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OCBF Small Group

Leader Handbook

OCBF Small Group Leader Handbook

Table of Contents
Theology, Vision, Structure of OCBF Small Groups3-5
Theology, Vision, Structure3
Small Group Values...4
Small Group Leadership Pathway..........................................................................4-5

Small Group Facilitator and Leadership Team Expectations6-13

Small Group Facilitator Job Description and Facilitator Expectations..6
OCBF Small Group Facilitator Covenant.....7-9
Facilitator Absence Policy...10
What to Expect from Your Small Group Leadership Team11-12
Small Group Leadership Contact Info13

Connect: Getting Started and Getting Connected as a Group...14-27

Connecting Potential Members to Your Group...14-15
New Group Member Request Form16
Potential Members First-Contact Guide.17
Launching Your First Meeting18-20
OCBF Small Group Covenant.21
Small Group Meeting Time Allocation..22
Small Group Childcare Options.23
Group Attendance Policy24
Group Reporting and Group Census..25
Group Roster.26
Group Profile.27

OCBF Small Group Leader Handbook

Table of Contents, continued
Grow: Resources to Help You and Your Group Grow...28-37
Curriculum Selection Guide..28-29
Maintaining Confidentiality...30-31
Resolving Conflict Biblically.32-34
Establishing Healthy Boundaries...35-36
OCBF Resource Sheet..37
Serve: Service Projects, Multiplying Leaders38-40
Service Projects List38-39
Apprenticing New Leaders..40

OCBF Small Group Leader Handbook

Theology, Vision, Structure of OCBF Small Groups
Theology of Small Groups (or, why are we doing this?)

God is an eternal community (small group) of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and He
made us in His image (Genesis 1:26). This means you were designed to live life in
community with others.

The Connection of Vertical and Horizontal Relationships: the command to love God is
sewn together with the command to love others (Matthew 22:37-40). That means that
we will experience more of God, the more we experience community with others.

Our church, communities, and world need this: Christian witness is only as powerful
as the love demonstrated in community with one another. By this all men will know
that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13:35). Small
groups give us the opportunity to demonstrate this kind of love to the outside world as
we connect in community with one another, grow spiritually together, and serve our
church, community, and world together.

Dr. Evans Vision for OCBF Small Groups

To progressively develop small group opportunities for the purpose of intentional

biblical application in a relational context of accountability and connectivity.

To have a means of measurably identifying the spiritual growth of OCBF members.

To develop an ongoing unified group of well-trained facilitators who will help create
and maintain a relational environment for discipleship to occur.

OCBF Groups Structure

Spiritual Growth Groups: a 12 week on-campus course following membership that

utilizes Dr. Evans Life Essentials book. Participants are organized into small groups
where they explore the essentials to having a healthy, spiritual life.

OCBF Small Groups: groups are organized by affinities (Mens groups, Womens
groups, Couples groups, Singles groups, and Mixed Couple and Singles groups). We
have on-campus groups that meet on Sundays and Wednesdays and off campus

OCBF Small Group Leader Handbook

groups that meet throughout the week in homes/restaurants/coffee shops. Groups
primarily study Dr. Evans sermon series, but they are offered a list of approved small
group curriculum choices. Small groups meet from September-November and

Our 3 Small Group Values

Connect: A Small Group where we are connected in community by fellowshipping

and providing care for one another so that no one stands alone (Fellowship).

Grow: A Small Group where we grow together by applying Gods Word to our lives
(Education) by studying the curriculum and responding to Gods presence by praying,
singing, and praising together (Worship).

Serve: A Small Group that serves one another by shared leadership and serves together
through service projects on mission to our church, community, and world (Outreach).

Small Group Leader Training Pathway

Leader Training 101: Basic
Introduction to mission and vision of small groups

Introduction to the structure of small groups and expectations of small group


Small group facilitator basic training (listening, asking good questions, group

Small group leader covenant: commitment to church (membership,

theology, ethics); commitment to leader training pathway (connect, grow,
serve modules)

Submission of ministry reference to support leader covenant

Tools: SG leader pathway; SG Leader Covenant; Facilitator FAQ

Leader Training 201: Connect

Building a Connected Group: strategies for encouraging connectivity within

your group

OCBF Small Group Leader Handbook

Building a Covenanted Group: the importance of group covenants, how to

utilize the group covenant in your group

Building a Caring Group: strategies for building a group that offers care and
support to group members; orientation to the churchs resources for care;
boundaries for care giving.

Tools: Group Covenant and Life Map

Leader Training 301: Grow

The Holy Spirit as the Agent of Growth: Gods role and my role in the growth of
group members

Scripture as the Fuel for Spiritual Growth: growing a groups Knowledge and
Application of Gods Word; strategies for more effective study, discussion, and
application of Scripture

Prayer and Praise as the Language/Response of Spiritual Growth

Prayer: building a group that creatively responds to God in prayer

Praise: building a group that acknowledges and celebrates God stories

Leader Training 401: Serve

Serving with Healthy Expectations: group attrition rates, group life cycles

Serving by empowering others to serve:

Spiritual Gifts: helping group members identify their place of ministry and
encouraging them to plug in

Shared Leadership: identifying roles/tasks for group members to share

responsibility; identifying an apprentice for leadership development

Service projects: identifying 1service project per a semester for your group

Tools: Spiritual Gifts List; Service project list, Spiritual Disciplines Resource sheet

OCBF Small Group Leader Handbook

Small Group Leader Expectations
Small Group Facilitator Job Description: a small group facilitator is a trained group
leader who will oversee an on-going group of no more than 12 people. The facilitator will
encourage connection, growth, and service within the small group by:
Modeling an openness to share their faith story
Facilitating the discussion of the approved curriculum
Encouraging participation by all group members
Coordinating prayer and care for group members

