ASPIRE – March 2019

Growing through groups . . .

Through January and February hundreds of new students joined the CLD family, mostly through local study groups. And during late February, I visited one of those groups . . . 62 women from several churches who gather weekly to learn together through a CLD course.

I wasn’t just an observer. On a cold Thursday morning I arrived to teach a course session. And, from their questions of me and answers to my questions, I encountered a group anything but passive about their study. It would be fair to say we put one another to the test . . . and we both passed. The interaction was exhilarating; the thinking was deep as well as far-reaching; both the seriousness and the laughter sped the time by.

The experience broadened my understanding of why most CLD students enter through a group portal and why they stay with their studies, typically through multiples courses. These seem to be some of the reasons:

  1. A regular meeting time and the informal accountability keep the study moving forward, eliminating what often are deadly lapses and procrastination that plague individual study.
  2. Students indicate that within a group dynamic, they often sense that they are learning more quickly and deeply with a main factor being the encouragement they sense from one another and their group mentor.
  3. The value of differing perspectives challenges students to explore the course content and their own thinking more thoughtfully, often surfacing many valuable discoveries.
  4. Many in the group mentioned above said it made the study more interesting, especially as relationships developed within the group that lent themselves to exciting interaction inside and outside of the group meeting.
  5. Because of the dynamic of an effective group, it stimulates more effective individual study. Several of the people in the aforementioned group said that because of the group interaction, they viewed and listened to the course material on their own more eagerly and effectively, and often, multiple times. It’s the CLD advantage of individuals in a group also having individual access to the course materials.

CLD groups include elders, men’s and women’s Bible studies, Christian school classes, church training programs, specialized ministry training, pastoral development groups, both long and short-term mission training, para-church personnel development . . . the possibilities are plentiful.

And the message to me from the 62 women I met with last month? If you’re going to do serious study for personal growth in Christ and in ministry, MAKE IT A GROUP!

Bert Downs

Director: Leadership Developement

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