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A Note for the Guys…

November 29, 2010 Leave a comment

We’ve been in the depths of football season now for several weeks. It’s our favorite time of year! Championship games for College Football are in beginning this next week and in the pro’s things are just beginning to get interesting. You can bet I’ll be watching till my Packers get another Super Bowl ring!

This time of year is also very important for many wives. My wife is included in this. My weekends tend to revolved around the television and whether the game is on ABC, ESPN 1 or 2, or NFL Network. The few times I get up from there are for lunch and dinner and bedtime and church. Then I am back at it.

I’ve been challenging myself and others recently to think about whether we are doing everything we can for our wives. This doesn’t mean turning off the tv for good, but it means show your wife how much she is worth by putting her above your favorite team.  My bet is, she wants you to enjoy it, but she also wants you. She needs your help, and from time to time she needs you to leave behind the game (even though its tied in the 4th quarter with :45 left) and come help her.

In our house its becoming more and more like Christmas. My wife is amazing at turning our house in to a tasteful reminder of how sweet Christmas is. However, she needs my help. If she needs me to put some lights on the house, help with the Christmas tree, or start washing dishes so everything is right when the family comes, then I will.

You can ask my wife, I am not perfect at this, in fact she may not even know that I challenge myself with this thought very often, but its my duty and my privilege to give my wife the #1 spot over my team and my weekend.

If you are learning how to be more supportive to your wife, I recommend you read For Men Only by Jeff & Shaunti Feldhahn. They will give you great wisdom on what your wife needs from you. So whether you are in the first 5 years of marriage or you’ve been around the block a few times, these are insights you need to know about.

Are you climbing?

November 17, 2010 Leave a comment

Mountains. They are beautiful, majestic, rugged, and simply amazing. They are full of misleading ends. Here is what I mean by that. A misleading end is the place that you see in the very short distance that you feel is the end of your climb. You reach the spot only to find that you’ve only reached a small plateau. There is still much to climb. Just recently I was in the mountains and I am sure I came across at least 4 or 5 of these. Just when I thought the burn was done, I still had quite a climb ahead of me.

Press On

I also see it as people are climbing to Christ. They reach that same plateau and think that they are done. Not true. This is a climb or a journey we all must take and will last our who life. Are you still climbing? Or have you stopped? Maybe you are telling yourself, “I just need to sit down for a while and catch my breath.” Unfortunately, many who say these words end up sitting for years.

Our relationship with Christ does not function well with plateaus. We’re either moving up or down. Where are you? Maybe you’ve placed your faith in Christ, you’ve been baptized, you’ve repented but you thought to yourself, “that’s enough for now.” You’re only lying to yourself. If you’ve made it that far, you have only begun. All you’ve done is put your pack on. You haven’t even started the climb yet. I wonder how many people are actually standing around at the bottom with their packs on thinking about all they’ve accomplished so far.

If you’re in that group, I challenge you to start your climb. I promise you God will not let you down. Yes, it’s going to be hard, but it will be worth it. Look at the encouragement we recieve from Paul as he has begun his climb in his letter to the Philippians.

4 though I myself have reasons for such confidence.

If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.

7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in[a] Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Bold/Italics added for emphasis)

Paul sees that he is far from his journey’s end. He presses on. We should too.

Help! I’m a Small Group Leader!

November 8, 2010 Leave a comment

We’ve all been  there. We’re 20 minutes into our group meeting and someone asks a question that sets us into a panic attack! We have no idea how to answer or what to do. We turn blue in the face like someone has just taken the breath away from us. What do we do? What do we say?

Don’t worry. Every leader will at some point face a challenge like this. It’s inevitable. However, it’s important to know where to go with a question like this one. Don’t just shove it under the living room rug and pretend its not there. Believe me, it will turn into the elephant in the room.

Being a leader doesn’t always mean you have all the answers, however, it does mean you are resourceful. It means you know where to get answers or who to speak to in order to get those answers.

Our next LIFE Groups leaders training is in January. This is what we’ll be talking about. We’ll discuss how to deal with various issues both biblically, respectfully, and lovingly.

If you are familiar with these types of situations, I want to hear from you. As a leader, what have you been faced with that takes your breath away? Email me at adults@thirdcitychristian.org

Categories: Coaching Tags: , ,

Praying for Vision and Clarity

October 19, 2010 Leave a comment

It’s always tough when you aren’t sure of what your next move is. It’s like your playing a game of chess. You know your first step, but your opponent throws you off with a move you aren’t expecting. What now? Where do I move? Do I move a pawn, my knight, my rook? What’s it going to be?

I feel like this is how it is in the church sometimes. There are moves we need to make and we are unsure of what they are. My men’s group has been reading through Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. The last couple of weeks our conversation has centered on a discussion of spiritual gifts and being used by God. I know God wants to use us, but how? And the biggest question to ask, am I willing to be used? Have you seen God move in such a way in your life that His next move for you was one that was a big step in faith? I find it happens more and more. I have learned one undeniable truth: If I want to grow in Christ, I need to submit to His game plan.

He’s holding the playbook and calling the shots. I just need to look to the sidelines, receive the play and make it happen. I think it’s very appropirate that my men’s group will hit 1 Corinthians 15 next week. The opening verses of the chapter go like this:

Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saves, if you hold firmly to the work I preached to you. Other, you have believed in vain.

