Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth! Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
First initiative- The Value of Relationships:
We will take new practical steps to develop an atmosphere where personal, deepening, supportive, faith-building relationships of love are highly valued as expressions of our passion for the supremacy of God’s love.
What is a Shepherd Group?
Gatherings of 6-12 people, led by trained lay-leaders, that meet in one another’s homes to know and experience God, offer accountability and instruction, and export faith into the world.
Why do we have Shepherd Groups?
They are the primary place for pastoral care in this large congregation, the main means of biblical togetherness.
What are distinctives of Bethlehem Shepherd Groups?
- Less than 12 people in size
- Balance worship, Bible study, sharing, and prayer
- Meet at least twice a month
- Open by invitation and advertisement
- Led by skilled leaders who receive ongoing support
- Committed to multiplying
- Committed to developing new leaders through apprenticeship
How do I get connected with a Shepherd Group?
- Invitation—talk to friends or small group leaders you know, ask to join
- Request—indicate interest on Sunday bulletin tear-off or by calling leader(s) from the Shepherd Group Directory (find a directory at the Adult Ministries display)
- Start a new group—consider forming your own shepherd group
Shepherd Leader Training
This training is a tool to share the vision for the Shepherd Group ministry at Bethlehem.
It is a prerequisite to becoming a Shepherd Leader and a way to train and equip potential new leaders.
To find out more or register for a class, contact:
Why Start a Shepherd Group?
- Looking for community
- Interested in a certain topic or study
- Want to connect with others in your geographic community
- Sense a gifting for pastoral ministry or shepherding
- Want to provide a place of welcome for newcomers to Bethlehem
Are there required resources for shepherd leaders to use?
Bethlehem does not have a specific approval process for our shepherd leaders to use in their small group studies. There is a great deal of freedom in that decision.
What should I do if I have a question about a small group resource?
Shepherd leaders meet regularly (monthly or quarterly) with the elders of their campus, which is a time when questions about curriculum or studies could be raised.
New leaders with questions, contact your campus Adult Ministries pastor.
Recommended Resources for Bethlehem Shepherd Groups
John Piper group study materials
(includes DVD and study booklet)
God is the Gospel
Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ
When I Don't Desire God
Books that have study guides available
Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges
Knowing God by JI Packer
The Cross of Christ by John Stott
Heaven by Randy Alcorn
Westminster Shorter Catechism for Study Classes
Books that might make for a good discussion but without study guides
Calvin's Institutes of Christian Religion
Jonathan Edwards Resolutions (booklet form)
Any Puritan paperback
The Gospel According to the Old Testament series from P&R
Valley of Vision
Seeking Him by Nancy DeMoss
Lord, I Want to Know You by Kay Arthur
What Is a Healthy Church Member? by Thabiti Anyabwile
Disciplines of Grace by Jerry Bridges
The Gospel and Personal Evangelism by Mark Dever
Tell the Truth by Metzger
The Bethlehem Bookstore offers a special discount to shepherd leaders ordering 5+ copies of a resource for group study.
Contact Matt Lund at 612.455.3440 for more information.
“God's commands are always for the deepest and most durable joy of his people. And it is God who charges that the elders equip the saints for ministry and commands that we gather in smaller settings to strengthen one another. So small groups occupy an essential and happy place in the local church”
David Mathis, Desiring God blog post, desiringGod.org/blog/ posted Sept 17, 2007.