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.
Writing the final report for the Sustaining Congregational Excellence Grant which supported the Discipleship Triads for our church gave me the opportunity to reflect on the effectiveness of this project and celebrate how God has worked in and through them in our setting.
My firm belief, pastoral experience, and observation is that “believers do not declare the gospel if they do not delight in God.” Do you delight in Jesus Christ? Does your small group encourage delight in Jesus and declaration of the gospel?
Allow me to share some insights I’ve learned as I’ve coached churches through intentional faith development that will help you work a plan that will actually bear fruit by producing better disciples across your congregation.
We are still in the early stages of this small group experiment, but so far the results have been great. As pastors, we feel the congregation is more involved and interacting with the weekend messages. The format means that we don’t have to create something new — it flows out of what we are already doing.
With all the choices of small group options, why choose sermon based small groups? Two selling points are: 1) it allows people at a variety of spiritual stages to dig deeper than a thirty minute message, and 2) it takes little preparation for either the facilitator or the group member.
Imagine small group leaders and teams standing as scarecrows over our groups and ministries to guard against Satan’s assaults. Farmers place scarecrows in gardens because the farmer expects birds to go after his seeds. It is naïve of us to not be ready for Satan’s attempts to wreak havoc in our Christian communities.
What do you do? I am a “facilitative, organizing catalyst who brings energy, creativity andpassion to change or development-oriented efforts (catalyst) through building structures, methods or programs (organizing) that equip, empower or provide tools for growth (facilitative).” That is a mouth full.
The CRC that nurtured my growth as a child taught me that Jesus saves and is present for me to reach out to in prayer in times of need. There were also lessons about discipleship that the church of my childhood never taught me.
Ferns and small groups are both fractals. Fractals are complex forms made up of simple repeated patterns. Small groups are formed by repeating patterns or values. What patterns are you building into your small group? Are they positive or negative?
Alpha is a practical introduction to the Christian faith, where guests can explore the meaning of life and ask questions in a non-threatening, relaxed setting. The traditional Alpha course is 10 weeks long and includes a day or weekend-long retreat half-way through the course.
Looking for a way to mobilize more people in evangelism in 1999, a few of us at church stumbled on to the Alpha Course. We were drawn to it because it offered a simple way to involve people in bringing the Gospel to their friends. We got a small pilot group together, followed the instructions, and went for it.