Virtual Small Groups Training (“Three Thirds” Method)

How to Lead a Video Meeting
Hello small group leaders! We are so excited to begin this new journey with you, and we hope you are too.

We would like to recommend using the following format for conducting your virtual small group video meetings. In the accompanying video we will model this process for you and walk you through the steps one by one. The first few minutes of this video will be an explanation of the format, and then after that we will actually use it to conduct a meeting. If you only want to hear the instructions, you only need to watch the first few minutes of the video. Additionally, we have detailed all of the elements in written form below for you to have as a reference. Remember, these are guidelines, not rules. You will need to listen to the Holy Spirit and tailor your approach to the group you are leading, but we have found that this format generally works for most small groups and leaves plenty of room for the spontaneous activity of the Holy Spirit.

The format we recommend using is commonly referred to by the nickname “three thirds” (3/3), because there are three basic elements or movements. It is helpful to think of these movements in terms of chronology—past, present and future:

  1. Past: The first portion of the meeting consists of what we call “care,” or checking in on how everybody is doing. This is the part of the meeting for looking back in review, especially with regard to the goals we set the previous week. Our preferred method for checking in is asking each person to share briefly how they did with their obedience goals, and how they are doing in their three primary relational spheres (Up: relationship with God. In: relationships with fellow
    believers and family.
    Out: relationships with unbelievers). Alternatively, each person can simply share a “high” and “low” from the week. It is also a good idea to begin the meeting with a brief moment of “vision casting” (see example video here) and with some form of worship (reading a Psalm, singing a song, giving thanks, etc.)
  2. Present: The second portion of the meeting consists of prayerful discussion, usually centered around a selected passage of Scripture. This is the part of the meeting for looking (and listening) to what Jesus is doing and saying now, in the present moment. The most helpful method for this is to select a passage of Scripture (story passages tend to work best, especially those found in the four gospels) and then walk through the following steps:
    1. As the facilitator, first summarize the passage in your own words.
    2. Invite someone else to read the passage out loud.
    3. Invite a third person to “re-tell” the passage in their own words.
    4. Discuss the question: “What do we learn from this passage about who God is and what He does?”
    5. Discuss the question: “What do we learn from this passage about who we are and what we do?”
  3. Future: The third and final portion of the meeting consist of setting goals and asking Jesus to help us fulfill them. This is the part of the meeting for looking forward to the week ahead as we seek to live lives of practical obedience to what we have heard from Jesus. Often it is helpful to make some space for sitting in silence in order to listen to Jesus, reflect on what has been discussed, and ask Him the question: “How do you want me/us to practice obedience to what I/we have
    heard today?”
    (note that it is important to ask this question both individually and corporately)

The great thing about this format is that all you need is the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit, and the only thing the leader needs to do to prepare for a meeting is become familiar enough with the selected Scripture passage to be able to summarize it briefly at the front end. In this way, we make room for the Spirit of Jesus to speak to us directly through His Word and through His Body.

Resource for Group Discussions

  • Jesus is the Vision: This is our primary discipleship curriculum at Believers Church. If you and/or the other members of your group have not previously been through this material, we would like to ask that you start with this. It is designed specifically to be used with this format, and walks participants through all of the basic essentials of what it means to be a healthy church (i.e., the gospel message, and gospel lifestyle).
  • BC Sunday Sermon: Each week, we will be posting a study and discussion guide on the Believers Church webpage for those who would like to use the previous Sunday’s message as the primary content for their small group discussion.
  • The Prayer Course: This is an exceptional resource from 24-7 Prayer designed to help people dive deep into lives of prayer. It includes videos, discussion guides, and an extensive toolshed of additional resources.
  • Lectio 365: This is another resource from 24-7 Prayer which serves as a daily guide for prayer and Scripture reading/meditation. Any of the readings and selections from this resource could be plugged into this format.

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Posted on

March 30, 2020