Small Group Facilitator Expectations

1. All small group facilitators will be growing Christians who have placed their faith alone in
Christ alone for salvation and have a growing, personal relationship with Jesus Christ. They
must also be a member of OCBF.
2. They will commit to a minimum of one year of service (2 semesters).
3. They will commit to completing the Small Group Leadership Pathway (101 Basic 201
Connect, 301 Grow, 401 Serve) within 1 year of assuming a leadership role as a facilitator.
4. They will commit to lead their group to connect with one another in community, grow
through the discussion and application of Gods Word, and promote an environment of
service and care for one another.
5. During the small group semesters (fall and spring) they will assemble their group a minimum of
2x a month with 1 additional scheduled time of outside fellowship and 1 service project
during the course of the semester.
6. They will send to the Small Group Leadership Team a beginning (at the end of first month of
the small group semester) and ending census (during the last month of the semester) of their
group, providing an updated roster and any changes to their small group profile.
7. They will commit to personally calling each group member at least once a month for
encouragement and prayer.
8. They will report any issues, questions, challenges, etc. that require a staff response to their
respective coordinators.
9. Attendance at all small group training events and facilitator meetings.
10. They will prioritize communication from the OCBF Small Groups Leadership Team by keeping
an active email address (and updating this if it changes) and regularly checking for small group
update emails.

OCBF Small Group Leader Handbook

OCBF Small Group Facilitator Covenant
Directions: Please initial next to each line and sign at the bottom to signify that you understand and agree to
the terms of the following covenant.
Small Group Facilitator Covenant:
1. I have placed my faith alone in Christ alone for my salvation and I have a personal relationship with
Jesus Christ. _____
2. I have completed the OCBF Membership class and I have received the right hand of fellowship._____
3. I have no current habitual struggles or moral issues (drugs, alcohol, cohabitation, infidelity etc.) that
would bring shame on the name of Jesus Christ or on Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship. _____
4. I am in full agreement with the OCBF Statement of Faith (see below). _____
5. I will commit to completing the Small Group Leadership Pathway (201 Connect, 301 Grow, 401 Serve)
in a reasonable amount of time (1 year). _____
6. I commit to lead my group to connect with one another in community, grow through the discussion and
application of Gods Word, and promote an environment of service and care for one another. _____
7. I will commit to a 1 year term of service (2 semesters). _____
The Small Group Ministrys Commitment to You
1. We will support you as a leader through our coaching network and on-going training and development.
2. We will provide curriculum to support your group in their knowledge and application of Gods Word.
3. We will develop tools and resources that will help you lead well as a facilitator.
4. We will build and promote your group through our website, small group directory, and regular
connection points.
5. We will regularly pray for you and your group members.
By signing below I indicate that I am in agreement with and committed to the Small Group Facilitator
Covenant and will submit one ministry reference to support my commitment.

Signature ____________________________________________________________
Printed Name _________________________________________________________
Date _________________________________________________________________

OCBF Small Group Leader Handbook

OCBF Statement of Faith
The Holy Scriptures
We believe the Holy Scriptures to be the verbal, inspired words of God, authoritative, and without error in
the original manuscripts. We further believe that the scriptures of both the Old and New Testaments are
designed for our practical instruction in faith and conduct.

The Godhead
We believe that the Godhead eternally exists in three persons: The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit; and
that these three are one God.

The Person And Work of the Lord Jesus Christ

We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, came into the world that He might manifest
God to men, fulfill prophecy, and become the Redeemer of a lost world. To this end, He was born of the
Virgin Mary, received a human body and a sinless human nature without ceasing to be God. We believe
that, in infinite love for the lost, He voluntarily accepted His Fathers will and became the divinely provided
sacrificial Lamb and took away the sins of the world. We believe He rose from the dead in the same body,
though glorified, in which He had lived and died and that His resurrected body is the pattern of the body
which ultimately will be given to all believers. We believe that on departing earth, He was accepted by His
Father and that His acceptance is a final assurance to us that His redeeming work was perfectly
accomplished. We believe that He became head over all things to the church, which is His body, and in
this ministry He does not cease to intercede and to be an advocate for the saved.

The Holy Spirit

We believe that the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity, dwells in every believer immediately after he
places his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and that God provides, through the Holy Spirit, power to live the
Christian life. We believe that every believer receives grace from God in the form of a spiritual gift, which
enables him to function as a member of the body of Christ.

The Personality Of Satan

We believe that Satan, the devil, is the prince of demons and the declared adversary of God and man.
However, when the Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross, He limited the power of the devil and guaranteed
the ultimate triumph of God.

We believe that no one can enter the kingdom of God unless born again spiritually, and that the new birth
of the believer comes only through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God. We believe, also, that our
redemption has been accomplished by the grace of God, an unmerited gift, given in love by God and not
the result of any human works. We believe that the explicit message of our Lord Jesus Christ to those whom
He has saved is to make Christ known to the whole world and that this is the purpose of the church through
the individuals within it. We believe that local churches, such as Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship, gather together

OCBF Small Group Leader Handbook

for practical instruction in the scriptures, for fellowship with God and with other believers, and for corporate
witness to the unsaved world. Our common spiritual goal is to grow toward Christs likeness.

The Rapture And The Second Coming Of Christ

We believe that a future period of great tribulation on the earth will be climaxed by the return of the Lord
Jesus Christ to the earth as He went in person in the clouds with power and great glory to establish His
millennial kingdom. But prior to this tribulation, we believe there will be the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ
in the air to receive to Himself into Heaven both His own who are alive and remain until His coming and
also all who have died in Jesus Christ.

Eternal State
We believe that at death the spirits and souls of those who have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation
pass immediately into His presence and there remain in conscious bliss until the resurrection of the glorified
body when Christ comes for His own, whereupon soul and body reunited shall be associated with Him
forever in glory. All those who rejected Jesus Christ will eternally be separated from God to endure His
eternal wrath forever.

Responsibility Of Believers
We believe that all believers should seek to walk by the Spirit, separating themselves from worldly practices
and witnessing by life and by word the truths of the Holy Scripture. We believe that all believers will be
judged at the judgment seat of Christ and rewarded based on their faithful obedience to Him in this life.

OCBF Small Group Leader Handbook

Absence Policy: What to do when you cant lead your group
If a Facilitator will be absent from their small group session please follow the procedure
listed below at least 3 days before your missed session. You must clearly identify and
confirm who will take your place for the session, prepare them in advance, and
communicate this to the rest of your group.

