Small groups

An Experience in Small Group Spiritual Direction at McGuire United Methodist Church

Author
Cynthia Frances Johnson Hooton D.Min.
Abstract
This research project studied the benefit of developing a Christian formation process at McGuire United Methodist Church in Monroe, Louisiana, focused on developing intimacy with God and the community of faith through small group spiritual direction; the personal prayer practices of journaling, praying the Psalms, Lectio Divina, and centering prayer; and, St. Benedict's monastic virtues of stability, obedience and conversion of life. The flow of spiritual direction included group contemplative silence, a time for each participant to share their journey into God, and a commitment to listen, reflect, and respond to the other group members’ narratives of their journey into God.

Staying at home a small group spiritual formation project

Author
Stephen M Christner
Abstract
The purpose of the project was to impact the spiritual formation of small group participants through the reflection upon Henri Nouwen's The Return of the Prodigal Son. Project participants met for four two-hour sessions to discuss the weekly reading and their responses to the process questions. Participants were given a pre-test and post-test questionnaire to measure the impact of the reading upon their spiritual growth. The data indicates the project impacted the spiritual formation of small group participants in the areas of: prayer, contemplatin on the characters in story, identity as the Beloved of God, and celebration of God's blessings.

Determining the benefits of discipleship training using the Bible as primary discussion material in various sized groups of 3-4, 10-14, and 20+

Author
Daniel G Kachikis
Abstract
Using a one-year Bible as the sole discipleship material and discussion as the primary method of guidance, the author surveyed three research study groups of different sizes. The findings indicate that using the one-year Bible helped the participants grow in their love for Christ and love for the Word. This study also saw participants grow in their confidence to make disciples and grow in their willingness to make disciple-making their lifestyle in following Christ. Regarding the optimal group size, the author found that groups of five to eight seemed to naturally become the best platform for discipleship.

Faith narratives and spritual formation

Author
Claire D Corbett
Abstract
The purpose of this project was to impact the spiritual formation of a select group of Lutheran laity from the Greater Dayton, OH, area through participation in a small group focused on identifying personal faith narratives. The project included six weekly reflections of participants' personal faith stories and completion of a pre-test and post-test questionnaire. The results of identifying personal faith stories within the small Christian group included an increased awareness of God's presence, and an increased understanding of the importance of identifying and sharing faith stories within Christian community.

Raising the level of sermon understanding, retention, application, and accountability through the integration of sermons and sermon-based small groups in First Baptist Church of Blanchard, Oklahoma

Author
Andrew D Finch
Abstract
This project involved the integration of sermons with small groups with the intention of discussing content, and personal application of the sermon messages. Through repetition and reflection the goal was to improve retention as small group members recognized the impact of God's Word and the relevancy and relationship of the sermon to their spiritual growth, accountability, as well as a means to reinforce their commitments.

The spiritual formation of small group leaders at Marion Salem United Methodist Church

Author
Jared N Williams
Abstract
The purpose of this project was to discover how the experience of leading a small group at Marion Salem United Methodist Church transformed the spiritual condition of the leader. The research question was "How did the experience of leading a small group at Marion Salem United Methodist Church transform the spiritual condition of leaders? "The results of this study revealed that the spiritual condition of the small group leaders at Marion Salem United Methodist Church was transformed by leading a small group.

Evaluation of an annual discipleship small group curriculum

Author
Brian J Bement
Abstract
My thesis is that an annual curriculum in small groups focused on intentional application of loving God and others in the context of a church's specific biblical vision for discipleship is needed in the life of a small group church to remind the people of the basics of faith, set specific goals for life change, and to orient new members to the biblical call to discipleship. My thesis-project tested a five-week annual small group curriculum at Harvest Bible Chapel and the results strongly recommend the use of the curriculum. The results provide guidance for selecting small group curriculum at any church.

The Lord's Prayer: a model for small group prayer

Author
Matthew James Clausen
Abstract
In this project the researcher (a) studied the meaning of the Lord's Prayer in its first century Biblical context, (b) explored current literature related to the applications of the Lord's Prayer in the life of the believer and in community discipleship, (c) developed a strategy for using the Lord's Prayer as a model for prayer in the adult community groups at First Baptist Church of Minneapolis, (d) implemented the strategy within specific adult community groups and (e) evaluated the impact of the use of the strategy on participants.

Wesleyan small group ministry: the key to church development

Author
Vladimir G Konevets
Abstract
Recognizing that the much needed revitalization of the United Methodist Church is only possible through the pure doctrinal teaching of the New Testament church, and small group method of John Wesley, the author researched how an effective and biblically rooted small group system can strengthen individual believers and stimulate church development. Using analysis of the past and present of a local church, interviews with parishioners, document study, and learning from vital congregations around the globe, the author reconstructed a system of small group ministry in the Wesleyan tradition, but adapted to the conditions of the 21st century.
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