Communion in Small Groups – More than a Good Idea

As we approach the middle of the Winter/Spring Semester, and more significantly, Easter, now is a perfect time to observe communion in your small group. This post makes that practice understandable and easy. God bless your fellowship.

LC3 Life Blog

The Bible says very little about how we are actually to go about observing communion, yet most Christians have strong preferences, if not convictions, about how to do it.  I want to expand your thinking in one area — observing communion regularly in your small group. As we will see,  this is more than just a good idea.

No Wafers and Juice Cups in the Bible

Most of us (assuming an audience which holds the “symbolic” view of communion) have observed communion primarily in corporate gatherings, with a short message and Bible reading from the pastor, followed by a collective ingesting of a wafer and a small plastic cup of grape juice. Let me say, I have no problem with the wafer and grape juice! Observing communion in this way has been a major part of my life’s spiritual formation. But my strengthening conviction is that small group members…

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Planning Your Next Semester: Winter/Spring 2018


Praise God, our groups are winding down a memorable Fall 2017 Semester. This post, which is revised and updated each year, aids leaders in planning for our next semester.

How NOT to Start Your Next Semester

Let’s begin with how NOT to start your next semester.

A typical question leaders are asking is: “What curriculum should I kickoff the Winter/Spring semester with?” My preferred answer would be… NONE!

NONE, Why is that!? This goes back to why our groups exist. Are they Bible studies alone? No, definitely not. But, experience teaches that if a group launches a new term immediately with the new Bible study or curriculum on the first week, then that group will become forever locked into the “study” mold and mentality, as if that is all you exist to do, no matter what you try to do later.

The Solution: Start your semester with some of the other vital small group elements which often get crowded out. Ideas include:

  • Start with a meal or fun night. You are a spiritual family, after all. Set the tone to enjoy each other!


  • Start with a worship, prayer, and/or communion night, seeking God’s guidance and setting a worshipful pattern for your year.
  • Start with a service/outreach project, or series of them, declaring: “We are going to be the hands and feet of Jesus!”
  • Start with sharing a few personal salvation testimonies, to celebrate God’s grace in our lives and get to know each other
  • Start with having the kids involved in worship, so they see Jesus Christ as the center for your group’s existence.
  • Then, start your curriculum, having become close friends and spiritual siblings; soul mates and teammates. We have 16-20 weeks in the Winter/Spring Semester. No need to rush into a curriculum, there is plenty of time to do it all!

Calendar and Small Group Agreement Pages

Pull out that Winter/Spring Calendar, found in the first couple pages of the Leader and Member Toolkits, with your group to plan out the entire semester together – host locations, fun days, weeks off, trips together, meal plans… whatever you can plan.

And, don’t neglect to review the Small Group Agreement page, to get everyone’s expectations aligned. Among the most important axioms I have learned in church leadership over the years is that “Expectations are everything.” They truly are. Clear and aligned expectations will directly impact your members’ attendance and engagement all year long.

NOW, Choose the Right Curriculum

currSince our foundation is God’s Word, a good curriculum or Bible study plan is a vital tool. Come browse our many curriculums in the training sessions or in my office anytime, where you can access our materials to preview or check out.

And, don’t forget that you can help us keep building up our curriculum library, with “The Lake City Offer”, which is:

If you are interested in using a curriculum we do not currently have, I will buy the leader book and DVD (if there is one) for you if you will return it when finished, to add to our library. Your group members will just buy their own participant guides, if there is one. This offer helps future groups and eliminates any hesitation based on the cost of a study!
NOTE: A list of our available and recommended curriculums can be found in the back of the Leader Toolkit.

Important Dates

Here are a few important dates for your calendars:

    • * **Leader Training: As always, there is one required January training session for all leaders, offered twice, for your scheduling convenience:
      • Option 1 – Sunday, January , 11:30am – 1:15pm, with lunch.
      • Option 2 – For those who cannot attend the January 7 session, come to the makeup session on Sunday, January 14, 11:30am – 12:40pm, without lunch (snacks only).

*This year’s training will focus on personal spiritual growth and leader development, strategically according to where you in this season of your life. Also included are fellowship with other leaders, coaches, and then key elements of the church’s vision and winter/spring  dates.

**This year’s training involves videos to watch beforehand. A link to five videos will be sent to all leaders who then choose two of the five to watch, based on where you are currently in your personal leadership life-season.

  • Signups: Signups will officially be open to new members starting on Dec. 30/31, with the list of open groups passed down the aisles in church the following two weeks.
  • Kickoff: Winter/Spring Semester officially kicks off the week of January 14. Leaders of open groups, be prepared to proactively welcome new people right away!  


