group mission statement that includes outreach

Unless you have an INTENTIONAL approach for moving members through the above-mentioned stages, you should not expect to see growth as individuals or as a group. There are tons of small groups meeting but not all groups are healthy groups. You can have a healthy small group, but it will not happen by accident. Remember the key word is INTENTIONAL. You must be intentional about moving your small group towards healthy community.

“We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.” Colossians 1:28

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


DeAntwan Fitts
James 2:14-26

“What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?” James 2:14 NLT

FAITH beyond lip service is more than religious expressions

“Dear friends, do you think you'll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything?”
James 2:14 MES

“A brother or sister in Christ might need clothes or food.16 If you say to that person, "God be with you! I hope you stay warm and get plenty to eat," but you do not give what that person needs, your words are worth nothing.” James 2:15-16 NCV

FAITH beyond lip service is more than correct theology

“You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” (vs. 19)

He (the demon) shouted, "Jesus, Son of God in heaven, what do you want with me? Promise me in God's name that you won't torture me!" Mark 5:7 CEV

FAITH beyond lip service produces righteousness

Abraham (21-24)

Rahab the prostitute (25-26)

How to use my Faith Beyond Lip Service to defeat the giants in my life:

F-Focus on God, not the Giants

“The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine."
1 Samuel 17:37 NIV

A-Act on biblical principles, not my feelings

“David said to the Philistine, "You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty” 1 Samuel 17:45a NIV

“These people are no better than senseless animals that live by their feelings and are born to be caught and killed.”
2 Pet 2:12 CEV

C-Confront the Giant, don’t run away

“As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him.” 1 Samuel 17:48 NIV

E-Expect God to work for His glory and my good

“All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD's, and he will give all of you into our hands." 1 Samuel 17:47

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Rom 8:28 NIV

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Twisted Body

Guest post by Tiffany (Sage) Wilson endoresed by DeAntwan Fitts

The twisted body And the need for a spiritual realignment

Article written by tiffany Denise Wilson

There is a growing problem within “churches” today in which there is an unwillingness to embrace change. It seems as if upholding Tradition has become the main focus while neglecting to support new ministries that minister to the needs of the community. While there is nothing wrong with tradition in and of itself it can pose a problem to the younger generations who are full of new and innovative ideas and are eager to use the gifts and talents to serve the body and bring glory to God. When we allow tradition to cause division it presents two fundamental problems:

1. There is a refusal to obey Gods written word and commands

2. There is a lack of empathy and love for one another

1 Corinthians 12: 12-13 says that the body is a unit made up of many members and though the members are many they form one body so it is with Christ for we are all baptized into one body and we are all given the one spirit to drink whether Jews or Greeks slave or free. It is interesting to note that separatism wasn’t the goal rather unity in the spirit. Paul the author went on to say in verses 25 and 26 that there should be no division in the church but that each part should have equal concern for one another. How awesome! Is that? The greater blessing comes when we exercise togetherness and line up with the word of God.

I sincerely believe that when Paul said whether Jew or Greek slave or free that he expected us to get the bigger picture and if I were the author I would include young or old, old or new. It is going to take much more than a hymn and tambourines to reach the lost and keep the youth. It’s going to take the Spirit of God empowering the word of God and the acceptance of young and old alike.

Jesus made it clear in Mark 10:13-14 when He said to His disciples suffer not the little ones to come unto him for such is the kingdom of God. There is more than one-way to praise the Lord but nothing compares to praising him as a unit.

Here is the conclusion let the older women teach the younger women and the elders lead the younger men not judging them but loving them unconditionally remembering that as the generations pass so will the way the people relate. As long as we allow the enemy to cripple us we wont be productive for the kingdom. So lets stretch out our twisted hands and feet in faith and let the Master chiropractor realign our spirits that our body will become whole!