1. Call your coach and alert them of your coming absence.

2. If your small group has a co-facilitator/assistant or apprentice, the responsibility to lead

would go to them. Use the pre-approved curriculum to go over the main idea of the
material as well as how to manage the time within the group.

3. If your group is without the above mentioned positions, please indicate one group
member with the following qualities who will be able to take your place: a general
level of Biblical Knowledge, a life style that reflects Christ, Commitment and Follow
through to the group, a kind and caring disposition.

4. If there are no leadership options within your group the responsibility to lead will go to
your coach. Please note this option is only to be used under an extreme circumstance.

5. Lastly we ask that you review how the session went with your replacement upon


OCBF Small Group Leader Handbook

What to Expect from the OCBF Small Group Leadership Team
The OCBF small group leadership team is committed to being accessible to all facilitators,
providing resources for continued, growth, and praying for the facilitators needs along
with the needs of those in the group. We have established a support structure for each
facilitator in order to make sure that we meet the above goals.
1. The Coach
Each small group facilitator will be assigned to a coach who will be their FIRST line of
communication when there is a need within the group or with the individual facilitator.
Each facilitator should know their coach by name and have access to them within a
reasonable amount of time. The Coachs goal is to encourage and motivate each
facilitator, while disseminating information form the churchs leadership.
What to Expect from your coach:

One relational contact per month.- your coach will be in touch with you at
least once a month.

One individual, face to face meeting per year.-the purpose of this meeting is
do develop a deeper relationship, trouble shoot any possible issues within
the group, and think about strategic planning for the future of your small

One fellowship per semester.- We desire that your coaching net-work will
also serve as a source of community among fellow facilitators. Each coach
will have 12 facilitators in their net-work, with whom you will be able to
come together for mutual growth, understanding and fun!

Please note: A coach is not in place because you are not doing your job
properly, a coach is in place to make sure that you remain connected and
thriving as you are pouring into your own group.

2. The Coordinator
Each broad category of groups is led by a small group coordinator. Stevie Simmons ext
5501 is our Mens and Couples coordinator. Christen Jacobs ext 5502 is our Womens and
Singles coordinator. Terrie Pittman ext 9115 is our Spiritual Growth and Administrative

OCBF Small Group Leader Handbook

What to Expect from your coordinator:

Although your coach should be your first contact for small group questions,
your coordinator is also available to assist you.

Your coordinator will update you on various trainings, devotional material,

and possible service projects.

Your coordinator can also serve as a guide when you are dealing with
escalated issues that may cause harm to a group member or someone
associated with them.

Your coordinator is also available and equipped to handle theological and

biblical questions that may arise during your group time.

Small group coordinators oversee and train your coaches to ensure that they
are being resourced and growing spiritually.

3. The Director
The Director of Small Groups is Rev. John Fortner. His main goal is to oversee the overall
growth and development of our small group program and to give oversight to our small
group leadership team . He creates the big picture strategy for our small groups ministry,
including selection and editing of curriculum, development of our training processes, and
establishing our small group policies and procedures. Rev. Fortner is very accessible
when you need him, and he can be contacted at ext 9122.


OCBF Small Group Leader Handbook

OCBF Small Group Leadership Contact List
John Fortner (director of small groups):

Christen Jacobs (women and singles groups):
214-672-9100, ext. 5502

Terrie Pittman (spiritual growth, administration)

Stevie Simmons (men and couples groups):
214-672-9100, ext. 5501


OCBF Small Group Leader Handbook

Connect: Getting Started and Getting Connected as a Group
Connecting Potential Members to a Small Group
The process for connecting potential members to a small group is outlined below.
Additionally, we encourage each facilitator to invite friends, family, co-workers and
neighbors to become a part of their group. Seek Gods direction in who you should invite
to become a member of your group and remain open to receive those He sends.
1. On-Line Locator Process:
a. Potential members will submit a request via the on-line locator which generates an
email that is received by the group leader and the Small Group Leadership Team.
b. The group leader will simply retain the email and not make contact with the
potential member until they are notified to do so by the Small Group Leadership
c. The Small Group Leadership Team will follow-up with the group leader after the
request is reviewed for the following:
Alignment with the group profile.
Duplicate requests.
Requests which would exceed your maximum group limit.
d. Once the Small Group Leadership Team has approved the potential member for
addition to your group, you will be notified and required to contact your member with a
warm invitation within 48 hours. A confirmation email must be sent to within 24 hours of contact.
e. If contact cannot be made with the new member, the group leader will send an email to for follow-up by the Small Group Leadership Team. It is
not your fault, if the new member does not respond to your email and phone contact
attempts. Typically 30-50% of the people that sign-up for a small group choose later not
to join.
2. New Group Member Request Form:
a. If you have personally contacted an individual that you would like to add to your
group, you may utilize the New Group Member Request Form.


OCBF Small Group Leader Handbook

b. The form may be obtained from the Technology Institute building, the Small Group
Leadership Office which is located in the Family Life Center or it can be sent to you via
Complete the Facilitator Information and New Group Member
Information Sections.
Turn the form in to the Small Group Leadership Office.
c. The Small Group Leadership Team will notify you when the new member has been
added to your group roster.
Thank you for your commitment to building community at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship.


OCBF Small Group Leader Handbook



DATE OF REQUEST:________________________________________






On-campus Sunday Cycle

1/3 Sundays 10:15-11:30am

On-campus Wednesday Cycle

1/3 Wed. 6:30-7:45pm

1/3 Sundays 1:15-2:30pm

2/4 Wed. 6:30-7:45pm

Off Campus
Off Campus

2/4 Sundays 10:15-11:30am



OCBF Small Group Leader Handbook

Potential Members-First Contact Guide
When contacting potential members or newly added members for the first time, it is
important to be intentional. We desire that you establish an understanding of your role as
facilitator and what the small group means to its members and will hopefully mean for
your new member. We have found that small group community life is still foreign to many
of our participants. That is why we want you to establish a relationship within the first
contact, give them an idea of what to expect in the group as well as answer any questions
they may have. Please note a first contact is best done over the phone.

