Friday, September 24, 2010

The ‘E’ in Group’s R.E.A.L Philosophy

Question #1 – What did you read this week? Can you remember?
Question #2 – What did you experience this week? Do you remember that?

Experience sticks. Simply reading a book or hearing a story, often doesn’t hit home with the same intensity. That’s the basic idea behind the ‘E’ in Group Publishing’s small group ministry philosophy, R.E.A.L.

As you may have guessed, the element that ‘E’ stands for is experiential. Again, the foundation for Group’s approach is: Learning that’s R.E.A.L. is…

In this second blog entry, we’re going to examine the idea and importance of ‘E’ in your small group. The foundational understanding is that what you experience in a small group context has far more lasting impact than merely what you read or hear.

Although basic, this thinking is critical for any church seeking to establish or build a small group philosophy. Why? Because we all know it to be true—experience sticks! We often read things—rich words, powerful truths, vivid word pictures woven together with beauty and grace—that, in the moment, touch us deeply. Yet, unfortunately, we can’t remember the details a week later.
Does it happen to you? I know it happens to me! (Even though I underline and highlight and take detailed notes.)

Read this nugget from R.E.A.L.: Surprisingly Simple Ways to Engage Adults, Group’s handy small group resource, “the more senses we use and more emotions we engage, the more likely a lesson will stick, be unforgettable, and become part of our daily lives.”

This quote reminds me of a small group experience that my wife and I had more than ten years ago. Our small group of newlywed couples was working through a study on marriage. The lesson for the evening was trust and communication. We had all read the chapter, enjoyed some good discussion—but what happened last was what stays in our minds years later. Each couple in the group blindfolded each other. We then gave our spouse directions on where to walk, moving from room to room, for the next five minutes. Then we switched. The person who had been blindfolded following directions became the guide. I still remember many of the emotions, thoughts, bumps, and things that my wife and I said to each other during that experience. The key word—experience!

What is your group doing to experience life together? What is your group doing make your studies unforgettable experiences?

What ‘E’ have you been a part of in your small group that had a dramatic impact on your spiritual life? Share it with me and with others. Join the conversation!

The most creative experience will receive a copy of R.E.A.L.: Surprisingly Simple Ways to Engage Adults.

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