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July 27, 2010

Contest Time: Get the Word Out

You could win an iPad just by sharing the news about


First, if you haven't seen the new Small Groups Digizine, click here to check it out. It's a free resource with content from John Ortberg, Mark Batterson, Heather Zempel, Pat J. Sikora, and more, and it's specially designed to equip and inspire small-group leaders as they prepare for the fall.

Second, we need you to help us spread the word about our new Digizine, and about the great resources available through We want as many churches and small-group leaders as possible to be aware that they can have unlimited access to hundreds of downloadable, high-quality training resources and Bible studies, plus the largest archive of free articles, icebreakers, and expert advice available online.

That's why we are giving away an iPad (retail value of $499) in our new sweepstakes—plus several other fabulous prizes, including memberships, magazine subscriptions, and more. (Click here for official rules.)

There are four ways you can help us spread the word, and each one will get you entered into our iPad sweepstakes:

  1. Become a fan of the Facebook Page.

  2. Follow SmallGroupscom on Twitter and use the hashtag #SGDigizine to re-tweet one of our posts (limit one entry per day).

  3. Mention/review the Digizine (or a article or download) on your personal or church blog, then post the link in the Comments section below. Note: you've got to post a comment below with a link to your blog, or we'll never find it.) Again, this is limited to one entry per day.

  4. Click here to sign up for the newsletter. (Every person that signs up for the newsletter during the month of August will automatically be entered to win.)

And that's all you have to do! As you can see, it's possible to get your name thrown in the hat multiple times if you take a varied approach. Once we have all of the names collected, winners will be determined by random drawings. The contest runs all the way through the month of August, and we will be giving away lots and lots of prizes—so get busy!

Oh, and here's the official prize list, if you're interested:

  • Grand Prize: An Apple iPad 16GB (retail value of $499).

  • First Prize: Five entrants will receive a one-year Church Membership to (retail value of $199). Any winners that are already members will have their subscriptions extended by one year.

  • Second Prize: Ten entrants will receive a one-year subscription to their choice of Christianity Today magazine, Books and Culture, or Leadership Journal.

  • Third Prize: Twenty entrants will receive a free downloadable Training Pack or Bible Study from or

posted by Sam O'Neal at 4:20 PM | Comments (89) | Trackbacks (0)

July 26, 2010

"I Am": Coming to a Church Near You

This is a great opportunity from the creators of "Liquid."

If any of you like movies, you need to be aware of a great opportunity to feature a cool new movie in your church throughout the month of October. The movie is called I Am, and it was put together by the same folks who created the really helpful Liquid series of film-based Bible studies.

I just heard from Jeff Pries (one of the main drivers of this project) that I Am has been picked up by 20th Century Fox, so you know this isn't your typical "church film." (I have it on good faith that there will be no beams of light coming down from the clouds on a kneeling man while a choir sings in the background.)

And the great news is that churches will be able to feature the movie before it comes out in theaters, plus get a lot of great resources to supplement the experience of your congregations. I think it could be a really helpful experience for small groups, especially.

So, click here to get some more information about becoming an Event Church, and check out the trailer below.

I AM - The Movie - Trailer from Marcus Inc on Vimeo.

posted by Sam O'Neal at 11:58 PM | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

July 25, 2010

Poll Time: Biblical Interpretation

Which people in your church have the most influence when it comes to understanding and applying the Bible?

I've been thinking a lot recently about Biblical interpretation in the local church—namely, who are the people responsible for digging into the Bible to understand what it says (exegesis) and then apply the Bible's truths to our modern culture (hermeneutics).

Most churches in America have at least one full-time pastor who, on paper, is very well qualified to undertake the task of Biblical interpretation. Pastors have been to seminary, after all, and they spend hours every week studying the Word, right? Not to mention that huge library of books and commentaries in their office.

But churches also have several lay leaders who immerse themselves in Biblical interpretation—people like small-group leaders, Sunday school teachers, and so on. These folks are usually not trained on paper, yet they often have a lot of influence when it comes to the doctrines and practices accepted by the congregation.

I'm still trying to think through what all of this means, and how those realties impact Biblical interpretation in the local church. So, to help me out, please take the poll below and let me know which people are the primary drivers for Biblical interpretation in your church. In other words, which group of people have the most impact when it comes to the congregation understanding and applying the truths of the Bible?

posted by Sam O'Neal at 8:52 AM | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)

July 21, 2010

Video of the Week: Killer Community

With an emphasis on the "killer"

I remember seeing this at a conference last year, thought it was hilarious, and then couldn't find the video anywhere once I got back to the office. I stumbled upon it again this morning, and I figured I would share it with all of you.

You can find more from Johnny and Chachi at

posted by Sam O'Neal at 2:08 PM | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)

July 14, 2010

Question: Small Groups and Smaller Churches

Can you have both?


I've been doing a good bit of research for the next training download that I'm putting together: "Launching Small Groups in a Smaller Church." But I keep running across a set of ideas that are slightly confusing to me, and I would love to hear some outside opinions.

Basically, several articles and book excerpts I have read regarding small groups in a smaller church seem to imply that you can't have small groups in a smaller church. The argument is usually stated this way: if you are able to successfully run a small-groups ministry inside of a smaller church, the church will grow and grow until it can no longer be considered small.

That's not such a bad idea to express, I guess. I'd like to think that a successful small-groups ministry would in fact help any church grow.

But those statements seem to have a more sinister undertone. Namely, that if you are currently part of a smaller church, then you cannot have a healthy small-group ministry. Even more, these lines of thinking seem to imply that smaller churches are a problem in and of themselves—that a small church is automatically an unhealthy church.

What do you think? Are those statements true? Am I right to be confused? And what can we say about the intersection between small groups and smaller churches?

posted by Sam O'Neal at 3:17 PM | Comments (6) | Trackbacks (0)

July 9, 2010

Video of the Week: The Purple Pill

Feel the power of Transform small groups!

Here's a pretty creative promotional video for small groups, produced by Cary Christian Church. It's worth checking out!

posted by Sam O'Neal at 9:13 AM | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

July 6, 2010

Poll Time: Introvert or Extrovert

Which one are you?

In honor of our most-recent training download, Leading as an Introvert, I thought it would be cool to see how small-group leaders view themselves in terms of sociability and personality.

So here's a pretty simple poll question: Do you consider yourself to be an Introvert or an Extrovert?

posted by Sam O'Neal at 9:09 AM | Comments (24) | Trackbacks (0)