Monthly Archives

January 2018

Discovery Small Groups

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Why do we do groups?

Sunday mornings are important, but we believe that life change and spiritual growth happen best in the context of a smaller, safe community – in circles not rows. Groups exist to rescue hearts by helping people discover their story, experience Jesus, and live on mission.

How do we do groups?

We want to enable you to lead in your own style and giftings.  We have no desire to micromanage you, but we want to do everything we can to help you succeed. This is why we have DCC core values that guide what it means to be a Discovery Small Group:

  •      Raw community – It requires us to be honest and vulnerable with our stories. The more of ourselves that we put in, the more we and the group will experience life change.  We do not share other people’s stories without their permission.
  •   Rescue – The goal of a group is life change and spiritual growth. It is through this community that we experience God and receive the freedom and rescue that He promises.  
  •      Grace & Truth – Groups focus on the practical application of God’s authoritative Word, living in the tension of 100% grace and 100% truth.  The group experience is not simply a Bible study, nor is it a social club.

Who do we want to become?

We believe the “Walking with God” model illustrates how you lead life change in your group.  Remember, it’s all about maintaining balance and forward momentum in all 3 circles, all the time.  These 6 Fundamentals are vital to all DCC Short Term Groups, Open Groups, and Life Groups.

Cultivate Relationships with Group Members.  How are you and your group members becoming “known” and connecting outside of group meetings? Cultivate Relationship with God. How are you and group members staying connected with Jesus daily and experiencing Him?
Promote Servant Hearts.  How are you encouraging group members to serve in the group, in the church, in the community and with our mission partners? Promote Spiritual Growth.  How are you supporting and helping your group members take next steps in their spiritual journeys?
Provide Care. How are you modeling support and ministering care to each other? Replicate Yourself and End Well.  How are you helping group members get ready for their next group experience?

8 Week Starter Group and Life Group Practices

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(Many of these practices can be applied in different ways to Open and Short-term Groups)

  1. Meeting socially around food at the leader’s home is one of the best ways to get your group started.  If you want to test the connection/chemistry of the group, you can even do this before you let the people know that you are wanting to start a small group.  Principle:  The better the affinity, the greater the chances of a successful small group.
  2. Meals:  You have to eat anyway so you might as well provide a more natural,  comfortable way to connect. Host sends out pre-selected menu – picks the theme of the menu and provides the meat.  The rest of the group signs up for the other pre-selected menu items.
  3. Icebreakers:  Having an icebreaker question ready for the meal time around the table or at the start of evening is a great way to help the group be more intentional in getting to know something new about each member.  Resources: 201 Great Questions by Jerry Jones, Complete book of Questions by Gary Poole.
  4. Consistent Attendance for the first 8 weeks:   Insist that the group can not meet unless every single member can be available to attend.  Find dates that work for everyone. Since you are starting as a bunch of individuals who are seeking to become a group, each week builds upon itself especially as group members share their spiritual journeys.  If a member misses one week, they will not catch up on what was lost.
  5. Potential initial Questions to get to know group members:
    1. How long have you been attending DCC?  How did you hear about it?
    2. Why do you want to join this small group?  What do you hope to get out if it?
    3. What has been the biggest influence on your spiritual journey?
  6. Start with the curriculum:  Community: Starting well in your Small Group by Andy Stanley.  This will help facilitate your group in telling their stories and spiritual journeys.   DCC has copies for you to purchase.

Meeting Tips:

  1. Make sure you start on time and end on time – honor your commitment to the group by setting this example.
  2. Fill out a Group Roster.  Make sure you get all contact info from each member.
  3. Handout a Hosting Sign up Sheet – make sure Small Group members don’t feel pressure that they have to host – but give them the opportunity.  
  4. Sharing your Story (spiritual journey) – while there are different approaches in facilitating this (see “Resources” or talk to your coach), this needs to happen in the first 8 weeks of your group.  This practice will quickly create a bond with your group!
  5. Take Attendance – always encourage one of the spouses to attend even if one spouse is unavailable.  People vote with their feet in terms of the values and the priorities they live out Having this history gives you valuable information to help you shepherd your group.  If the small group is one of our most strategic environments for spiritual growth, this history is one factor that can give us an indication of group health.
  6. Ask for prayer requests:  Keep it simple; the leader starts the prayer to model the simple approach. Encourage the group to share requests that are personal where they need support.  Not requests for my “Grandmother’s big toe”! Find a volunteer to email prayer requests to the entire group with an quick summary (4-5 bullet points) of what was discussed in the evening.  This helps with maintaining momentum for the group and provides good communication; especially if someone missed. It also becomes a helpful record of what God is doing through the group that you can celebrate at a later time.
  7. Make sure from day one, you encourage group members to get together outside of group time.  As a leader start doing it yourself.  Not everyone has to make every invitation – encourage spontaneity.  
  8. Meeting Schedule:  Principle: Start light, end light.  1. Start light with food, drinks, gathering time to connect (community).  2. Group time – Discussion focused on the application of Biblical Truth (not just Bible Study).  3. Prayer Requests 4. End light – dessert (more community).
  9. Facilitation:  Try to keep discussion as balanced as possible.  Watch for over-talkative members. Participation is a value of being a part of a small group.

