Small Group Q&A
Question: Dear Liberty: I have read and re-read your book Shattering your Strongholds. I will be teaching on it along with your workbook in several weeks to a few women at our ladies meeting in church. I have been involved in spiritual warfare, intercession, and deliverance ministry for over 20 years--but find your book and teachings from the Lord are exactly what is needed for God's people to get really free and stay free. I have never taught a Bible study or teaching like this before. I am nervous about it, but know the Lord wants me to do it. I will probably have around 8 women and need some advice from you.
What will be the best approach? I have 9 weeks to do this in and only 1hour on a Tuesday morning. I want to bring this forth in the best and most productive way possible. Each women will have the workbook and book to use on their own. I would love to have your advice as to how to bring this forth in such a short period of time. How to maybe simplify it some since we have such a short time and how to bring the women to a place of understanding in the quickest possible way. I am praying for the Lord's direction, of course, and know He will lead me. I just appreciate your help in any way you can give it. Thank you and blessings, Jodie
Answer: Jodie: Thank you for the kind and encouraging words. Bless your heart, I cannot imagine how you can teach the whole book in 9 weeks, one hour each week--so you're going to have to thoroughly teach the basics and let them read the rest of the book by themselves. Some churches have used the forgiveness chapter for three months of teachings. All you can do is try to teach them about what binding and loosing means, what a stronghold is (use example of Ephesians 4:26), teach on unforgiveness/forgiveness, teach on the prayers, and fill in with other examples from the book. I will be praying for you. Liberty Savard
Question: I am wanting to use your Shattering Your Strongholds Workbook as a group study, I have read your instructions in the front of the book, but is there any set procedure to getting started? Thank you, Helen
Answer: Good for you, Helen. I would, of course, recommend much prayer on your part. You must be practicing the principles daily in your own life to be an effective leader of a group studying Shattering Your Strongholds. Begin to speak to several of your friends and the people you know who have been reading the book. Ask your local Christian book store if you could put up a notice. Tell them that you are going to start a study group and ask them to mention it to others. If your church allows such things, ask if you can put a notice of the study in your church bulletin. Bind the wills and minds of the people (those God would want to come, not necessarily who you want to come) to His will and the mind of Christ. Loose the enemy's assignments from the people who would benefit from this study group. Loose the stronghold thinking in their minds that would prevent them from coming.
Make it a requirement that everyone have at least a copy of Shattering Your Strongholds. We do ask that you not reproduce the workbook, as it is copyrighted. But you can always read the questions in your workbook to the group, let them copy them down, and then create their own handwritten manual/journal if they are unable to get a personal copy of the workbook.
I would also suggest that you be very careful that you do not allow the group to turn into just a sharing and testimony time. Sharing and testimonies are important, but when they are allowed to take up the teaching time, this robs others of learning opportunities. I would establish a time, say 30 or 40 minutes of teaching, with 30 or 40 minutes of discussion. These don't have to be separate times, they can be mixed. Just remember that hearing everyone's personal stories regarding some of the issues will take up valuable teaching time. Don't worry about completing a set amount of material every week, as you will find that people are very interested in going deeper in some places, and not as interested in others. This all depends upon where they are in the Lord. If you can, let the group's particular needs and interests set a time frame for some of the deeper areas. This could mean, of course, that you may have to move on while some would prefer to stay on certain issues past a reasonable length of time.
Always open with prayer and then go right into an hour of teaching and discussion. Then you could go into the second phase, a more relaxed phase where people could be encouraged to pray for one another, out loud preferably. Sort of like role playing, but using the prayer principles for real needs and concerns. Remind everyone that one of the most beautiful parts of these prayer principles is that you don't have to know the details, you don't have to hear all of the story, you don't have to be in the position of "passing on" spiritual gossip about someone else's personal life. An example of this is when you reveal personal details about a spouse, a relative, or a boss or co-worker by sharing how they are impacting your life, which can lead to problems. We only have the "right" to expose and relate our own innermost secrets, never to repeat other individual's private issues. Then have some informal time of sharing. The leader should close in prayer, perhaps reinforcing an aspect of the teaching or discussion of that particular meeting.
I believe that God is always looking for right and godly agreement on earth in our prayers. He is looking for prayers that agree that His will, already set in heaven, is the answer to every need we have or that we see here on earth. We do not know everything that has contributed to situations we find ourselves in or we see others in, for only God knows what is really happening and why. The keys of the Kingdom (as found in Matthew 16:19) are our means of bringing things here on earth into alignment with God's already established will in heaven. This is a powerful agreement partnership that God has established. We don't need to try to improve on perfection with our ideas of telling God what we think should be done and how!
Teach those in the group that if someone's marriage is in trouble, bind the wife's and the husband's wills to the will of God, etc. Loose wrong patterns of thinking from each of their souls. Loose the effects and influences of wrong agreements from each of them. If another person is involved in the problem, pray the same prayers for that person. Ask the Holy Spirit to minister truth and healing to each of them. Do not allow sharing of "her" drinking, "his" infidelity, "their" fighting. Teach those in the group that if a child is on drugs or drinking, if a relative is indulging in dangerous activity, bind those persons' wills to the will of God. Loose wrong patterns of thinking from their souls. Loose the effects and influences of wrong agreements from each of them. Ask the Holy Spirit to minister truth and healing to their unmet needs, unhealed hurts, and unresolved issues that have been so hidden and protected by the rationalizing and justifying of their stronghold thinking. Some of this understanding does come from Breaking the Power, the second book of the keys of the Kingdom Trilogy. I believe it would be a very good thing for you to read Breaking the Power, as it will give you added insight to help you guide your class through some of the deeper areas of discussion that will arise out the Shattering Your Strongholds teaching.
Teach the group that wrong behaviors come out of our developing wrong patterns of thinking and wrong reactions to old memories, old hurts, and grudges all protected by strongholds. Teach the group that we have all learned how to compensate and cope with our unmet needs, unhealed hurts, and unresolved issues in very unhealthy ways. These coping mechanisms and these needs and hurts were not washed away at our new spiritual birth. If anything, our souls (used to having to deal with all of this however they could) became fearful and hostile and just dug themselves in deeper to protect our secret hurts and unmet needs. These keys of the Kingdom prayer principles are very effective in tearing down our souls' strongholds as well as their self-defense mechanisms so that God might begin to heal us.
Everyone who becomes a Christian has prayed that God would heal this or fix that within their own inner being, not understanding that their fears and reactions to feeling vulnerable to people who would take advantage of them has caused them to build strongholds (fortresses) around their own vulnerability Always stress to your class that God will not dismantle your strongholds and your self-defense mechanisms. He knows you have built them because you saw them as your only line of self-defense. If He were to smash through them to get to that part of you that desperately needs healing, it would just be one more violation of your already wounded soul. He is asking you to tear down all of your inner self-defense mechanisms and voluntarily allow Him access to fix everything within you that has been broken and abused. He won't destroy your self-protection mechanisms, however wrong and personally disabling they are, to heal you. True intimacy with Him is always voluntary, never forced.
All of this is only a guideline, of course, and you can certainly tailor it to your own group's needs. I will pray for you and your group. Let me know how things are going as I will be pleased to try to answer your questions about making the group more relevant as well as trying to help you resolve any conflicting viewpoints that may come up. Rev. Liberty Savard
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