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Small Group Opportunity for Bible Scholars – Really!

Western Seminary is offering a course on Commonly Misunderstood Verses of the Bible for small groups. The 12 week format, starting January 7, is very flexible. Your group can register for only $50.00. What a cool opporunity for those groups that like to go deep! Learn more here...

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Missional Communities After a Year

One year ago, Ferrysburg Community Church in Spring Lake, Michigan launched a missional community in a neighboring apartment complex. Pastor Nate Visker shares some reflections on what they expected, current reality and what they have learned...

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In the Trenches With Sue Prins

Here's an interview with Sue Prins, the Discipleship Coordinator of Providence CRC in Holland. She answers: "What is your congregation's picture of a disciple of Jesus? What is the current design or shape of your church’s discipleship ministry? and more...

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John's Spiritual Gifts Adventure

A couple of weeks ago, my friend John Rozeboom emailed a question: “Sam, can you recommend or point me to a member spiritual gift inventory that can be self-administered, is simple and straightforward.”

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Harvest Time!

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. 

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Developing Leaders for the Future

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?

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The Parable of the Neglectful Gardener

The parable is about my gardening experience this year. The lonely tomato is on the counter in my kitchen. The parable also speaks about the current situation in many church small group discipleship ministries.

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Planting Groups

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? 

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Preparing to Plant

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?

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Karibu Coffee Break

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. 

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People are not Potted Plants

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.

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What Are We Going To Grow?

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!

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Leading From a Posture of Prayer

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.

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Growing Process

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?”

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