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Posts Tagged ‘small groups’


While at General Assembly, I spotted a book in the exhibit hall that I was curious about from online. I like to actually flip through a book. Yes, sometimes you can download a sample for a book. But like the one I just did, you just can’t flip through it. You scroll thru blank pages to get to the table on contents. You don’t flip to random pages. It’s just … different.

Caring for One Another: 8 Ways to Cultivate Meaningful Relationships By Edward T. Welch cover imageAnyway, that book is Caring for One Another by Edward Welch. It interested me as a small group discussion guide. It seems to be a companion to his book Side By Side: Walking with Others in Wisdom and Love. It seems to track with the second part of that book.

It has 8 lessons:

  1. With All Humility
  2. Move Toward Others
  3. Know the Heart
  4. Know the Critical Influences
  5. Be Personal and Pray
  6. Talk About Suffering
  7. Talk About Sin
  8. Remember and Reflect

The goal here is developing vibrant community among Christians. His intention is that the lesson be read, and the questions at the end of the lesson be discussed. There are not so many questions that you will feel the pressure of time constraints.

Side by Side: Walking with Others in Wisdom and Love Welch, Edward T. cover imageWhere some will struggle is way Scripture is used. There are often references to Scripture to support a point. But it isn’t the development of a text or two in the course of the lesson. As a one off, I can live with that. As a steady diet, it would be problematic.

In thinking about my own church context, this series would likely be a hard sell though the overall subject would likely be quite helpful and what I want to develop. I want them to learn how to talk about these things with one another so they can care with one another. Like most sinners, we struggle with the superficial and the common ground: jobs, sports, hobbies etc.

One of the great needs is to connect a person’s particular needs with Scripture. It does take a growing knowledge of Scripture (it will always get back to that). Welch wants people to see that their problems are addressed by Scripture, and Scripture is one of the primary means of ministry to one another. Another is prayer, as he covers in another lesson.

He wants people to be able to understand more of their heart and begin to address the heart in their conversations- evaluating desires and longings, demands and expectations by Scripture. Ministry becomes more personal and powerful as we do.

At times Welch could utilize some important distinctions. For instance, in the lesson on sin he writes “Suffering, for example, cannot separate us from the Lord, but hard hearts and persistent sin break our relationship with God.”

I would address this in terms of the distinction between union and communion or fellowship. If we are truly united to Christ, nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. Not suffering and not even sin because were are fully justified in Christ. It can break our fellowship or communion with Christ. God may seem distant, and He will discipline us like a father should his son. Our relationship is strained, but not broken.

That is quite a mouthful, and he’s trying to be brief in this book. He can’t say everything, but those distinctions are of great importance. The book could use a few more of those.

This book would be helpful for training small group leaders so they can begin to model this to their people. It would also be helpful for a small group so their subsequent studies are more impactful because they know and care for each other. That is what the church should be engaged in because God has cared for us in Christ Jesus, and makes us into people who care for others.

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I was pondering counseling yesterday.  It was a nice, quiet morning at the house.  I was considering why I was foolish enough to not pursue a license after getting my Master of Arts in Counseling.  I was single at the time, and it would have been easy to spend my day off seeing clients.  Such a license could possibly provide additional income while I am between church positions.

But then I remembered that counseling is for those with extra cash, and lots of people don’t have extra cash these days.  So, perhaps my little counseling practice wouldn’t really help.  This got me on a different train of thought.

I had a phone interview this week.  We were discussing my experience with leading small groups.  One thing I learned during my counseling coursework was about processing thoughts and feelings.  Some people who “talk too much” in a small group process thoughts externally.  They are not necessarily sinfully trying to dominate the discussion or show off (though that is a possibility).  They might have to “think out loud.”  Similarly, those who process information internally, tend not to talk in a small group.  It is painful when you’re leading a group of people who process internally.

Those who process ideas externally tend to process emotions internally.  Likewise, those who process ideas internally tend to process emotions externally.  I think out loud, which can drive some people nuts.  I have a need to talk through what I’m studying.  This is on reason I blog- not many people here in Winter Haven enjoy talking about the books I’m reading.  But I need to be alone to process my emotions.  After a disagreement, I often need to be alone to figure out what I’m feeling and why.  Drives CavWife nuts.

This connects, trust me.

Those most likely to seek counseling are those who process emotions externally.  Most counselors will look for affect- emotion- and most people go to a counselor to work through emotions they have not been able to process.  They have tried, but their friends were unable to walk them through the process.

Of course, there are cognitive-behavioral therapists.  They will attract those who process thoughts externally. The counselors will probably be uncomfortable with lots of emotion, preferring to help people process thoughts & actions.

This makes so much sense now: counselors choosing a theory or style based on how they process information & emotions and counselees choosing a therapist, in part, based on the same principle.

Why wasn’t I told this?  Am I the only one silly enough to think about this?  Perhaps I just have way too much time on my hands. 

This also explains why I’ve felt like such a lousy counselee.  I’m thinking I should be processing my emotions with the counselor when I actually process my thoughts.  I thought I had to be someone I was not in order to make the counselor’s job easier.  How’s that for neurotic?

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