Leading a Men's Small Group During Social Distancing

posted by Bethel Men | Apr 16, 2020

CURRICULUM FOR ONLINE MEN'S GROUPS

For the safety of content, please preview any study options before you offer it to your group. If you have questions or need ideas please feel free to email questions to men@bethel.ch

1) Men’s Online Ministries
     
     Lifeway offers a number of quarantine-time resources here:  Group Life Resources

Every month, Promise Keepers uploads different manly studies to keep men connected, in the Word, and ready for action. The current study series, "TOP GUN", is a book of short studies aimed to keep men refreshed, refueled and refocused for life's battles.  
  • How God uses suffering
  • Pray without ceasing
  • Worldly wisdom
     Their current study offering are provided via PDF here:  Promise Keepers Study

Also, you may have your favorite men’s website (i.e., Ransomed Heart, Man in the Mirror, Men in the Arena, Men Rewired, The Masculine Journey) so don't be afraid to recommend a study that you have already used in the past. Dusting off old material doesn't hurt. 
 
2) Right Now Media
 3) YouVersion Reading Plans
  • Get Your Life Back by John Eldredge (5 Days)
  • Transformed: 7 Pillars of a Legacy Minded Man (9 days)
  • One Minute Apologist-Doubting Towards Faith (10 days)
  • Chase the Lion by Mark Batterson (7 days)
  • Lead or Be Lunch: The Power of Earning Influence (10 days)
  • Or find a different topic that your group is interested in
4) Podcast: Listen and Share
5) Book Recommendations
    These four come highly recommended:
  • Get Your Life Back by John Eldredge
  • Replenish by Lance Witt
  • Disciplines of a Godly Man by R. Kent Hughes
  • And let’s not forget a quiet time in the Bible
If you are struggling with reading and/or understanding the Bible try a different translation like CSB, NIV, or NLT. Please don’t get distracted by the difference in translations. There are two thought processes between translations, 1) Word for Word and 2) Thought for Thought; both designed to ensure clarity and accuracy of the Bible. 

*Recommendation: If you’re unsure where to begin, try looking in the book of Proverbs; written by one of the wisest men to live.  

6) Purity Focused
    All men are in different places and we want to encourage all our leaders to be prepared  to have healthy conversations and pursue purity. 
Other books recommended are Clean by Douglas Weiss, Taking Every Thought Captive by Mark Laaser, and Every Man’s Battle by Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker.
 
*Statistic - *64% of Christian men and 15% of Christian women say they watch porn at least once a month.

STRATEGIES & RECOMMENDATIONS FOR
LEADING AN ONLINE MEN'S SMALL GROUP 

Planning
  • Start and stop on time.
  • Make sure that all persons download and test the appropriate program for streaming live. 
  • Discuss if the regular time frame still works. *Changes may need to be made for the majority. 
  • Ensure all group participants understand layout and expectations. (i.e., For video study, participants can watch/study beforehand and be prepared to review/discuss in a group.)
Prayer
  • Begin with prayer and close with prayer. *This can be easily forgotten in an online format.
  • Provide an opportunity to discuss each person’s requests. *You may need to plan for this ahead of time in preparing enough study discussion time.
  • Encourage your men to pray throughout the week for others and keep focus outward. 
Be Prepared
  • Make a plan for how you will use the discussion time.  
  • Lead as needed. Interrupt discussions that aren't beneficial or fruitful.
  • Be ready to make connections during group time, to transition when needed, and to keep the discussion on track. 
  • Add variety and fun to the format, especially as the weeks go on. 
  • Not everyone will do their homework. Encourage the guys to complete their lessons in advance. 
  • Technology at its finest: Be ready for mishaps, glitches, and things that will test both your men’s patience and your own.
  • Take a break. Your men will let you know when they need to just talk. 
Connect Often
  • As men, we need connections throughout the week.
  • Isolation and stress are where we as men are triggered. Check-in again.
  • Have a “home base” as well as a video chat platform. Home base examples include FB Messenger, FB group, Group Me, Text chain, Etc. *Make it easy for your men to stay in community with each other and participate.
Manage Group Dynamics
  • Video chat adds a new dimension/dynamic to leading your group in ways that help all men feel valued and respected.
  • Have all men on mute except when they are talking. *Background noise will complicate things.
  • Remind men that there will be more white space on video chat and that we want everyone to participate.  *No over talkers
  • Affirm answers and make connections during the discussion.
  • Encourage everyone to talk. Some men just want to listen and/or may be uncomfortable with the technology so gauge the right moment to poke. 
  • Confidentiality - Make sure each man has a safe place to continue/participate online. *You might have to think outside the box (i.e., truck, garage, basement, backyard).
  • Nothing changes: Anything shared with the group stays with the group. 

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