The Michigan summer has been great for apples. My favorite farmers market is brimming with baskets of fresh, crispy apples – Honey crisp, Zester, Macintosh – and zucchini, peppers, melons, corn, peaches. Is your mouth watering? Harvest time is so exciting.
I am so glad that our loving Father is the one who prunes because we can trust his motives and methods. As we consider leading a group or ministry, what can we learn about the pruning process?
There once was a gardener named Sam. She loved the idea of a garden. She imagined walking out to the backyard to pick fresh lettuce, beans and tomatoes for dinner. The picture of serving crisp, flavorful vegetables to her family inspired her. She planned, prepared and planted...
What can we learn from gardening about small group discipleship leadership? Gardeners study their environment. They plant in season. What is your churches growing cycle? When does it start? How long is the season? How many seasons do you have?
Preparing includes all of the leadership tasks between Planning and Planting. Sounds obvious! What tasks need to happen to be ready to plant or begin discipleship ministries?
I would like to hear the thoughts of those who are a part of small group ministry on what they think about multiplication. There seems to be this tension between staying in a group and multiplying them. I hear some say that they won't break up their group because they have grown a strong and...
The Bible League of Kenya developed a partnership with Coffee Break to share the materials and method in order to encourage small group Bible discovery. Most often, ‘Bible Study’ in Africa means teaching. People learn about the Bible through teaching in sermons, Sunday School and small groups.
Planning for ministry is much more complex than planning for a garden and often causes frustration for leaders and participants. Just like in gardening, there is not a one-size-fits-all plan.
If you were going to plant a garden, what would you do? I have asked this question many times at small group discipleship training. The first answers usually are: dig, plant, water. What else: weed, fertilize, pick. What else? Buy seeds. What kind of seeds will you buy? Oh, we have to decide what we are going to grow!
Growing a discipleship ministry is an ongoing process, much like growing a garden. Good gardeners are aware that they need to cultivate particular practices in order to develop a healthy, vibrant garden. If they faithfully plant, water, fertilize, etc., they will yield a good crop. Maybe.
In my small group role for Home Missions, this is the most frequent question: “Our church wants to start small groups in order to grow community and disciples, what is the best method?” I can’t answer that question; however I have discovered the process of leading a discipleship ministry that continually adapts to the local environment is more important than finding the right strategy.
Just before Jesus’ death he prayed, “that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (John 17:21) Jesus knew that the gospel was going be spread through relationships. He also knew that it had to start with a loving community ...
I'm curious to know if your small group (or someone's you know about) has used the Radical Small Group Study that goes along with Platt's Radical and Radical Together books?
On April 15-17, thousands from the CRC will be gathering to pray for our denomination at the 2013 Prayer Summit and in homes and churches across North America and around the world. Your small group can participate in this growing movement by hosting a “Watch and Pray” event in the comfort of your home or join by using the daily Prayer Guide.
To follow Jesus and become a fisher of men, we need to do what Jesus did. He spent time with those who were lost and needed a Savior. We cannot catch any fish by casting our fishing poles on the ground and we cannot win the lost from our comfortable church pew.
Worship, study, fellowship and prayer are all vital parts of Small Groups. Read Acts 2:42-47. Another important part is service. We need to be open to serving our fellow small group members as well as those who are hurting outside of the church. Currently our Small Groups are studying Under the...
The small group leader was overwhelmed and exhausted. She did not see what she had expected: she was tired and discouraged. She had to do more but she didn’t have a clue what that should be. She cried out to God in prayer.
Some months ago, I gave you a glimpse of the “whys” and “whats” of Discipleship Triads and how they operate at CenterPointe Church, a young church plant in Plainfield, IL. Writing the final report for the Sustaining Congregational Excellence Grant which supported this project for our church gave me the opportunity to reflect on the effectiveness of Discipleship Triads and celebrate how God has worked in and through them in our setting.
So, we are way behind the eight ball in giving our small groups ministry some overdue attention. While we have had a pretty vibrant number of small groups meeting together for years to study a wide range of topics, it has been sort of running without any coordinated effort or inter-action ...
I am often asked the question, “Why are believers not declaring the gospel?” My firm belief, pastoral experience and observation is that “believers do not declare the gospel if they do not delight in God.” As we all know, people will talk about what they find most interesting or exciting. If you really like sports, cooking, children, etc… you will talk to others about those things or about the relationships that matter the most to you.
If you follow this blog, you know that I often compare a small group discipleship ministry to a garden. A small group creates an environment for spiritual growth. In the small group, we can we spur one another on in growing together in knowing and following God. Hebrews 1:24-25 is a great overview of the purpose of a discipleship small group:
It is easy to get in a rut. Here are a couple of small group prayer ideas. Experiment with them in your group. Share your experiences and other prayer ideas. “Let us spur one another on...”
A quality Koosh ball is my favorite tool to illustrate small group the communication opportunities and challenges.Buy a Koosh ball. Take the ball to your group and throw it around.
The Bible Study group/small group that I am part of has decided to study the book "the Harbinger" by Jonathan Cahn. I have mixed feelings about this book being an appropriate one for use as a Bible Study. In my opinion the passage of Isaiah 9:10-11 is only loosely connected with the book. I am...