You need to get to know your group members’ personalities in how best to draw

them out.

  1. Talk through Group Agreement.  Make sure everyone signs the agreement after you have discussed it.  This is a good time to address what a good small group environment looks like: free of distractions from children, TV, cell phones, noise, etc. You may need to discuss how to handle childcare (please make sure members are aware of “Child-care Reimbursement” from DCC).

Small Group Personal Evaluation

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1

Topics

Exploring your story with others
Discussing and discovering the Bible with others
Leading small group discussion
Praying with others
Serving the community and neighbors
Serving at church
Planning an event
Calling or initiating a meeting with another person
Creating a space for others in your life
Asking questions that go deeper
Sharing your struggles and allowing others to listen
Listening and Embracing what others are going through
Spending quiet time with Jesus daily
2

Evaluate

Uncomfortable
Familiar ( A little uncomfortable)
Comfortable
Passionate

Ice Breakers

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  1. What is your favorite movie and why?
  2. Who is your number one advisor and why?
  3. One of my biggest pet peeves is ___________.
  4. People might be surprised to find out that I ________.
  5. What is the most daring thing you have ever done? What made it so daring?
  6. My favorite way to waste time is __________.
  7. If you could do one miracle, what would you do?  Why?
  8. If you could go to college (again), what would you study?
  9. Just for the fun/thrill of it, before I die I’d like to _________.
  10. As a time traveler, I would most like to visit ________ because ___________.
  11. What has been one of the greatest adventures you have ever been on?
  12. I wish before I got married, someone would have told me ____________.
  13. What are a couple of things you remember about your grandparents?
  14. If you were going to leave the world one piece of advice, what would it be?
  15. If you were going to describe yourself as a flavor, what flavor would you be?
  16. What was the worst thing your brother or sister did to you as a child?
  17. If your house were on fire, what three items (not people) would you try to save?
  18. Who was your hero when you were growing up?  How did you try to imitate them?
  19. In what area in your life would you like to have greater peace?  Why?
  20. If you could someday have a worldwide reputation for something, in what area would you like that to be?  Why?
  21. In general, people worry too much about __________.
  22. An emotion I often feel but don’t usually express is __________.

Example Group Agreement

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PURPOSE: To provide a predictable environment where participants experience authentic community and spiritual growth.

VALUES & GOALS
Relationships
While prayer and discussion of curriculum are key elements of a life group, the driving force behind the group is the building of relationships.

Authenticity
The atmosphere of a Small Group should encourage openness and transparency among members. This is an environment where people should feel free to be themselves.

Confidentiality
For authenticity to occur, members must be able to trust that issues discussed with a Life Group are not to be shared outside of the group.

Respect
Group members should never say anything that will embarrass their spouse or members of the group.

Availability
A primary responsibility of community is to prioritize for specific relationships. This not only requires consistent attendance but a willingness to be available to meet each other’s needs.

Group Guidelines

1. The group will meet from _____________ through ______________.

2. The group will meet on _____________________night.

3. The group sessions will begin at ___________ and end at __________.
4. The group time will typically consist of ______ minutes of sharing, ________ minutes of study/discussion, and _______ minutes of prayer.
5. The group will be a closed group until all members agree to additional members.
6. Group members will attend and participate on a regular basis. Members agree to pray for other members on a weekly basis.
I covenant together with the other members of this group to honor this agreement.
Group Leaders:

_____________________ ____________________
(sign)

Group Members:
_____________________ _____________________ _____________________ _____________________ _____________________ _____________________ _____________________ _____________________ _____________________ _____________________ _____________________ _____________________

Serving Opportunities at DCC

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In the ChurchFill out a Serve Form on the DCC Website at metooplace.com under the Serve tab.

