I am a bivocational (BIVO) church planter, and it's the best decision I've ever made in my 30-year ministry career. Here's why.
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There have been times when there are just a handful of musicians and vocalists on stage with minimal capabilities. The songs (especially the contemporary ones) scream for a full band with keys, drums, and a bass, but we don’t have it available. What to do?
I recently had a conversation with someone in our church who felt somewhat frustrated with where the church seemed to be heading. This particular member thought it a waste of time and money to send myself and another church member to Zambia on a scouting trip to assess ministry needs in an area where we support a local pastor. They saw no value ...
At the risk of not keeping your attention I won’t make this entry too long. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the state or lack-there-of of critical thinking abilities among people, especially as a pastor. People today tend to process many ideas and information without seriously thinking about anything in particular except
"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 know for myself that I lead by doing and coming alongside potential and present leaders to encourage, support and train them. It is usually the case that when there is a lack of leadership it is because there is no environment or atmosphere of leadership development happening in the church.
December is busy enough. So who wants another event? Why not maximize your normal December activities by inviting someone along. Or you could use the most of the December opportunities to grow and start new small groups in January. Here are some good things to consider.
Asking good questions is almost an art form in my opinion. I'm talking about well-phrased, intentional, smart questions that open people up to get to the heart of the matter. Smart, well-placed questions can take your small group to a whole new level of sharing and growth.
For many years within the small group realm there has been a lot of discussion on whether small groups should be open or closed. Perhaps our default mode especially in our CRC communities is to err on the side of being comfortable and thus short-circuiting true discipleship... This repost has a lot o reads but would be better with some discussion :-)
It's great when you come across some great small group curriculum. But it's even better when it's FREE. Scott Boren's book Missional Small Groups has really been gathering ground and very worth reading. Check out the curriculum that he's developed helping groups to be groups and impact their communities.
Here's a church really challenging the status quo of what church is supposed to be. Jeff Vanderstelt, pastor of the Soma Communities seeks to be a missional community. It's a challenge for all of us. This is the stuff we need to be talking about in our churches. Check it out.
I received some interesting responses after our recent prayer service. A number of people found it difficult to pray that the Holy Spirit would instill in them a passion for the lost. To pray that prayer can be scary when your focus on being a disciple has been more about being a faithful church attender than to follow Jesus into the big bad world to share the Gospel.
Sorry I've been out of the loop as of late -- vacation and all that. I did have a chance to check out some great stuff on YouTube recently that really challenges our look at disciple-making and consumerism. Alan Hirsch is spot on with his assessment of our current cultural mindset that it detrimental to making disciples...
I believe our small groups are the place where this type of discipling community happens and often begins. But the Holy Spirit is the key player in the formation of such communities. I realize that our CRC tradition has typically downplayed the power and transformational work of the Spirit. And while that is changing...
I have two books to recommend for churches who already have small groups or who are considering starting new groups. They are challenging yet practical but extremely insightful and will be a valuable resource for any church who take their small group ministry seriously.
People approach small groups differently with different motivations. What about you or people in your group? Alan Danielson outlines how people approach small groups. And the approach makes a huge difference in both the group's growth and a person's spiritual formation...
Having been a small group geek for more than twenty years I knew that there were a lot of models out there that might fit, there was a ton of curriculum we could use -- some of it really focused on discipleship and mission. But I knew we needed to start with something simple and easy to work with ...
Most people don't deal with conflict well or fight well in most relationships, not just marriage. One of the biggest reasons for that is the inability to listen well, especially when it comes to conflict. We're usually too busy thinking about how we will respond or why we're right and the other person is wrong, to even consider the other person's reasoning.
Do you have a plan for discipleship at your church? What role do small groups play in it? At a recent classis meeting, we tried to have this discussion with some interesting results. You may find this discussion helpful for your classis and church as well...