What’s in Your Small Group Toolbox?

Sg Seminar logo 2009I am excited that Buddy Bell from Montgomery, Alabama will be in Dallas for a tightly packed few hours of small group learning and discovery. He comes specially equipped to help anyone wanting to grow and improve their small group skills. Whether you’re new to small-groups, a committed group member, or a seasoned group leader, you’ll leave this seminar with new inspiration and tools.

In 2001 Buddy founded Share Him Ministries which has helped literally hundred’s of churches around the country set up successful small group programs.  Playing the dual role of preaching and small group minister at his own church has given him a unique viewpoint to see how small groups can be tightly integrated into the ministry of a local church.

After the seminar your small group toolbox will be filled with:

  • Leadership Tools: What is the best preparation for leading a group? How can a leader find and train new leaders?
  • Curriculum Tools: How can we build the discussion on God’s Word?  What are some good curriculum ideas?
  • Relationship Tools: How can we make the atmosphere open, honest, encouraging and non-judgmental?
  • Involvement Tools: How can group members can find their place and purpose in the group? What are some positive options for children?
  • Discussion Tools: How can the leader create great questions, anticipate answers and affirm participation?
  • Expansion Tools: How can the group evaluate its size and plan for the future?

The seminar is free.  There will be free childcare. We are guarding your valuable weekend time with a 3-hour morning session on Saturday, November 14.

I hope anyone in the Dallas area with join us from 9:00 to Noon (Registration is at 8:30 unless you register online) http://tinyurl.com/yfb6heo

Prestoncrest Church of Christ
6022 Prestoncrest Lane
Dallas TX 75230
972-233-2392

5 Moments

In his book, Peaceful living in a Stressful World, Ron Hutchcraft describes five moments scattered throughout our day. Some are exciting. Some are restful. Some are stressful while others are rather dull. But all of them present us with a choice. Who will rule that moment?

Five moments:

1waking

Psalm 119:18 — “When I awake, I am still with you.”

2running

Proverbs 3:6 — “In all you ways acknowledge him.”

3surprising

Ecclesiastes 9:12 — “Men are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them.”

4Nothing

Matthew 14:23 — “He went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone.”

5fadingPsalm 63:6 — “On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night.”

And right now … I am “fading” — Goodnight.

Time Management

makes_eat_timeA good thought from Anthony Bloom:

There is absolutely no need to run after time to catch it. it does not run away from us, it runs towards us. Whether you are intent on the next minute coming your way, or whether you are completely unaware of it, it will come your way. The future, whatever you do about it, will become the present, and so there is no need to try to jump out of the present into the future. … the mistake we often make with our inner life is to imagine that if we hurry we will be in our future sooner … Yet that is what prevents us from being completely in the present moment, which I dare say is the only moment in which we can be, because even if we imagine that we are ahead of time or ahead of ourselves, we are not. The only thing is that we are in a hurry.

Beginning to Pray (page 82)

It will come your way.”

Psalm 90:12 says, “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Numbering my days requires pacing, building boundaries, fully utilizing, learning to say “no” to good things so I can say “yes” to better things. And all of this requires careful thought, which slows me down, which helps me to see and hear, which makes me much more capable and ready, which takes me closer to that much needed “heart of wisdom.”

The History of the Future

back to the futureIf you saw a university class with the title, “The History of the Future,” what would you think it would be about?  How could someone teach the history of the future?  How can history help us move into the future?

Think about yourself for a minute.  When you were a child, what did you dream of becoming?  By your senior year in high school, how had your plans changed?  Looking at your life now, how many of your plans actually occurred just as you thought they would?  What changed?  Why did it change?

Now think about an example from scripture.  As boy, the Peter probably dreamed of following in the family business even though fishing was a hard life and required both determination and leadership.  Later, as a young man, Peter’s plans changed.  He left his fishing business and followed Jesus, but his reasons had not yet found clarity.  At first, his motives were political and his is agenda eclipsed Jesus’ agenda.  There were arguments (Mark 8:32).  Later still, after Jesus’ death and resurrection, Peter’s plans changed again as he became an early spokesman for the Christian movement (Acts 2:14).

Looking back over his entire life, what changed and what remained the same in Peter’s life?  What did his history reveal about his future?

Sometimes this is called “Faith in Process” and the steps are often as difficult as they are predictable as a person moves from one level of commitment to another.  What steps did Peter go through as he changed from the proud Peter who argued with Jesus to the humble Peter who represented Jesus?

Step 1 – Pride – he didn’t listen or learn.
Step 2 – Failure – surprised @ failure.
Step 3 – Bewilderment – wandering in shock.
Step 4 – Listening – facing his own neediness.
Step 5 – Learning – with an open heart.
Step 6 – Change – God brings transformation.

In his classic, The Sacred Journey, Frederick Buechner writes:

“… to grit your teeth and clench your fists in order to survive the world at its harshest and worst – is, by that very act, to be unable to let something be done for you and in you that is more wonderful still … the one thing a clenched fist cannot do is accept … a helping hand.” (pg 46).

Peter eventually unclenched his fists, and while God completely changed Peter’s heart, He left his personality intact.  In fact, God dramatically brought Peter’s history in the future as He used Peter’s determination, drive, and leadership to launch the Christian movement.

And so, let’s go back to where we started – the history of the future.  What have you tried?  Where have you failed?  How have you learned?  What have you changed?

It’s the history of your future.