  • Adult Ministries
  • Building/Facility Maintenance
  • Cafe Team
  • Cleaning Team
  • Communion Preparation
  • Garage Team
  • Guest Services
    • Door Greeters
    • Information Booth
  • Kids Team – Newborn through 4th grade
  • Medic Team
  • Office Team
  • Prayer Team
  • Production Team
  • Security Team
  • Student Team
    • Uprising – 5th and 6th grades
    • Mayhem – 7th and 8th grades
    • Rebellion – High School Students
  • Usher Team – Serve Communion
  • Worship Team

 

In the Community

 

  • COS I Love You –

 

      • Springs Rescue Mission
      • Food Truck
      • City Serve Day – Sept. 30, 2017

 

  • Mission Partners

 

    • Ransomed Heart – ransomedheart.com
    • Crossfire Ministries – crossfireministries.org
    • Springs Rescue Mission – springsrescuemission.org
    • Exodus Road – theexodusroad.com
    • YWAM Emerge – ywamemerge.org
    • Redeemed Seasons – redeemedseasons.org
    • Mercy’s Gate – mercysgate.org
    • Musana – musana.org

Providing Care

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B. L. A. S. T.  — “MINISTRY OF PRESENCE”

 

“B”. . .BRING COMPASSION:  We start with compassion.  We remind ourselves that the other is loved and treasured by God.  We suspend judgment; we suspend our inclination to evaluate and think about what we would have done different.  We see the other through the compassionate, loving, grace-filled eyes of Jesus.

 

“L”. . .LISTEN WELL:  We work hard to hear what the other is saying. . .not only in their expressed words, but also in their body language, their facial expressions, and in the things they don’t say.  We turn down the volume of our own internal dialogue and receive everything that the other person is trying to communicate.

 

“A”. . .APPLY PRAYER:  We engage with the Holy Spirit, and we apply the power of prayer in whatever ways the Lord leads.  Sometimes that means we pray out loud, and sometimes that means we pray silently. In whatever way we pray, we always focus on the other, lifting up their need for wisdom, comfort, guidance, assurance, relief from pain. . .whatever their need may be.

 

“S”. . .SIT IN THE DISCOMFORT:  We sit with the other in their pain and their loss, acknowledging what we see and not leaving them to sit in it alone.  We acknowledge how difficult their situation is, not diminishing or fixing or trying to make it go away.

 

“T”. . .TRUST THE SILENCE:  We trust God in the silence.  He is always working. He is always ministering in the circumstances, in the internal landscape of the one hurting.  We understand that words are often inadequate. . .so we let that be!

 

What is the small group leader’s role in caring for others?

 

  1. We stay engaged; we don’t check out.  We have to remain present with the group at all times, and we have to be listening to what is being said and how others are responding.
  2. Like a shepherd, we gently steer our small group members away from the unsafe places, such as fixing, giving, judgment and the other pitfalls we’ve talked about.
  3. We recognize when an issue brought to the group requires resources outside of the group.  And we know where to go to find those resources.
  4. We use our coaches.  We tap into their experience and their “seasoning” to provide the best care possible to the men and women God has entrusted to our groups.

3 Circles Unpacked

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Walking With God

As a small group leader, there is a really good chance that you will end up having a one-on-one discussion with one of your group members about his/her/their personal next steps as they walk with God, continue in this message as a lifestyle and get on mission with the Kingdom.  

The tool we use to have this discussion is the DCC “Walking with God (3 circles) Model.  Explain that the goal is to live in the middle of all 3 circles while maintaining balance between the circles and continuing to grow in all three circles.  This is the essence of spiritual growth – you will never “arrive.” It’s all about continuing to move forward. Maintain balance and forward momentum! As you know, we view ourselves like a MASH unit or combat medics at DCC.  We are not “surgeons”, but we can help with the rescue and stop the bleeding. The Small Group Coaches and the Adult Ministries Department at DCC will walk alongside you and your group members and pointing to God because that is where the real healing happens.  We can also recommend resources that will help you or your group take next steps in Walking with God, but ultimately this is on each person – it’s a lot like going to a physical therapist – he/she can give you lots of good exercises and stretches, but it’s up to you to actually do the work.  When they are ready, we hope your group will help rescue others.

The life (and the freedom) we are all looking for can be found when we are “Walking with God”.  It’s all about living in the center of, and continuing to grow in, all three circles, all the time.

Live on Mission

Many people gravitate toward the Live on Mission circle because it’s concrete, measurable, and active.  But to do this circle well, we need the other circles as well. One way to think about it is that this circle is “rescuing others”; however as Greg and John Eldredge have told us repeatedly, you have to first be rescued before rescuing others.  Discuss each of the six elements of life on mission (Invite, Connect, Serve, Give, Worship, and Lead-see below). Is the group member currently doing all six? If not, can he or she determine a measurable next step with a concrete implementation plan to start?  They do not have to necessarily tell you what that is, nor do we expect you to be his/her accountability partner. Your job is to help them see what it might look like to live on mission.

