Author: Elle Campbell

11 Must-Have Small Group Supplies

When Kenny and I aren’t doing Stuff You Can Use, we’re doing Middle School Ministry at an awesome church in Buffalo, NY. It’s pretty fun. We’re learning a lot, we’re trying a lot, and part of the reason this blog exists is so we can share with you some of our experiences and experiments. Maybe some things we share will spark something really genius in your ministry context. That’s what we’re up to in today’s post.

One of our personal core philosophies in ministry is this: in everything we do, we want to set up our Small Group Leaders to win with their students. In every aspect of ministry, we want to give our Small Group Leaders every opportunity and resource they need to be successful. Because they’re the heart and hands of what we do.

One of the ways we’ve tried to do that has been to create a Small Group Leader Supply Station. It’s sort of a one-stop shop for anything and everything our Small Group Leaders (or SGL’s) might need. Today, we wanted to give you a peek at it!

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NEW! | The 4 Elements Small Group Projects

On Wednesday, we introduced you to a little something called The 4 Elements. And to go along with those 4 Elements, we also told you we had some brand new resources coming in just a couple of days.

Well, today is that day. You ready for some new resources?

Now just to recap: The 4 Elements are the four things that our church uses to measure and evaluate spiritual formation. They’re the four things that we believe a life following Jesus is made up of: 

  1. Growing in Friendship with God1
  2. Growing in Christlike Relationships
  3. Knowing and Using Your Gifts
  4. Sharing Your Story

In SHINE! (our Middle School Ministry), we’ve decided to incorporate The 4 Elements into our small group strategy. Why? Because we think our Small Group Leaders are the people who know our students best, and that they’re also the people who can best guide their small group of students into a deeper level of discipleship and spiritual formation.

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The 4 Elements of Following Jesus

Dear friends, we have some news. Now don’t freak out… we know you loved them (and so do we)… but our middle school ministry is abandoning The 5 Faith Skills.

(In case you’re not sure what The 5 Faith Skills are, they’re a little something that we’ve used in the past to help us figure out how to approach discipleship and spiritual formation with our students. The super smart people at The reThink Group came up with them, and they’ve been really helpful for us. They are: Navigate the Bible, Personalize Scripture, Dialogue with God, Share Your Story, and Worship with Your Life. We even created a bunch of activities to help us implement them – and made them available for free here on Stuff You Can Use.)

But this school year, we’ve made a big change. 

As much as we love The 5 Faith Skills (which is a lot), we’ve decided to embrace something similar to the 5 Faith Skills, but ultimately more in line with the specific vision of our church and our pastor.

And today, we wanted to tell you about it!

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Thanksgiving in a Cup… YUM!

Happy almost-Thanksgiving, friends! This week, we’re really thankful for you. For real. Thank you so much for all of your love, your support, your encouragement, and your help spreading the word about what’s going on around here at Stuff You Can Use. You make us smile.

So in honor of Thanksgiving, let’s talk about how we’re celebrating this delicious holiday with our favorite kids and students. We’ll tell you one of our ideas, and then it’s your turn. Ready? Ok.

We’ve got this guy on our team named Andy. He’s crazy. And he volunteers his time to be the Game Master and Fun Expert for our Middle School Ministry. Because Andy sometimes likes to make our students participate in gross food-related group games, he has earned the prestigious title of Chef Andy.

Meal in a Cup is one of our most infamous group games. And, for some reason that is entirely beyond our comprehension, our students love it.

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How Western New York is Redefining Church Partnership

Here in Buffalo, we’re really blessed to serve under the leadership of a guy named Jerry Gillis. He’s really great. There are lots of reasons why we love our pastor, but one of the things we love most is his heart for seeing the Body of Christ coming together in unity and partnership for the sake of the mission. It’s a vision that he has been casting and championing to our staff and congregation for years.

And the cool thing? Here in Buffalo, it’s actually happening. And it’s happening in an area that didn’t exactly have the best track record for church partnership. Years ago, relationships between churches here in Buffalo were more often characterized by competition and, sometimes, even animosity.

But in the last several years, we’ve seen tons of very different churches in the Buffalo area come together as “the Church of Buffalo” to do some pretty crazy things. First of all, how about the fact that “the Church of Buffalo” is actually a phrase people use around here? Crazy, right?

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