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In Defense of the Seeker Church Movement

(I know the "seeker movement" is a thing of the past. But it spawned a whole new way of thinking about church that continues to be emulated and panned today. These thoughts came out of my daily reading this morning) 1 Corinthians 14:20-26 is about tongues and prophesy. It's part of Paul's exhortation to do things decently and in order when the church gathers. His argument in these specific verses revolves around whether tongues and prophesy are for believers and unbelievers; and to make his point he quotes an old testament passage. This topic is difficult and complicated. The context into which Paul was writing was unique and means we cannot make an exact transfer of Paul's instructions from Corinth to now. However... I think there is a secondary principle in Paul's words that is at least worth a mention. As I read these instructions, I notice three assumptions Paul has about the Corinthian worship gatherings. These assumptions seem to b

Element #3 For Successfully Leading a Small Group: FAITH

The third element of a healthy group is Expanding Faith . Essentially, this means helping the members of your group be formed into the image of Christ. In my opinion, this is the primary purpose for your group's existence; therefore, it should be the primary focus for you, the small group leader. This element requires the small group leader to know himself (or herself). While many leaders are capable of preparing an effective Bible study or discussion on their own, some group leaders will need help if they are to consistently lead their group in faith expanding gatherings. Fortunately, if one knows where to look, it is very simple to find materials that will work for almost any group. Small group curriculum comes in many forms. If you take the time to look you'll find book studies, Bible studies, topical studies, video-based studies, studies that require homework, and studies that simply offer up a few questions for discussion. As the group leader, you need to kno

Element #2 For Successfully Leading a Small Group: FELLOWSHIP

These blog posts are based on the assumption that "sharing life" with other Christians should be an integral part of our DNA as Christ-followers. Therefore, given the proper setting, these types of relationships should naturally flourish as long as we aren't quenching the life-giving aid of the Holy Spirit. Read the introductory post here. Read about element one here . Already, I wrote that anyone can lead a small group if they have food. Now, I offer you the second element of a healthy small group, FELLOWSHIP. "Fellowship" is one of those words that really only shows up in the church setting, so it may need a little bit of defining. Essentially, when we use this word, we are speaking of the unique type of relationships that Christians can only have with other Christians. It is a special kind of life-sharing that is precipitated by the important things we have in common, namely our faith in Jesus Christ. In the book Why Small Groups? , John

Element #1 For Successfully Leading a Small Group: Food

This may seem a bit shallow, but meals are a very important part of our lives. It's no accident that while on earth, some of Jesus' most important interactions with his followers happened over meals . Something happens to us when we share food with other people. Acquaintances become friends and friends become soul-mates over shared meals. Somehow, the presence of food helps us drop our inhibitions and open ourselves to those with whom we're sharing the meal. A healthy small group doesn't always need food, but food almost always helps a group be healthy. Especially in the early days of the group, having snacks and drinks will help immensely as the group navigates through the awkward waters of getting to know one another. Potlucks are great and done occasionally can be very positive, but they aren't practical for the group that meets every week. The easiest thing to help facilitate food is to create a snack schedule and make sure you remind people early

Almost Anyone Can Lead a Small Group

Leading a small group can be intimidating. Many people are afraid that they are not capable, or gifted, or intelligent enough to lead a group of people as they follow Jesus together. I think they are wrong. Matthew 28:18-20 is a passage often described as the “Great Commission.” In these verses, Jesus commissioned his disciples to go and make other disciples. Interestingly, though, He did not tell them to do this in their own power or using their own strength. Rather, he makes it clear that they will be able to accomplish this because He has been given all power. Jesus’ authority is what makes it possible for us to make disciples. If you are a disciple of Jesus, you have been empowered by Him to make other disciples. Not everyone can lead a small group, but almost anyone can. Of course there are a few qualifications that every small group leader should have: They must be a follower of Christ. They should be a mature enough believer that they know their way around the Bible a

10 Things I Think About World Vision

If you don't know what all the stir is about, that's fine. You don't really need to; your eternal destiny doesn't depend on it. If you must know, google "World Vision". Essentially it's this: World Vision announced they would no longer oppose employing people who were in gay marriages. Then they changed their mind. In the midst of that, a lot of people got really mad. I wasn't going to post anything about my thoughts on this, but I decided to... not because I think it is so important that I say something about this issue, but because I really want to say something about the more important issue which is: How we talk to each other. How we talk about each other. How we listen to each other. When I first read of World Vision's decision, I knew instantly what would happen. It was predictable. A huge amount of people who were loud and visible took the easy route. They responded in ways which lacked the grace and nuance necessary to appr

4 Ways to Serve Like Jesus Did

Jesus was the greatest servant of all time. His life defined service. From yesterday's sermon, here are four ways we can serve like Jesus did: Wear your Jesus Goggles Jesus was always aware of what was happening around Him. He viewed interruptions and inconveniences as God's interventions. Where others saw problems, He saw opportunities. Ask yourself, "What is God doing around me?" Consider  who God has brought into your life?  What situations has God allowed you to deal with right now? How can these become opportunities to serve others? Choose to see the best in people It's easy to see faults, or to view people as needy - hangers on - takers.  Instead, ask yourself "what can I give to help that person become all that Christ made them to be?" Choose compassion over judgment You will never have maximum impact if your first instinct is to find fault. When others don't behave as we would prefer,  It is easy to be annoyed or feel angry with