1. Introducing yourself goes beyond the name: You will want to tell them who you
are, how long you have been with the small group team, what other ministries you
may have served in, when you became a member of OCBF, where did you grow
up, what is your family like etc. You will want to find commonalities with them
and bring up some of these things about yourself naturally within the first
2. Get to know your new group member: You may ask the same questions above to
your group member as they apply.
3. Explain to them the purpose and description of a facilitator: : a small group
facilitator will oversee a group of no more than 12 people. The facilitator is
responsible for encouraging relationships and connectivity within the small group
by modeling transparency within the group, creating and environment for
discussion where everyone is heard, and coordinating prayer and care for the
group members.
4. Spend some time dreaming together: Ask the group member why they are
passionate about being in a small group? What do they hope to get out of this?
You can share some of your aspirations as well.
5. Give them some expectations: They should expect to meet in order to discuss an
OCBF approved curriculum at least twice a month. Remind them that your hope
for the small group is that the group mutually caries the conversation and
responsibility to encourage each other, so that all members take ownership of the
group. Make sure they understand they will be invited to one small group
fellowship per semester, where all members will come together for prayer,
encouragement and fun.

OCBF Small Group Leader Handbook

Make Your First Meeting Great
Goals of the First Meeting

Rekindle relationships and meet new members.

Clarify your groups direction / expectations / commitments using the covenant.

Briefly discuss the curriculum you will be utilizing.

Pray for the building of relationships and spiritual growth of the group.

Items Needed for the First Meeting

Dinner / dessert plans decided (Food is not necessary at each meeting however it helps to
have something prepared for the first meeting.)

Small Group covenants Make copies to handout. Everyone should sign the covenant and
then keep their own for their records.

Nametags (this is particularly helpful if you have new members.)

Contact Your Group in Advance

Contact all members one week before the first meeting to welcome them to the group and
inform them of the location and time of your group.

3 Essential Parts of your Meeting Agenda

1. Welcome, Mingle and Talk While you Eat.
Studies show that the first 7 seconds a person spends in a room can make or break the remainder
of their experience in that room.
Here are some tips for making your home/meeting place a welcoming environment:

Greet each person when they arrive

Introduce new members to existing members


OCBF Small Group Leader Handbook

Never let a newcomer sit and wait for the meeting to start alone

Have drinks available when people arrive

Play upbeat music as they arrive

Provide a clean home/meeting space and turn off your phone if possible

Let people know when your meeting will begin in 5 minutes.

2. Your First Meeting Discussion Flow

Ice Breaker: Use the first 5/10 mins to focus on getting to know you sharing or games. (See the ice
breaker sheet) Remember to modify this portion of your group time based on how well the
members know each other. If you have existing groups, with no new members, try sharing things
people may not know about you.
Worship/Prayer: Worship in the form of Music is an optional component of your small group
meeting. However some groups find it brings them closer together to worship as a group in this
manner. Prayer is not optional yet an important component of your group life. There are several
ways to incorporate prayer listed below. Many groups find this to be a time where they can check
in on prayer request in the life of the group.

Pop-Corn Prayer- You open the floor and people pray as they are led to do so with one
person designated to close

Groups/Cluster/Prayer Partners- You can break the larger group down to smaller group and
encourage them to share prayer and praise with each other.

Topical Prayer- You may agree as a group that you want to rally behind a specific topic and
pray together on the subject.

Written Prayers- Consider prayer the Psalms together and taking turns reading them.

Covenant: This is one of the most pivotal small group tools to set the tone for your group.

Review the covenant in detail having the members initial on each line to signify that they

Highlight what it means to make ones attendance at the group a priority. Which means that
you plan to be there baring any major extenuated circumstance. Remember that attendance
affects the cohesiveness of the entire group.


OCBF Small Group Leader Handbook

Think outside of the box: What else does the group want to sign a commitment to? Maybe
your group will also covenant to be transparent, or to hold each other accountable? This is
the perfect time to flush out some of the group members expectations.

Curriculum: We are aware that you have a lot of ground to cover in your first group meeting. Do
not push the time schedule and let the meeting have a natural flow, but for the sake of establishing
a routine take some time to highlight the curriculum you have selected. If time does not permit
that you go deeper, assure the members that your normal routine will allow for more conversation
and more application of the Word.
3. Dessert Conversation:
The conversation between group members after the meeting can be just as important as
conversations during the general meeting time. Use this time to get to know what people are all
about. Talk about hobbies and families and thank your members for their commitment to the


OCBF Small Group Leader Handbook

OCBF Group Covenant
The Purpose of Groups: OCBF Groups will provide a community experience that includes intentional
biblical application in a relational context of accountability and connectivity. We will meet together
for the purpose of connecting, growing and serving together.
Group Structure: The When? Where? What? of My Commitment
1. My group will meet ________ times a month.
2. My group will meet on ______(day of week) from ________ (month) ___________ (month).
3. The group sessions will begin at (time) ____________ and end at ______________________.
4. We will meet at: _________________________________________________________________.
5. In our group time we will be studying the following topic/curriculum:
6. My small group will also covenant together to meet at least two times during the semester for
fellowship outside of our regular group time.
7. My small group will also identify a service project and commit to serving together one time per a
Our Group Values or Ground Rules:

Attendance: We will make the group meeting a priority by being in attendance at all meetings and arriving
on time. If we cannot be in attendance or will run late we will contact our group facilitator in advance of
the meeting.

Participation: Our group will value the full participation of every group member. This means that we will
come prepared to each meeting by studying the lesson prior to our time together. This also means that we
will listen attentively to each group member without interrupting them or carrying on separate

Confidentiality: For authentic community to form, we must be able to trust each other in the group. This
means that issues discussed within the group will not be shared outside of the group.

