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February 25, 2009

What Is Dot Com(unity)?

Take a closer look at this innovative learning experience.

I'm very excited to announce an innovative new learning tool that will be featured right here on the Small Group Dynamics blog. Actually, it's not exactly a tool. It's more like a co-learning experience.

Here's the basic idea: I want to gather a large number of small-group leaders from across the country (and the world) who will committ to studying the same material in their groups at the same time. In other words, I want to have small groups in Texas and Maryland and Chicago and New Zealand all work through the same Bible study.

Why would anyone do such a thing, you ask? The answer is pretty simple: So we can learn together.

Let's be honest about something here: leading a small group is tough work. To lead well takes a lot of effort and study and emotional energy, not to mention a lot of time. But what if you as a group leader had access to an extended group of people who could help? What if you could talk with a group leader who successfully solved the problem your group is facing now? What if you could talk with someone who already tried that icebreaker and knows whether or not it will work? What if you could get your questions answered--and help answer the questions of others, as well?

That's my vision for Dot Com(unity).

posted by Sam O'Neal at 1:53 PM | Comments (11) | Trackbacks (0)

What Could Have Been...

Here's a belated look at what was happening at the Saddleback Small Groups Conference.

As I mentioned before, I filmed a small "video introduction" to the Saddleback Campus while I was attending the small groups conference. Due to technical difficulties, I wasn't able to post the video to this blog last week when the conference was happening. But now that I'm back in my cozy cube at the SmallGroups.com headquarters, those technical troubles have been solved.

So here you go:

posted by Sam O'Neal at 11:04 AM | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)

February 20, 2009

Lunch with a Legend

A very cool story from one of the pioneers of today's small-group ministry

I just got back from a story-telling lunch with Lyman Coleman. I think the best word to describe it would be inspirational. If you're not familiar with Lyman's story, it is worth doing a little research to find out. (And I'll see if I can get a chat with him on video sometime this afternoon--no promises.)

But Lyman told one story that I think everyone involved with small groups needs to hear.

One thing that I've known about Lyman for a little while is that he is deeply, deeply in love with his wife. They were married for 43 years when she passed away a couple years ago, but I can't use the past tense when I talk about Lyman's feelings for her. He is deeply in love with her still--present tense.

In the lunch today, he talked about how his small group came around him after she died. It was a group of guys, and they had a tradition where every week they would get together and talk about what they were going to do that would contribute to their mission of building God's kingdom. After his wife passed away, Lyman told his group, "I lost my wife, and I just can't do anything for my mission this week."

Well, his group let him get away with that for about six months. Then they asked him, "Lyman, what are you going to do for your mission this week?" Again, Lyman said that he had nothing to contribute after the passing of his wife. And his group said, "Okay, Lyman. We'd like you to go down to the basement and leave the light off. We want you to sit quietly and think, and don't come back up here until you've had an idea."

So Lymnan went downstairs and thought. After an hour he came back up and said, "I've had an idea. I'm going to talk with my pastor this week and see if he'll let me start a men's small group in the church." His group members said, "That's great, Lyman. Welcome back to the group."

After he told the story at our lunch today, Lyman said, "You just can't do it alone anymore." And I think he's right.

I also don't know if I would have been able to do what the members in Lyman's small group did if one of my close friends were hurting--I don't know if I would have the guts. Actually, I don't know if I would have had the guts to receive those words if I were in Lyman's position.

What about you?

posted by Sam O'Neal at 3:33 PM | Comments (5) | Trackbacks (0)

Hello from Saddleback!

A first look at the Saddleback Small Groups conference

Sam1.jpg

When I left the SmallGroups.com headquarters in Chicago, IL, it was 20 degrees outside and snowing. Now look at me! I'm at the Saddleback Small Groups Conference in San Diego, California, and as you can see from the photo, we've got palm trees and waterfalls. I like it.

It's time for an authentic moment--my first post about this conference was supposed to be much better. I spent most of yesterday afternoon walking around Saddleback's campus with my video camera, and I had hoped to provide all of you with a little "video tour" of the church and the conference. I don't mind telling you that the visuals were great, and I was extremely witty and informative.

Unfortunately, I am experiencing some technical difficulties when it comes to getting the video converted to a usable file and posted to this blog. So, pictures will have to do for now. I'll get things figured out with the video when I get back to the office next week.

Until then, I'll be updating you with some of the things that are going on around here. I'm particularly excited about something called the "Legend's Lunch" that's happening in an hour or so.

Stay tuned!

posted by Sam O'Neal at 11:51 AM | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)