Last month the North Alabama Conference Adult Discipleship Team sponsored the training event Successful Small Groups featuring Debi Nixon of Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas.
Bishop Willimon celebrated this important training opportunity as well as the importance of small groups in his weekly message on Feb. 8, 2010. Click here to read the article Growing the Church, One Small Group at a Time.
North Alabama Conference Coordinator for Children and Adult Ministries Rev. Elizabeth Nall recaps the event below:
As participants entered the session Debi provided toy Lego bricks for each person to so that they could begin to understand the concept of Connect!
Dr. Oliver Clark, Minister of the Teaching Academy at Canterbury UMC really enjoyed this metaphor and proclaimed, “Connect - what a powerful image!
Debbie Nixon shared with us how this is done at Church of the Resurrection, and how it might be done in our churches. Connect to God as revealed in Jesus. Connect to one another as the Body of Christ.” After everyone had the chance to connect with one another, and understand the concept of how small groups help our church members connect to each others lives, Debi went into more detail about the fundamentals of small groups.
Debi focused on the point that we were created to be in relationship and Jesus was intentional about developing relationships.
Suzanne Pruitt, convener of the Adult Discipleship Team said, “I appreciated her use of scripture in revealing how important it is in kingdom building to be relational.”
Debi was emphatic on the point that life change happens in the context of relationships and community. Small groups provide for accountability and fellowship as God’s people live out the Christian life.
There were many points that Debi shared about casting the vision for the need and purpose of small groups, resourcing small groups, marketing strategies, and clarity in purpose of small groups. Debi was quite intentional about sharing the successes and woes of learning while growing your ministry.
Southeast District Superintendent, Richard Stryker says, “In addition to sharing with us things that foster strong small groups, she also shared with the group the strategies used by Church of the Resurrection leadership that had to be adjusted for effectiveness; we learned from their mistakes and will draw upon their experiences.”
It was a powerful day of learning highlighted by specific breakout sessions that offered more detail into small groups that local congregations wanted to provide in their local congregations. Much thanks to all those who lead breakout sessions and participated in the workshop, and may God bless the small group ministries that are established and already functioning in our local churches.