Connectivity: Our group will value the building of relationships among group members. This means that
we will commit to pray for the other group members on a weekly basis, follow-up on needs that are shared
within the group, and seek to hold one another accountable to grow in our walk of discipleship.
By signing below I commit to uphold the group values reflected in this Group Covenant
Signature ___________________________________________________________


OCBF Small Group Leader Handbook

Small Group Meeting Time Allocation
On average each group meets 1.45 to 2 hours each session. With an average of 12
participants in each group it is important that facilitators learn to manage their group time.
Below is a typical allocation of time guideline. Please note that this will not be consistent
with every group meeting.

1. Pre-Meeting, Great and Eat: Typically group members

will arrive early. Take advantage of this time, Mix and
mingle: 10 minutes
2. Ice-Breaker: 10 minutes
3. Worship/Prayer: 20 minutes
4. Curriculum: 60 minutes
5. Wrap up: 15 minutes


OCBF Small Group Leader Handbook

Small Group Child Care Options
Please note that we can only provide childcare options for on campus small groups only. If an off
campus group is in need of childcare, we ask that you seek the following options listed below.
The Small Group ministry is committed to providing community for members with children;
however a childs presence in the small group can hinder the groups transparency, when dealing
with delicate issues and its confidentiality. We appreciate your cooperation to make your small
group an environment for maximum intimacy.
On Campus Child Care Procedure
Children over the age of 6 months are prohibited from sitting in on on-campus small
groups unless in the case of an emergency.
The OCBF Childrens Ministry has implemented a procedure for children whose parents attend
small groups on Sundays depending on the day and time your small group meets.
Sundays after 1st service
If your small group meets after first service you must drop off your children before 1st service
indicating that you will stay for you small group. They will put a sticker on the child's label that
signifies that after service they will be taken directly to a supervised holding room and they do not
need to be checked out and checked back in. They will be funneled back into 2nd service until
the parent returns directly after their group dismisses.
Sundays after 2nd service
If your group meets after second service, you must return to the CE building to check your child
out of the Sunday Kingdom Zone activity and then proceed to check them back in to the after
service supervised holding room. The room is the large crescent shaped room next to the West
side check in station.
Wednesday night child care is provided through the normal Awana and youth programs.
Off Campus Child Care Options
Please note there is no child care provided for groups that meet off campus. Even if a group meets
during the normal times set for on campus groups it is a legal liability to allow children in our care
system while their parents are not on the church grounds. That means off-campus groups need to
have an open conversation about how they will handle childcare during their group time.
Suggestions for off campus groups with Children include:
Group members take turns and set up a rotation to do the group childcare.
Members contribute to a baby sitting pool for funds to pay for a sitter.
Providing a separate kid-friendly room with a movie /or games set up during the group.
Allowing older kids in the group to watch younger ones in a safe environment.
Each group member makes his or her own childcare arrangements.
Groups may decide as a whole that children will be included in the life of group.

OCBF Small Group Leader Handbook

Group Attendance Policy

Setting Healthy Expectations on Attrition: groups historically experience 30-40%

attrition rates. This is not an excuse for poor leadership or follow-up, but is normal
over the life of a group. Attrition can happen for reasons beyond the facilitators

One key way of addressing attrition is to take regular attendance at each small group
meeting. This helps to communicate that attendance is important (it is one of the
group values in the small group covenant), but more importantly it reminds you as the
facilitator to follow up with group members who are beginning to regularly miss your
o When you need to follow-up with a group member you should make certain the
conversation is about care and connection, not primarily about attendance. You
are checking in to see if they need anything, catch them up on what is going on in
the group, and inviting them to the next meeting.
o The goal in every group is to keep a group member connected, however if a group
member has missed more than half of the scheduled group meetings in a semester
(most groups meet about 8 times in a semester, so 4 meetings are a good rule of
thumb) then they can be removed from your roster. Please make one final contact
with your group member to let them know that they are always welcome to sign up
for another group in the next semester of small groups.

Another key way of addressing attrition is to engage group members in sharing

responsibilities within the group. Whether this is coordinating snacks, facilitating one
of the lessons, opening their home for a group meeting, following up on prayer,
organizing a fellowship or service event, whenever a group member has a role or
responsibility they will be more committed to attend.


OCBF Small Group Leader Handbook

Group Reporting/Census Numbers

Every group leader is expected to submit a group roster to the small group leadership
team 2 times during a semester.
o The first roster is due at the end of the first month of the small group semester
(September for the fall semester; February for the spring semester). This gives us a
snapshot of our total group numbers at the beginning of a small group semester.
o The second roster is due in the final month of the small group semester (December
for the fall semester; May for the spring semester). This roster should also be
submitted with a small group profile that communicates any changes in the group
structure (meeting time, group description, age demographics) and the openness of
the group to receive new members during our small group registration period.

The rosters and group profiles will be emailed regularly as attachments to all group
facilitators (see examples below), but they can also be accessed on our small groups
website under our leader/host resources at


OCBF Small Group Leader Handbook

OCBF Small Group Roster

Lead & Co Facilitator Information: Names



Below list the members who continued through the end of the Spring Semester:
Member Name





OCBF Small Group Leader Handbook

Small Group Profile
Please Fill out this group profile according to your groups projected time, location and availability
to new members for the start of the upcoming semester.
1. Name of Facilitator: __________________________________
Name of Co-Facilitator if applicable: _____________________
2. Please respond by typing OPEN or CLOSED to indicate if you are open to new participants for the
winter/spring semester: ________________________________
3. If your group is open, how many spots do you have available:
4. Where do you meet (address & location: please note if your group rotates we need a centralized
location to put into the system)?:
5. When do you meet (day & time)? ________________________________________________________

6. What kind of group are you? (Indicate Type: men, women, couples, singles, mixed couples and singles)
7. Select an age range that best represents the majority of your group by placing an X next to the
correct category:
__ Our group is under 25
__ Our group includes those in our 20s and 30s
__ Our group includes those in our 30s and 40s
__ Our group includes those in our 40s and 50s
__ Our group includes those in our 50s and 60s
__Our group is over 65
8. How would you describe your group? (Type out 2-3 lines that describe/summarizes the kind of group
you are. This can include specific info about your group like widowed, divorced, single parents etc.)


