Learning to Lead a Small Group

How to facilitate and participate in a small group, including handling conflict

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About this Class

What relationships are important to you? How do you develop trust? How can you share in a meaningful way with others? When you experience conflict in relationship, how can you manage it in a way that will grow your relationship? What does the Bible say about the importance and purpose of a small group?

Dr. Pyle leads you through the process from planning a small group, creating a contract, the beginning meetings, leading discussions, stages of group life and managing conflict. You will benefit from his training and experience as he gives you insights into the skills you will need and the commitments you can make to lead a group well. He will also give you insight into interpersonal communication dynamics in a group situation that will help you effectively guide and motivate the people in your group to share at a deep level.

Anytime there are people involved there are no guarantees, but there are few activities more rewarding than cultivating authentic relationships in a community of faith. This is class gives you the information and motivation you will need to get a good start and finish well. Don't miss this opportunity!

Lectures

Lecture 1

What are small groups? Why do we have them? What does a healthy small group look like? What does the Bible have to say about the importance of small groups and what participation should look like?

Lecture 2

What are qualities and skills you can cultivate in order to become an effective small group leader?

Lecture 3

What are small groups? Why do we have them? What does a healthy small group look like? People support what they are part of creating. Plan your first meeting carefully. Different distances invite different types of communication. The behavior you want to sustain, make sure you enact the first time.

Lecture 4

Crafting a mutually understood set of expectations about the purpose of your group and how you intend to accomplish that purpose is essential for people to know as they consider joining the group and as you structure and manage the interaction when you meet as a group. One important aspect of small group life is what Dr. Pyle describes as the, "grocery store" principle. Also, people support and participate in something that they perceive themselves as part of creating. 

Lecture 5

When forming a small group, the vision and process can be determined by leadership to individuals or determined by individuals to the leadership. In the first couple meetings of the group, you set expectations and orient people to the purpose of the group. The first meetings are critical in helping people reduce uncertainty about what it means to be a part of the group and giving them reasons to be attracted to the group. Each group determines what gives people interpersonal power in the group. An important trait of group success is for people to trust and value other members of the group. When the group concludes, take time to evaluate and celebrate. 

Lecture 6

What are three interpersonal needs that are common to everyone? How do you model and promote sharing through disclosure? What are characteristics of the types of questions you can ask that will invite people in a group to share? 

Lecture 7

 What is the purpose of having a discussion in a small group meeting? What are some principles to follow in leading a discussion that is focused and invites participation from each member of the group? What does, "equalizing participation" mean? Why is it important? What activities and strategies can you use to accomplish it? Why are listening, empathy and confirmation important? How are they related? 

Lecture 8

What is interpersonal conflct? What are the nature and common sources of conflict in ministry groups? What are sources of interpersonal power in relationships? What are some common misperceptions about power in relationships? 

Lecture 9

What are biblical passages that give you a model for managing interpersonal conflict? What are some practical strategies that you can use to manage interpersonal conflict in your personal life and in a group setting? 

Student’s Guide

Frequently Asked Questions

Who are the programs intended for?

The Foundations program is intended for everyone, regardless of biblical knowledge. The Academy program is intended for those who would like more advanced studies. And the Institute program is intended for those who want to study seminary-level classes.

Do I need to take the classes in a specific order?

In the Foundations and Academy programs, we recommend taking the classes in the order presented, as each subsequent class will build on material from previous classes. In the Institute program, the first 11 classes are foundational. Beginning with Psalms, the classes are on specific books of the Bible or various topics.

Do you offer transfer credit for completing a certificate program?

At this time, we offer certificates only for the classes on the Certificates page. While we do not offer transfer credit for completing a certificate program, you will be better equipped to study the Bible and apply its teachings to your life.

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