Live on Mission:  Walking with God is NOT a spectator sport!

To experience all that Jesus has for us, we must get on mission with Him.  If we truly want to walk with God, of course we should study what He taught, but we cannot stop there.  We should do what He did – live a life that is focused on rescuing others. Let’s take the focus off of ourselves and live for the rescue of others.  At DCC, we believe there are six essentials to living on mission

  • Invite others to come and see what we have found.
  • Serve inside and outside the Church to love other people as Jesus does – with no strings attached.
  • Lead ourselves, our families, and others to the rescue and life we are all looking for.
  • Give of our resources to help us remember that it really wasn’t ours to begin with and so that others can be rescued as we were.
  • Connect in smaller communities because life-change happens best in circles, not rows.
  • Worship regularly so you can be disrupted, challenged and encouraged.

Assessment Questions:

  • Where are you with each of the 6 essentials?  Are you doing each of these regularly and with the right heart?
  • How are you challenging, helping, and encouraging others to pursue God’s plan for their lives?

Potential Resources:

  • “The Unexpected Adventure” – by Lee Strobel and Mark Mittelberg
  • “Everybody’s Normal Till You Get To Know Them” by John Ortberg
  • “The Volunteer Revolution” and “Courageous Leadership” by Bill Hybels
  • “The Treasure Principle” by Randy Alcorn
  • DCC Series: CORE , Separation of Church and Hate
  • “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality” and “Emotionally Healthy Leadership” by Peter Scazzero
  • “Surfing for God” by Michael John Cusick
  • “Practicing Greatness” by Reggie McNeal
  • “Next Generation Leader” by Andy Stanley
  • “Primal Leadership” by Daniel Goleman
  • “The Most Excellent Way to Lead” by Perry Noble
  • “Leadership and Self-Deception” by Arbinger Institute
  • “The Road Less Traveled” by M. Scott Peck
  • “A Light to the Nations” by Michael Goheen

Let’s use “giving” as an example:

Bob tells you that he is not giving to the church because he simply cannot afford to give 10% of his income right now.  That’s ok – that’s life. But can he afford 5% or 1% or $10/week? Does he recognize that all we have, came from God? Does he recognize that God could be using this as an opportunity to break strongholds?  For some people money equals status or security and that is a pose. For some, sacrificing for others might bring growth. For some, it might be a catalyst for budgeting and financial discipline (think Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace).  Ultimately, giving is about sharing the generosity that God has showered on us so that others can experience God.

Discover Your Story

The Discover Story circle should be pretty ingrained in them by now if you started with the Community study and they have been attending DCC for any length of time.  If he or she has not completed Wild at Heart or Captivating, encourage them to do so. If they have completed these foundational studies, encourage him/her to maintain the momentum by staying in their timeline asking Jesus to continue to heal their wounds.  Explain that they will continue to identify new wounds and to seek healing for those as well. Explain that too often, we discover our wounds and just sit in them and that is not at all what we want for him or her. Resources for continued growth in this circle include the Fathered by God series, attendance at a Wild at Heart Bootcamp/Captivating Retreat, regularly reviewing your timeline during quiet time with God, and journaling.  Regardless, you cannot go wrong encouraging each and every person to attend a Ransomed Heart Retreat and the DCC Men’s or Women’s Retreat. If individual or group counseling might be a good idea, send an email to pastoralcare@metooplace.com to arrange a referral meeting.

Discover Your Story:  Understanding how our past is affecting our present as Jesus leads us towards who He created us to be and we find our unique place in His larger story.

Jesus came to address all of our brokenness – the sum total of the things that we have done, the things that have been done to us, and the collateral damage and lingering effects of those things in our life. At DCC, we call these “wounds” and a part of discovering our story is becoming aware of the wounds from our past.   

If he or she completed Wild at Heart or Captivating, they probably have an awareness of the wound(s).  But awareness isn’t healing – just knowing our wounds isn’t enough. Jesus wants to heal the wounds that resulted from what we did or what others did to us.  This is an ongoing process – there is always more to work on with Jesus.

Life makes more sense when we understand that we have an enemy who deliberately custom-designed the wound(s) for each of us.  This WOUND led to a lie or MESSAGE that caused you to make an AGREEMENT about yourself that led to a VOW that you will never let yourself be hurt like that again.  All of this was orchestrated to keep us from the life that Jesus has for us.