OCBF Small Group Leader Handbook

Grow: Resources to Help You and Your Group Grow
OCBF Small Groups Curriculum Guide
Listed below are the approved OCBF small group curriculum options for each of our
upcoming small group semesters. If you have general questions about these options,
please email us at:
If you need help in selecting a resource, you can contact your respective small group

Christen Jacobs (women and singles groups): , 214-6725502

Stevie Simmons (men and couples groups): , 214-6725501

Fall Semester (Sept.-Nov.): We will provide a 6 week campaign curriculum centered

on Dr. Evans series during October-November. We ask all groups to sync in with the
fall groups campaign and utilize the campaign curriculum during their group time.
o The Small group campaign curriculum will be provided free to our leaders and
will include a small group study guide and DVD teaching sessions. Participants
would purchase their own study guide from the OCBF bookstore.
o The fall teaching series will be combined with an all church campaign that
encourages participation in groups.
o During the four weeks before and after the campaign (September and
November/December) groups can utilize shorter approved curriculum offerings
via our RightNow Media small groups channel
( or use the weekly sermon
discussion guides.

Winter/Spring Semester (Feb.-May): Groups will use approved affinity based

curriculum offerings via RightNow Media or use our sermon-based discussion guides
that are posted on a weekly basis.


OCBF Small Group Leader Handbook

o We have created an OCBF channel on RightNow Media that has approved small group
studies for the broad affinities of mens, womens, couples, and singles groups.
The on-line teaching content is provided free but, in most cases, the participant
guides would need to be purchased by group members.
o We would still offer a sermon based curriculum keyed to Dr. Evans preaching
series that would be posted on a weekly basis.

Summer (June-Aug.): Groups are encouraged to take a curriculum vacation and focus
on fellowship, service, and attendance at VBS and mens and womens conferences.
o For groups and individuals that want to continue some form of curriculum/Bible
study, RightNow Media would still be available as a resource. Groups can use
our OCBF small groups channel to identify approved small group studies: .


OCBF Small Group Leader Handbook

Maintaining Confidentiality
OCBF Small Groups strive to provide a community experience that includes intentional
biblical application in a relational context of accountability and connectivity. One of the
components that are used to help accomplish our vision is confidentiality. Confidentiality
is simply the ability to trust each other within the group. This is a vital piece in our small
group covenant because it creates opportunities for everyone to discuss issues without it
being shared outside the group. This level of trust means that people are free to share
what is on their heart, without experiencing a spirit of negative judgment. There should
be no sharing of sensitive material with anyone outside your group, and that includes
close friends, relatives, or other brothers or sisters in the faith. There are three important
reasons why confidentiality is so important to the life of a small group:
1. Confidentiality Builds Trust. Most people arent naturally trusting. There may have
been too many situations in the past where they have experienced hurt, so instead they
choose to trust NO ONE! However; when confidentialities are kept within your group, it
can help people believe in true friendship and trust again. When trust in others is built, it
creates a foundation for them to ultimately trust God with their life. Are people having a
hard time opening up in your group meetings? Does all the group conversation remain on
the surface? You may want to evaluate the level of trust displayed in your group. It could
mean that people are just not trusting each other enough to truly tell how they feel. As
their leader, when you choose to open up and share your struggles and concerns then it
helps to create an environment for others to be more open and transparent about their
2. Confidentiality Encourages Confession. Confession is a much neglected spiritual
discipline. Although it is often overlooked, confession is the catalyst for spiritual victory
and freedom. It is the way we find the accountability needed to break the chains of sin in
our lives (Tom Damante)! When confession becomes a regular practice within your
group, the group will encounter a level of freedom in Christ that may not be experienced
within a regular church service. Confession isnt always a comfortable practice at first. In
fact, it can be very awkward! For instance, there may be someone in your group who has
been struggling with a particular addiction for years but never felt comfortable enough to
share with others about it until joining your group. A word of caution, where there is
open confession, there must also be accountability. Group confession is not a practice
where people can share the dirtiness and sinfulness of their lives without ever having to
change. Confession MUST be followed up by accountability so that group members will
become more like Christ in that situation of their lives (Tom Damante).
Scripture Reference:
-Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may
be healed (James 5:16)

OCBF Small Group Leader Handbook

3. Confidentiality Protects Against Gossip. Gossip is a major problem within the
church today. This is why confidentiality is so important to the life of a small group.
When confidentiality becomes a priority in your group, the message will become very
clear to all: what is said in our group stays in our group! When your group environment
is a safe place to share, there is no need to gossip about anyone. Mutual respect for
everyone is built and sustained by not including others outside of the group meetings in
on the conversations that takes place in your group sessions. However, be aware that it is
NOT gossip to include your leadership team on issues where people are hurting
themselves or hurting others. That must be communicated to your coach and the small
group leadership team.
Scripture Reference:
- A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a man [or woman] who talks too much
-A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret (Proverbs 11:1213).

Tips For Maintaining Confidentiality

1. Review the Ground Rules of the OCBF Small Group Covenant; making sure to
emphasize confidentiality.
Briefly review before each group session
Review and sign the group covenant every fall and spring when a new
semester begins
Review when a new member joins your group
Review when confidentiality has been violated or broken
Commend the group for doing a good job maintaining confidentiality
2. Redirect and/or lovingly correct all conversations that seem to be headed towards
3. When sending electronic information or prayer requests, clearly state that all
communication must remain within your group only.
4. Ask permission before publically or socially posting photos, comments, prayer
requests, and other personal information that pertains to any group member.
5. Pray and seek Gods help in maintaining confidentiality in your group.


OCBF Small Group Leader Handbook

Resolving Conflict Biblically
General Principles:

Groups often go through a honeymoon phase when they first start meeting where
conflict is low and everyone is discovering their place or the role they will play in the
group. It does not take long, however, for conflict and disappointed expectations to
appear. Conflict is a part of every system, team, ministry, or group that exists in this
fallen world, east of Eden, and each of us (no surprise here!) contribute our sinful,
broken selves to that conflict.

