Small Group Training:
The Trust Factor In Small Groups

The purpose of our small group training pages is to help prepare potential leaders of small group Bible studies to be effective in their ministry. We also want to help those who have a desire to lead, but feel a bit intimidated by the idea, to see just how simple it is to lead a small group.

Our focus for this segment of small group training is developing trust among participants in order to maximize the benefit of meeting in a small group.

One of our small groups meets in the Alpine park at 9:00 AM on Sunday Morning.

Conducting church in the park is not much different than conducting any small group meeting. There is coffee and refreshment, good fellowship, a devotion and prayer.

One factor that makes any small group successful is trust. The first few weeks, or even months, of every small group I've been involved with was primarily relationship and trust building.

The deepest benefit of small groups comes once the participants have gotten to know one another well enough that they feel comfortable opening up to the real issues that are going on within them. When they begin to open up then growth begins to take place. That will not happen until trust has been built.

One of the tools for building trust is to make ourselves vulnerable by sharing some of our own needs. In the process of teaching I will usually bring out one of my weaknesses (not hard to do because I have plenty of them) and talk about how I overcome failure.

After sharing one of my own weaknesses I will ask if anyone can identify with me then ask if anyone would like to share what they are thinking or feeling. I usually give them a few seconds to respond and if no one does I move on. I don't try to coax people to open up because that just causes them to become even more closed.

We had started a group in our home a few years ago and quite a variety of people had started coming. One evening we were talking about the step of confessing our faults to another trusted believer when one brother said, "I'm not going to confess my sins to anybody but Jesus. He is all I need to confess to." Not much was said in discussion about his statement, but shortly after he spoke it was his turn to read the next Scripture.

The Scripture he read was James 5:16, "Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." When he finished reading he was silent for moment then he said, "OK, I'll confess. I have a stack of pornography under my bed." The word of God convicted him and the trust that had been established in our group gave him the liberty to be vulnerable.

When that kind of trust has been established in a group real spiritual growth can take place.


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