Mom Heart groups are modeled after the small groups seen in the early church in Acts— Christians gathering to share their lives and to hear from and respond to God. Mom Heart groups meet to encourage, equip, and enable moms to start, lead, and tend small groups of mothers. That is our mission. As part of the equipping aspect of our mission, we have created an uncomplicated, effective teaching model that you can use for leading your small group meeting time. It is designed both to cultivate the organic nature of your group meeting, and to regulate its organizational structure. The HEART small group lesson model provides both flexibility and orderliness in a simple and memorable meeting template.The HEART outline is modeled after an inductive study—we want each Mom Heart group to start with the Word to discover what God has to say through it to them. (Inductive Bible study starts with a passage and studies the Scripture to learn what it has to say, like a historian studying source material to explain an event. ) It is a model that begins with “Hear the Spirit” because it is about listening for God’s voice, and ends with “Take It to Heart” because the purpose of Scripture is to change the life of the hearer. The goal of the HEART model is to insure that your group does not miss the “heart” of their time studying the Word together.We believe that the HEART Bible study model is a unique teaching design that can help you create a rich and meaningful small group experience. You’re free to use other models in creating your own lesson plan, but we encourage all of our Mom Heart group leaders to use the HEART model. Remember, you don't need to explicitly state to your group that are you moving through these steps; you can just allow one time to move naturally into the next. Below are the five priorities of a HEART-shaped Mom Heart group meeting.
• H — Hear the Spirit (Invitation)
• E — Engage the Word (Observation)
• A — Affirm the Truth (Interpretation)
• R — Respond to God (Application)
• T — Take It to Heart (Supplication)
Let's briefly go over what each portion of the HEART model means.H- Hear the Spirit (Invitation). The purpose of this time is introduce the topic of the day’s lesson with a nonthreatening discussion that generates interest, involvement, and interaction among group members, and sets the spirit for the lesson. Ask a general question, read a quote, or show a movie clip.E- Engage the Word (Observation). The “Engage the Word” part of your lesson is the focus of a Mom Heart group study. If you are doing a book study using one of Sally’s books, or another author’s, you can spend some time talking about the content of the chapter you read for the week. You also should have identified several specific Scripture passages from the chapter that can then become the Bible study portion of your time.A- Affirm the Truth (Interpretation). In the “Affirm the Truth” part of your meeting time, you are helping your group extract the true meaning (God’s intent) from the scriptures they have observed and discussed. It is part of the process that will move biblical truth from the head (intellectual) into the heart (personal). Interpretation is determining just what a passage means—what does God want you to know, to be, to do, or to believe about His truth. As you begin to answer any or all of those questions, you will be interpreting the author’s content and intent. One way to do that is to write a “Big Idea” sentence together. Have your group come up with one sentence explaining the main idea of the passage or chapter.R- Respond to God (Application). The “Respond to God” part of your meeting time is designed to provide a moment of quiet reflection in response to the Bible study and discussion. Encourage the group to consider quietly how the lesson impacts each of their lives personally. Remind them that there is no one way to respond, but that the Spirit of God can speak individually to each of them through the passages. Encourage each mom to write down her personal application. This step is important because it allows the group members time to individually synthesize the head, heart, and hands truths that they have been discussing.T- Take It to Heart (Supplication). The “Take It to Heart” conclusion of your meeting time is for the purpose of responding to God in prayer as a group. Though often overlooked, prayer is the first and most important application you can make about any study of the Word—to talk with God about what He is saying to you. We sometimes trivialize the idea of application by trying to create artificial tasks or actions that we think will please God, meet His standards, or gain His approval. But God is not primarily concerned with these often superficial “sacrifices” of obedience. The offering He really desires from us is a “contrite heart” (Psalm 51:16-17). This step of supplication is simply opening our hearts to God—taking our needs, desires, failures, and hurts to Him and humbly asking Him to respond. This final part of your meeting is a time to pray to God as a group for one another, and for your group. It is a time to speak to God about what God has spoken to you.As a leader, the HEART model will give direction during your planning time.Have you tried the HEART model yet? How did it work for you as a leader? Excerpt from Taking Motherhood to Hearts.