God put core desires in each of our hearts that ultimately point back to Him.  Understanding those core desires, our talents, and experiences in the context of God’s larger story will lead us to the life we are looking for.

Assessment Questions:

  • Are you aware of how your past is affecting your present?
  • Are you comfortable sharing your story?  
  • Does your idea of church or being Christian line-up with what you learn at DCC?
  • What are you doing to stay in your story? (pursuing healing)
  • Can you describe your wounds?  The messages and agreements? The vows?
  • Are you openly sharing what is really going on in your life with others?

Potential Resources:

  • “Desire”, “Epic” and “Fathered by God” by John Eldredge
  • “The Drama of Scripture” by Craig Bartholomew and Michael Goheen
  • “King, Warrior, Magician, Lover” by Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette
  • DCC Messages on Story
  • Ransomed Heart Boot Camp or Captivating Retreat
  • “Leading with a Limp” and “The Healing Path” by Dan Allender
  • “The Healing Journey” study (His Healing Light Ministries)
  • Counseling Referrals (Group or Individual)
  • Restoration of the Heart retreat or videos (The Allender Center)

Experience Jesus

The Experience Jesus circle, in connection with the Discover Story circle, basically equals being rescued by Jesus.  Ask him/her how they think they are doing in the Experience Jesus circle. Does he/she have a solid understanding of the teaching of Jesus?  If not, perhaps a Starting Point group would be appropriate. If he/she knows the basics but wants to dig deeper, the Go Deeper website (godeeper.metooplace.com) has online resources that they can watch.  How’s the prayer life? Are they using the Ransomed Heart online prayer page? Has he/she listened to the Developing a Conversational Intimacy with God CDs? If yes to both of those, maybe Moving Mountains is the next step.  Is he/she spending time in the Word? Again, we are not asking you to be an accountability partner but rather encourage them to develop their own plan on what is a reasonable amount of time to be reading the Bible. Perhaps it’s listening to the Bible on audio books as he/she drives to work.  The key here is helping the person think through personal next steps in whichever circle they determine needs to focus while maintaining momentum in the circles they are currently strong in.

Experience Jesus:  Jesus didn’t come to bring a rule book, but walk through this life with us.  He wants us to experience the rescue He came to bring us.

Experiencing Jesus is more than Bible study, prayer, and fasting. These are all good for us and help give us structure to experience Jesus, but God isn’t a book to be studied. He is a friend and father and He is longing for us to experience Him for who He really is.

Historically the church has painted Jesus to be a wispy, angelic, frail, authority figure. And while Jesus is gentle, He is also an untamed and incomprehensible force, passionate for the people of this world – relentless, strong, humble, daring, dangerous, just, forgiving, passionate, and outrageous. Most of us have been taught a small fraction of who Jesus really is.

Jesus wants each of us to experience His rescue, peace, love, hope, healing, and freedom.   A conversational relationship with God is available and through it we can begin to experience the 100% grace & 100% truth of Jesus.  Then we can gain an understanding of God’s larger story – and our part in His story.

Assessment Questions:

  • Religion vs Relationship – how do you experience Jesus daily?
  • Where is God currently stretching you/making you grow?
  • What does spending time with God look like for you?  How often?
  • What are you doing to develop spiritually that impacts your leadership?
  • Are you regularly praying for others that do not know the freedom of Jesus?

Potential Resources:

  • “Starting Point” study by Andy Stanley
  • “Field Guide-Welcome to the Revolution” by Brian Tome
  • “Beautiful Outlaw” and “Waking the Dead” by John Eldredge
  • The Daily Prayer (Ransomed Heart)
  • “Developing a Conversational Intimacy with God” (Audio CD-Ransomed Heart)
  • “Sacred Romance”, “Walking with God” and “Moving Mountains” by John Eldredge
  • DCC’s Go Deeper Website – Basic Theology, Communion, Baptism courses
  • “The Life You’ve Always Wanted” by John Ortberg
  • “In A Pit with A Lion on A Snowy Day” by Mark Batterson

Colorado Springs’ Coffee Shop Is About More Than Coffee Pt. 3

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This is the third installment of our interview with Sean Buckles from Building 3 Coffee Roasters.

One thing is for sure, the growing coffee culture/industry in our city is doing BIG things! It is so great to see so many roasters and cafe owners not seeing each other as competition, but rather in partnership in serving up community in our city!

Please enjoy this last installment of our interview…and please be sure to go down to Building 3 and buy some of the best coffee in the city – and know that the money is going to support missional work in our city! How cool is that?