I may not be your typical girl, but I LOVE sports movies: Invincible, The Rookie, Secretariat… you name it, I love it. Of course, I grew up with two older brothers and a dad who was a sports writer, so that could have something to do with it. None-the-less, sports movies inspire me. And I often catch myself finding illustrations within them. One of my favorite sports movies is Remember the Titans. There is so much to love about this movie, but I will spare you the commentary and get to the illustration (but if you haven’t seen the movie, please take the time to check it out).

There is a scene towards the end of the team’s summer football camp where two of the leaders (Gerry Bertier and Julius Campbell) start to work together and it brings the team together as well <click here>. Bertier yells “left side” and Campbell answers “strong side”. I think this is such a great illustration of the importance of two things working together as one.

By now, you are probably wondering what this has to do with leading a small group. Well, I believe there is a direct connection between “inside and outside”. Inside is pretty straight forward… it’s “inside the context of church”. It’s your Sunday or Wednesday night small group time; it follows the large group time and is pretty well structured; it’s the time that everyone is supposed to be there. This is a valuable time and a time that cannot really be duplicated…but I believe it’s incomplete without the idea of “outside”.

Outside is the time you spend with your group “outside the context of church”. It’s the opportunities you take to show up to their game or performance; it’s the impromptu movie night at your house; it’s the time you show your students you want to be there. This too is a valuable time so you can maximize the authenticity when “inside”.

Okay so there is no reason to go around bumping each other yelling “Inside ­— Outside”, to show your commitment to the pairing of these two ideas, but you get the point. One is less effective without the other so it’s important to incorporate both into our small group leadership.

  • What are some ways that you have gone “outside” with your group?
  • How has it impacted your time “inside”?
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Kristie McCollister

Kristie has worked with students for 25 years as a director of student ministries, a small group leader, a Sunday coach, or a coach for student sports teams.

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