Friday, September 30, 2011

Ministry Resources - Handouts for Seven Steps Groups

In my last several posts, I've explained that I uploaded the resources that I've written to our website. Here's the link to these free ministry resources:

The third resource listed on the site is a file for handouts for a group called "Seven Steps to Growth and Healing." Here's a link just to that document:

As I mentioned in my previous post, I've been able to lead three or so groups through the "Seven Steps" materials, while my friend Gary Spears has also led two or three groups through the material as well. The results were very positive as people learned more about important Biblical truths, including the person of Jesus Christ, His work and the importance of His work in their lives.

Why use the handouts?
While planning to lead my first group that went through these concepts, I had initially planned to simply distribute the Seven Steps booklet. Here's a link to the booklet:

As I was thinking about the format and my plan to distribute the entire booklet at once, I soon realized that we would not have time to read through an entire chapter of the booklet during each week's group. In addition, I really wanted people to focus on each week's topic without jumping ahead.

Thus, I put together the handouts. They contain the Scripture passages, major concepts and discussion questions for each chapter in the booklet, but avoid the stories and some additional materials that I'd included in the booklet.

A few notes on logistics....
When leading this material in a group setting, I found it helpful to meet over seven consecutive weeks.

As I noted above, I have also found it helpful to wait to distribute the entire Seven Steps booklet until the final week - as people are likely to skip topics if they have the booklet with them in their small group. Instead, I provide copies of the handouts for participants to use - but only distribute one week at a time.

At the end of the seven weeks I distribute the entire booklet for participants to read on their own for further spiritual growth.

Some final thoughts about the Seven Steps...
My prayer is that you will find the Seven Steps booklet not only a helpful resource for those in your group, but also for you personally. Each time I review these I find areas where I need to grow deeper in my understanding of God and His purposes.


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Ministry Resources - Seven Steps of Growth and Healing

In my last post I mentioned that I have uploaded all of my resources to our website. Here is the link to these free ministry resources:

The second resource listed on the site is a booklet that I wrote in May, 2007 called "Seven Steps to Growth and Healing: A Guide to Recovery and Wholeness." Here's a link just to that booklet:

The Seven Steps booklet is designed for either individual or small group study.

Over the years, I've wondered if I should change the title because of the questions I've received from some people when they've seen the title. Some, when they see the word "healing" immediately assume that I have written something about physical healing (which I haven't). Others, when they see the words "seven steps" assume that I've written some demanding kind of self-help book that doesn't rely on God's grace....I haven't tried to do that either.

Origins of the booklet
To understand what is in the booklet, let me first explain its origin.

The writing came about after having helped out with several recovery oriented groups at the Vineyard Community Church in Cincinnati, OH. My wife, Sue, is an assistant director in the ministry, and over the years she's asked me to fill in from time to time.

As I was interacting with the group members, the thought struck me to put into writing the recommendations that I was giving to people to encourage their relationship with God.

As I began to write the booklet, I was stuck with the thought that each of the seven Biblical truths that I identified have a corresponding lie or myth that many people believe. These "lies" are so commonplace that as I began to talk to people about them in small groups, it was evident that people were struggling with one or more of them on a very frequent basis.

What's in the "Seven Steps" booklet?

After a brief introduction, Chapter 1 encourages readers to "look for God's presence in your life", noting that the Bible explains that God is actively involved in our lives as our creator and sustainer and is very interested in each of us.

Chapter 2 of the booklet examines the myth of "I can do this on my own" and encourages readers to accept God's offer of salvation for the forgiveness of sins by trusting in His Son, Jesus Christ.

Contrasting the myth "I'll never change", Chapter 3 of the booklet explores the mystery of new life in Christ, looking at the blessings of knowing God, bearing "the fruit" of being connected with Him, being free from the bonds of sin, being incorporated into the body of Christ and being filled with the Holy Spirit.

Next, Chapter 4 encourages an exploration of the broken places in our lives (such as our fears, feelings, our actions and our history) by asking God to help us recognize these areas...instead of denying that we have no problems.

Chapter 5 encourages readers (or group members) to turn these broken areas over to God. In so doing, we seek His truth and healing touch, acknowledging that He is faithful and good.

After seeking God's provision with our difficulties, Chapter 6 encourages readers (or group members) to "respond to God's direction". These responses, as explained in Scripture, are specific actions that God desires (based on our circumstances) such as confession/repentance, forgiveness, waiting, trusting, renewing our mind and taking other steps toward health.

Finally, Chapter 7 looks at "giving away what you have learned" contrast to the myth that "nobody is interested" or could benefit from what you have learned.

After writing the booklet in 2007, I had a chance to lead several groups through this material....the results were very positive, as people explored truths about Christianity, learned more about the person and work of Christ and His leading in their lives.

My friend Gary Spears also led a few groups with this material and saw some positive my next post I'll share a few things about what we learned and give a few tips for leading groups through the "Seven Steps".