Conflict can occur for different reasons: disagreements within the group, interpersonal
offenses or grievances (unkind words, conflicting personalities), and unchecked or
unconfessed sin in the life of a group member. Any one of these may require you to
confront the person or situation and move them and the group toward reconciliation.

We are instructed by Scripture to be diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the
bond of peace (Ephesians 4:3). The preservation of unity within the life of a group will
require the ability to be a peacemaker (Matthew 5:9, Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called sons of God) with the conviction to seek the peace of the rule
of Gods kingdom in every situation that involves conflict.
Confrontation that is handled in a peaceful, Biblical way provides an opportunity to
glorify God and grow closer to Him (and to one another) by seeking genuine
reconciliation. This models Christs own mission to reconcile us to Goda mission
that he invites us to participate in: Now all these things are from God, who reconciled
us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians
To be peacemakers we must understand the Biblical practices of conflict resolution
that comprise peacemaking, and empowered by the Spirit, apply these practices and
habits within our groups.

Practices of Peacemaking (or Biblical Conflict Resolution)

One of the best resources to assist us in peacemaking is Ken Sandes book, The
Peacemaker. He details four basic practices in peacemaking (4 Gs):
1. Glorify God (1 Corinthians 10:31): seeking as my first priority to please and honor
God in the midst of conflict.

OCBF Small Group Leader Handbook

Since God can use all things for his glory, even circumstances that involve
confrontation, brokenness, and sin can be an opportunity to see Him at work.

My role in any situation of conflict is to keep everyone (including myself) focused

on pleasing God with the way we handle conflict.

Since my group and my church should point people to God, I will not sit by and
remain silent when there is conflict that will affect our witness or disturb the unity
of the Spirit. With Gods help I will help to resolve the conflict.

2. Get the log out of your eye (Matthew 7:5): taking responsibility for our own
contribution to the conflict.

I will look closely at my own role and response to the conflict at hand. Ask here,
Is this a real issue that needs confronting, or is it just a pet peeve that irritates

3. Gently restore (Galatians 6:1): serving the other party or parties in the conflict in
love to help them take responsibility for their part in the conflict.

Affirm and validate the person and the relationship. Addressing this conflict or
sin is because you love the person and are committed to friendship with them.

Be specific about the issue and give examples.

Use I language instead of you language: When I heard you raise your voice
at your wife I was concerned about the two of you? not Why are you so
demeaning toward your wife in our group?

Work together to come to a solution. This means that you must genuinely listen
to both parties in the conflict, dont assume you know everything about what is
going on in the situation.

Depending on the issue (is it something that happened in the group or outside?)
the issue may be addressed privately.

4. Go and be reconciled (Matthew 5:24): demonstrating Gods forgiveness and

reconciliation by finding a reasonable solution to conflict.

Once the conflict has been dealt with we will choose to forgive and restore the
relationship. This means that we will not continue to talk about the incident nor
we will share the details with others.

OCBF Small Group Leader Handbook

Issues within your group that may need confronting:

Group member whose issue/problem is overtaking the group

Group member who is disruptive to the life of the group: draining resources, using the
group as his/her personal business network

Unhealthy relationships that are forming within the group

Conflict and disagreements between specific group members

Group member that clearly and consistently violates Scripture so that their conduct
would bring shame on the name of Jesus Christ

Please note that the church does have a Reconciliation Ministry that has trained faciliators
to help with a conflict that cannot be resolved and/or brought to reconciliation by the two
parties in conflict. The OCBF Reconciliation ministry particularly deals with conflict
where there is unresolved or unconfessed sin in the life of an OCBF member. See their
FAQ for specific questions about this service at

Reconciliation Ministry
Phone number 214-672-9100, x9173; website:
Services Provided: Sometimes conflict is a result of sin as shown in James 4:1-3. When
parties are unable to resolve their conflict, the Reconciliation Ministry is available to guide
them through God's Word and help unlock communication to reach a biblical resolution.


OCBF Small Group Leader Handbook

Establishing Healthy Boundaries
Traffic lanes, stop signs, traffic lights, yield signs, walls, picket fences, and hedges all have
one thing in common- they all provide boundaries. These physical boundaries indicate
the beginning and ending of property. Just as these physical boundaries are put in place
to establish limits in our society, setting healthy boundaries will help establish appropriate
limits in the life of the facilitator and their group. Having healthy boundaries means
knowing and understanding what you and your small group limits are.
Boundaries Within Your Group
Your small group may encounter extremely difficult situations that may be beyond the
capacity of your group such as:
Emotional or mental health issues that require professional therapy
Bitterness or hostility towards OCBF church or leadership
Death or chronic illness
Debilitating financial hardship
Contentious divorce within your group
Instances such as these, the Small Group Leadership Team is here to assist you with the
situations that are beyond the boundaries of your normal group life. If these unique
situations occur, please feel free to:
Option 1: Refer them to the many resources that are available here at OCBF such
as, counseling center, food pantry, resale store, free at last, finical stewardship etc.
(Please see the OCBF Resource Sheet in your handbook)
Option 2: Contact Small Groups Leadership Team 214-672-9100
-Women and Singles: Christen Jacobs ext. 5502
-Mens, Mixed and Couples: Stevie Simmons ext. 5501

Self Boundaries
How is your relationship with your group members? Do you say yes when you want to
say no? Do you take on tasks that are unreasonable or unhealthy? Do you wear
yourself out trying to please others and give in to what they want without taking yourself
and your family into consideration? Do you expect others to regularly meet your wants
even if it inconveniences them? If your answers to any of these questions are yes then
this may be a sign that you have unclear boundaries in your life.
A person with healthy boundaries takes responsibility for their own life, and allows others
to live responsibly in theirs. The goal of boundaries is to still make sacrifices for people