The gospel is a message that saves. The gospel is a message that was not meant to be hoarded. It was meant to go out in to the world and transform lives, as it did mine.

As our church takes the next steps and determines what play Christ is calling for us to engage in, pray with us for clarity of vision and willingness to be used. Also, I pray for you. Are seeking God for the next move? Are you submitting to His game plan? Are you willing to be used by Him no matter what? Ask your self these questions. If you answer yes, hold on tight, its going to be an adventure! If you are answering no, ask why? What is holding you back from allowing God to use you? What are you afraid of?

Five Things from Rick Howerton

August 5, 2010 1 comment

Over the past couple of weeks, one of the blogs that I follow, Rick Howerton, from Lifeway’s Small Group Ministry division has been posting a series called Five Things that… This has been really helpful for me to see all angles of small group ministry from the individual members all the way through the small group pastors.

If you’d like to check out Rick’s blog, I’d encourage you to do so! It’s been a real blessing to me and I hope it is to you also.

Five Things Every Small Group Member Needs from every other Small Group Member

Every Small Group Member deserves to know that their co-Small Group Members…

  1. view themselves as fellow and equal journiers longing to know God really and build a micro-Christian community together
  2. will utilize the spiritual gifts, learned abilities, and resources they have been given on behalf of one another
  3. are committed to the weekly small group meeting where we learn from one another, pray for one another, and see God work miracles when “two or three are gathered.” (Matt.18:20)
  4. hold one another accountable to the spiritual disciplines that birth spiritual maturity in us
  5. purposefully and passionately direct one another to God and His Words found in the Bible when concluding how to deal with a difficult life issue, make a major decision, or determine the rightness or wrongness of a moral dilemma

Five Things every small group member needs from their small group leader:

Every Small Group Member needs to know that their Small Group Leader…

  1. loves the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love’s their neighbor as they love themselves (Mark 12:30 – 31)
  2. understands that life is messy and that the leader will leverage the synergy of the group to help carry the load and remind the struggling group member of the hope that is in them in the messy times
  3. is espousing and instilling a biblical world-view
  4. is available as a sounding board and willing to give wise counsel when requested
  5. will make sure that no known financial, emotional, or spiritual need will be glossed over but that the group leader will coalesce the spiritual gifts, abilities, and resources of the group members to meet those needs

Five things every small group leader needs from their coach:

Every Small Group Leader needs to know that their Coach…

  1. is their confidant, co-laborer, and friend
  2. is available and honored to answer practical questions about small group leadership
  3. is praying for them daily and proves so my connecting with the small group leader periodically via phone or face-to-face so they can hear that prayer
  4. understands that the small group leaders they are responsible for need one another, can learn from one another, and become better by being together, so they welcome them into their home from time to time to discuss group life, encourage one another, and celebrate what God is doing in each of their groups
  5. is willing to come to the group meeting and speak into the conversation when the small group leader has been unable to resolve conflict, a doctrinal discussion has become a foolish and divisive debate, when the group is in rebellion and unwilling to consider multiplication, etc…

Five things every coach needs from their small group pastor:

Every Small Group Coach needs to know that their Small Group Pastor…

  1. believes wholeheartedly that life-change takes place best in small groups
  2. trusts them as leaders of leaders and is training them to be just that
  3. sees them as the key link to small group leaders and so, when considering making change in the ministry, will first engage the coaches, gather their opinions and wise counsel, and utilize that information in the decision-making process
  4. has the answers to and/or is willing to give them the resources that answer the questions small group leaders are asking them
  5. can and will be available to step into the mayhem when a small group has an issue that the small group leader and the coach have already tried to resolve but were unable to resolve

A glimpse into LIFE group Coaching

On Saturday, I introduced a little into the what a coaching support model looks like. Even without a lot of specifics, I got a lot of great feedback and several volunteers already! Thank you to those of you who are stepping forward.

This model will be launch simultaneously with the LIFE groups launch on September 12th. This means coaches will be making their first phone calls in September.

What does coaching look like? Great question!

All coaches will be expected to read through Coaching Life-Changing Small Group Leaders by Bill Donahue and Greg Bowman. While I wish I could read you several pages out of this book, I’d be typing all day. I want to give you just a brief look into what the world of a LIFE group coach looks like:

As a Coach, you are one of the most strategic people in the life-change process. While the sole responsibility for the success of the ministry does no rest on you alone, you play a vital part. Your role in nurturing and developing group leaders is critical to the health and vitality of the small group ministry in your church. You are on the front lines of the ministry and will have the most contact with the group leaders in your care. (p.54)

This role will mean so much to those leaders in which you are investing your time. While we are only starting out with a limited number of coaches to carry the current need (2 men and 2 women), there will be plenty of opportunity for more coaches as we grow as a ministry.

If you are interested in learning more about coaching, please contact me at the church office (384-5038) or email me at adults@thirdcitychristian.org

If you enjoy a good book on the subject, check out:
Coaching Life-Changing Small Group Leaders

by Bill Donahue and Greg Bowman
or
Building a Church of Small Groups
by Bill Donahue and Russ Robinson