Good ideas for small group spiritual formation from Neil Cole:
What is a Life Transformation Group?
A life transformation group is a simple but powerful concept. It is a group of two or three people (when it gets to four, it divides into two groups of two) that agrees to read approximately 30 chapters of Scripture a week, and meet weekly for
- Confession of sin
- Accountability around Scripture reading
- Prayer for the lost
The group can meet any time, anywhere-most commonly in a restaurant. The groups are not coed. There is no book or curriculum; they just read and discuss the Bible. (Pretty far out, I know!) There is a pretty healthy intake of Scripture. If everybody does not do the reading agreed upon, they agree to read it again. There is no leader needed in the group.
What are the accountability questions?
Groups can adapt or substitute on this, but here are the suggested questions used for discussion:
- Have you been a testimony this week to the greatness of Jesus Christ with both your words and actions?
- Have you been exposed to sexually alluring material or allowed your mind to entertain inappropriate thoughts about someone who is not your spouse this week?
- Have you lacked any integrity in your financial dealings this week, or coveted something that does not belong to you?
- Have you been honoring, understanding, and generous in your important relationships this past week?
- Have you damaged another person by your words, either behind their back or face-to-face?
- Have you given in to an addictive behavior this week? Explain.
- Have you continued to remain angry toward another?
- Have you secretly wished for another’s misfortune so that you might excel?
- Did you finish your reading this week and hear from the Lord? What are you going to do about it?
- Have you been completely honest with me?
Cole has been doing LTGs for a long time. He has experimented with and collected quite a number of alternate lists of questions. Consider John Wesley’s questions from more than two centuries ago:
- Am I consciously or unconsciously creating the impression that I am better than I am? In other words, am I a hypocrite?
- Am I honest in all my acts and words, or do I exaggerate?
- Do I confidentially pass on to another what was told me in confidence?
- Am I a slave to dress, friends, work, or habits?
- Am I self-conscious, self-pitying, or self-justifying?
- Did the Bible live in me today?
- Do I give it time to speak to me every day?
- Am I enjoying prayer?
- When did I last speak to someone about my faith?
- Do I pray about the money I spend?
- Do I get to bed on time and get up on time?
- Do I disobey God in anything?
- Do I insist upon doing something about which my conscience is uneasy?
- Am I defeated in any part of my life?
- Am I jealous, impure, critical, irritable, touchy, or distrustful?
- How do I spend my spare time?
- Am I proud?
- Do I thank God that I am not as other people, especially as the Pharisee who despised the publican?
- Is there anyone whom I fear, dislike, disown, criticize, hold resentment toward, or disregard? If so, what am I going to do about it?
- Do I grumble and complain constantly?
- Is Christ real to me?
This list, adapted by Phil Helfer, pastor of Los Alto Brethren Church in Long Beach, California, is a simplified list:
- Have you experienced God in your life this week?
- What is God teaching you?
- How are you responding to his prompting?
- What sin do you need to confess?
- How did you do with your reading this week?
Want a really simple list?
- What is God telling you?
- What are you doing about it?
[HT: Building Church Leaders]