OCBF Small Group Leader Handbook

but to make them at the appropriate time and appropriate way. Yes, we should be
available for people in crisis, but unavailable to indulgent demands. Being kind and
gracious is not a blank check for your group members to continually drain you
emotionally, physically, financially, and spiritually!
When we set healthy boundaries and abide by them we operate in self control (Gal. 5:
22-23). Boundaries are a fruit of submitting to Gods will, and if we seek his guidance, He
will enable us to make Godly choices.
Tips to Remember about Self Boundaries
-Know your limitations (physical, financial, spiritual)
-Your family always comes first before your group members.
-It is ok to say no to some requests for your time and resources.
-Speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15) when someone is consistently transgressing your
-When engaging with the opposite gender, always have an additional leader present.
-Do not put yourself in potentially morally compromising situations.
-Pray for and utilize wisdom and discernment from God when faced with decisions about
your time and resources. This may mean involving other Godly leaders and friends to
help in your decision making.
-Say yes only for the right reasons.
-Dont make your decisions to try and please others
-Dont violate other members boundaries


OCBF Small Group Leader Handbook

OCBF Resource Sheet
Counseling Ministry
Phone number: 214-672-9100 ext 9152 or 5501
Services Provided: Family, couple, and individual counseling provided at the suggested
donation cost of $25 dollars per session (member rate) $50 dollars per session (nonmember rate). The Ministry also provides support groups 3 times a year during Free at
Last, as well as Premarital Sessions.
Comfort and Care Ministry
Phone number 214-672-9100 ext 9120
Services Provided: Prayer and bulletin announcements for hospitalizations and
bereavement, funeral arrangements and grief counseling. Please fill out the
hospitalization and bereavement forms at under Adult Ministries/Comfort
and Care.
Phone number 214-672-9100 ext 9160
Services Provided: Members of OCBF dealing with crisis situations are invited to apply for
short term financial assistance.
Turn Around Agenda
Main number 214-672-9100 ext 9319, Human Needs ext 9300
Services Provided: Public School Outreach, Technology Institute, Pregnancy Center, Food
Pantry, Turn Around Resale Shop and various enrichment classes.
Reconciliation Ministry
Phone number 214-672-9100, x9173; website:
Services Provided: Sometimes conflict is a result of sin as shown in James 4:1-3. When
parties are unable to resolve their conflict, the Reconciliation Ministry is available to guide
them through God's Word and help unlock communication to reach a biblical resolution.


OCBF Small Group Leader Handbook

Serve: Service Projects and Multiplying Leaders
Small Group Service Projects: OCBF Opportunities
Turn Around Agenda ext. 9319: schedule times to serve in the:
Resale shop
Food pantry
Opportunities exist for smaller groups in the Technology Center.
Church Wide Events ext. 9151: serve as a group at:
Spring Fest
Vacation Bible School
Taste of the World
Small Group Service Projects: Opportunities In Outside Organizations

Other Geographical Volunteer Options:

Plano- City Youth Home.
Mesquite- Volunteer services
Carrollton- City Volunteer opportunities
Mission Arlington-

Small Group Service Projects outside of the box

Adopt a Missionary: OCBF supports a number of missionaries. All of them need

encouragement and support while they are away from their homes serving God.
Groups can adopt a missionary and write them letters, emails, and coordinate
follow-up with them when they return from the mission field. If you are interested,
contact Claude Bailey, the Director of Missions and Evangelism at OCBF at ext.
9315 or

Adopt a Silver Star: The seniors in our church have a need for light house work,
grocery help and rides for doctor appointments. Make arrangements with Rev.
Darrell Thomas ext. 9120 to see if there is someone your group can bless on a
consistent basis.

Adopt a Single Parent: Do you have a single parent in your network who can use
some support? Consider providing groceries as a group, run errands, provide
babysitting services, if applicable.

OCBF Small Group Leader Handbook

Serve a Ministry: Is there a particular ministry in the church your group would like
to bless? Consider making breakfast for the usher team as a group and serving them
one Sunday, or catering a lunch for the Christian Education department, or
purchasing Starbucks Coffee to be given out to the parking lot attendants?

Who is my Neighbor?: Do your neighbors have any needs? Consider serving as a

group to do yard cleanup for someone in need, purchase supplies and paint, or
other home renovation projects.

School Days: Local schools are often in need of additional class room material:
consider purchasing some of the needed items and donating them to a specific
school or class room. Its possible that your local schools can use volunteers in
various other ways like beautifying the grounds by purchasing and planting flowers
or doing trash pickup in the school area etc.

Send a Letter: Your group may consider writing letters of encouragement and
prayer to those who are often not thanked. You can consider writing notes to
teachers and school administrators, local government agents, cashiers at Wal-Mart,


OCBF Small Group Leader Handbook

Small Group Apprentice Development Tool

Definition: a Small Group Apprentice is group member who has demonstrated potential for
small group leadership and is receiving hands on skill development from a trained small group
leader through shared leadership, modeling, and feedback.

Importance of Apprentice Development: Apprenticing is our primary model for small group
leadership development. This means that we need you, as the eyes and ears on the ground in
groups, to help us identify new leaders to grow our small groups ministry. Why?
1. Small group members make the best small group facilitators.
2. Apprenticing confirms gifts and talents in others.
3. An apprentice can help bear some of the burden for the facilitator.

Apprenticing Steps:
1. Intercede: Pray that God will raise up leaders in your group. Ask Him to help you discern
and affirm the gifts that you see in your group members and to help you to identify a
specific group member to serve as an apprentice.
2. Identify: Ask yourself a simple question: Who would I want to lead this group if I was
absent? Key characteristics to look for in a potential apprentice: a desire to grow as a
Christian and a desire and giftedness to connect with fellow group members.
3. Invite: Talk to the group member outside of your group time about his/her interest in
leading a group in the future and serving as your apprentice.

If the answer is no, then affirm the group member and thank them for his/her role in
the group. Cycle back through the steps of interceding and identifying.

If the answer is yes, then proceed to step 4.

4. Invest: Begin to share leadership with your apprentice (facilitating, prayer times,
organizing, etc.) and connect him/her with your small group coach and small group

Your role is to give your apprentice opportunities to serve, provide them with
feedback, and share your way of leading groups. You are not responsible for
training them, just sharing and modeling what you have learned along the way.

As your apprentice develops we will interview them and invite them into our
facilitator training process.