What is it that people say, "Time flies when you're having fun." I guess I would say that would be my mantra too having been the guide of the Network's Small Groups section for some sixteen months or so. I don't know where the time went. And now that I'm moving on I thought I'd just do a little reflecting.
I had a lot of fun finding great things to write about, articles to share and personal experience to pass on. I've appreciated the discussions and the questions many of you posed. There were a few hot topics and even when I wasn't sure anyone was reading my posts I received some personal emails and a few calls and noticed by the number counts that indeed people were following.
If you were a regular follower of my posts you know that there was a common theme running through my writings or postings of other's articles; Discipleship. I believe our churches need to do a much better job at discipling and growing disciples. Isn't that our Lord's command to the disciples… "make disciples…" (Matthew 28:19-20)? In other words follow Jesus so closely that you can't help but point others to him who in turn become disciples themselves. It's self perpetuating and if it's not happening then we are not making true disciples. For me, it's as simple as that. If whatever program you're doing is not making disciples the church needs to rethink and reevaluate, maybe even scrap the whole thing and do something that does lead people into that deeper discipling relationship with Jesus and each other.
I've always seen small groups as playing a key role in growing disciples in the local church. But in order for small groups to connect people with Jesus they need to be intentional, with clear focus, missional in nature with the purpose of getting real with each other and serving together. It's hard work but well worth the effort.
There's a ton more I could say about small groups, but I will turn it over to someone else (not sure who that is yet) and go on developing discipling ministry in my own congregation and consulting on small groups with anyone who would like to know more. I've got a busy summer ahead; Synod, our son's wedding in GR, visiting family in Canada, and playing with my new band, Reverend and the Blues Pushers. That's right, on the side I'm a soulful harp playing and singing blues man preacher dude. It's my creative outlet.
Of course I may still do the odd post or article here if they'll have me, lol. And of course I will still pipe in on conversations.
Thanks everyone for reading and listening. It's been a great ride.
Rev. Allen Kleine Deters