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Small Groups

Where We’ve Been and Where We’ll End

by Dr. Dan Stolebarger


We believe that the best place for the discipleship process to take root is in the midst of a small group, not a large congregation.

The Church began in homes and will one day end in homes.

— Chuck Missler

I believe in the power of Small Groups! I believe that the best place for the discipleship process to take root is in the midst of a small group, not a large congregation. Now, before I jump into this topic let me first say that I am not a Church hater! I am not anti-Church! I am simply pro-Discipleship!

The Original Small Group

I do not believe it was a coincidence that when Rabbi Yeshua began His ministry He selected twelve, not twelve hundred, to be “with” Him.

As the years go by we have seen the numbers in Koinonia Institute gradually grow. We believe our Medallion programs are excellent, but we believe that it is time for us to find creative ways to build the koinonia of our Institute. Again we are reminded of our Lord’s command to go into all the world and make disciples!

With that being said, we are moving forward with an “intentional plan” to build small groups within the Koinonia Institute community by networking with our KI Deputy Provosts. I know that the small group concept exploded onto the church scene years ago and that they come in all different shapes and sizes. So, let me give you a basic tutorial of where we are heading.

The Basics

A minimum size of a small group is two. If you only have one, then it’s not a group—it’s just you! For the record there is nothing wrong with a group of two!

Consistency is one of the keys to success, so be clear when it comes to your group’s expectations.

  • This should be a group experience, remember people learn best by participating.
  • Seek to maintain a balance between teaching and discussion.
  • Encourage discussion and transparency.
  • Stress and maintain confidentiality.
  • Stay flexible for surprises.

Global Groups

Our vision is to have Koinonia Institute Groups globally. Who knows how long our religious freedoms will continue? I think it is prudent to plan ahead and I do believe that as the “end” approaches we need to have our network in place. As an online community we know the importance of communication, but oftentimes we do not have the luxury of face-to-face encounters.

Our Local Group

Currently we have started a small group on Tuesday nights at our facility in Post Falls. We believe that those best to address small groups are those who are actively involved in a small group! So, here’s what we are doing: We gather together at 6:45 pm and end at 8:15 pm. One thing that I think is important is to begin on time and to end on time! We then divide our evening into three sections. We have a weekly reading schedule that our group receives daily, so when they come on Tuesday night we are prepared to answer our pre-assigned discussion questions.

We use our three Koinonia Institute pillars as the foundation to our evening. In other words, we have a time to discuss world events, this is our ISSACHAR section, then we head into our BEREAN time where we have a short prepared devotional from our reading, and then we launch into our group discussion. We conclude our evening with our KOINONOS pillar, which for us is a set time for intercessory prayer. We have a prayer list that is connected to our reading schedule.

Here is an example from a recent Tuesday night small group meeting:

DANIEL

  1. What makes the seventy weeks of Daniel the most amazing prophecy in the entire Bible?
  2. Jesus warns us that in the end deception will be thick and it will take effort not to be deceived! How does one keep from being deceived?

ACTS

  1. Who are some of the relatively unknown GREATS in the Bible?
  2. What is the key to a good conscience?

1 JOHN

  1. What are the ramifications of the following verse: “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.”
  2. What are the major themes of John’s epistle?

One of our goals as we develop our world of small groups is to record these building blocks and make them available weekly on our website in order to assist groups in getting started. One thing that we have learned over the years is the importance of structure. The Bronze program is highly successful, and I believe that one of the reasons is that we provide an easy and understandable pathway. You take four classes, we provide you the curriculum and suggest an order, and then turn our new member loose!

In the same way we want to provide a structure to start our Small Groups. Again, we are excited to begin this new adventure and encourage you all to start a small group. And then keep an eye out for our additional guidance on how to get involved with building small groups.

An Invitation To Join Us!

At our Strategic Perspective Conference in Coeur d’Alene this fall, on Thursday night, October 23, we will host an open forum with our KI members. Small groups will undoubtedly be a main topic of these discussions. Watch for our live streaming invitations for the conference.

[Ed. Note: For more information on small groups, listen to session three of Spiritual Disciplines by Dan Stolebarger.]


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