Our mission and vision remain the same:

Small Group Mission Banner 8 logo1

All our small group training sessions are always open to everyone. Families and discipleship groups are welcome to attend together.

The Winter/Spring Semester runs through the end of May, so it’s a bit longer than the Fall Semester, leaving you room to do more things and have more fun and transformative experiences.

May God be glorified in our ministry,

Pastor Reg

Fall 2017 Testimonies and 2018 Dates

2017 testimonies main photo

It was a fall of mass shootings, National Anthem protests, increasing worldwide persecution of Christians, sexual misconduct scandals, and of course our own personal life challenges. Where is God in all of this? How can we know Him, have faith in Him, and share our faith in Him unashamedly with others?

God directed our church into an entire fall devoted to these tough questions; wrestling through them together in our sermons and small groups. After a successful Ministry Summit focused on training leaders in apologetics, we launched the all-church sermon and small group series, The God Questions. We saw God grow our faith and our church, and our witness in the world.

And, now, it is time to recount and celebrate some of those ways!

Fall 2017 Testimonies

It is that time of year again when I get to share just a glimpse of what God is doing in and through our church and each unique small group. Below you will find some of the testimonies, goals, and celebrations reported from our groups this fall.

(Following those are important upcoming 2018 dates.)

Now, take a moment to read, praise God, and enjoy!

Stories and Praises from our Groups

small-groups-logo-pro.jpgWe had a great time at the corn maze!”23031284_253318151862956_5672789143419651049_n.jpg

small-groups-logo-pro.jpgWe’ve had a few new ladies visit and join us who haven’t been involved in a small group. One said they feel like they’ve finally find a place they belong.”

small-groups-logo-pro.jpg “I am very thankful our exchange students have observed our small group (voluntarily).  It makes me much more conscious of our conversations and how an outsider might view us.  For that, I am thankful.”

small-groups-logo-pro.jpgPraise: “One couple got to spend extended time with a relative that has been on our prayer list for a long time. Although he still has not made a commitment to Jesus, he opened up about what was going on in his life, which is not his normal way.”

small-groups-logo-pro.jpg“We continue to be a helping and sharing group, coming to each other’s aid as needed. Examples have been: donating funds to help members in need, assisting with household tasks of others, helping find employment for family members, and provided transportation on short notice. We are a group of believers and friends who do not hesitate to ask for and offer support to others as needed. We mailed a care package of food and other items to a missionary family in mid-August.”

small-groups-logo-pro.jpg“Praise the Lord that we have new folks this semester.  We are blessed that everyone is quickly comfortable with participating and sharing.”

small-groups-logo-pro.jpg“We had one group member who at the start of the first discussion, said he had a hard time answering someone who said ‘If everything was created, who created God?’ By the end of the night he had an ‘ah ha’ moment as we reviewed the discussion and went back to page 12 in the God Questions book and concluded that only someone bigger than the universe [an infinite God] could have created the finite universe. The diagram was essential as all the pieces were falling into place. We also had a lively discussion about the truth of the Bible and marveled at the reality about how much more evidence there was for the New Testament [24,000] to be true than Homer’s Iliad [643].”

small-groups-logo-pro.jpg“We have had great attendance this fall. Everyone has participated and been very open in discussions. Considering that we are new group and still trying to get to know everyone, this is huge. Plus, two members got engaged this last Sunday!”

small-groups-logo-pro.jpgThe Grisham group completes their annual Habitat for Humanity group project!girsham.jpg

small-groups-logo-pro.jpg“We prayed for a member to quit tobacco at Small Group and he has quit for months.”

small-groups-logo-pro.jpg“Praise that as a group over the past year, the ladies have grown together as a family while most of the men were gone. We’ve studied Financial Peace University over the summer and some have gotten out of debt, and/or increased their giving and being better stewards overall of finances. Another praise that all the husbands are back and it feels like a new season/kickoff as a group because of that.”

small-groups-logo-pro.jpgA new member’s response to our prayer list: “Wow, amen to all of those beautiful prayers. I will be praying for you all, I hope that you all have a beautiful day/Halloween and stay safe! God bless each and every one of you. Very happy to have had the chance to become a part of such a awesome small group.”

small-groups-logo-pro.jpg“Our group raked five yards for our service project this fall. It was a blast for everyone, and the number of new conversations with neighbors that prompted was unlike anything I’ve seen in from one project.”

small-groups-logo-pro.jpg“One member came to the church due to the flyer that the church sent out and has felt welcomed. He is a recovering from some life circumstances and has many questions about Jesus.”

small-groups-logo-pro.jpgThe Snyder’s group Christmas Party 24796268_934040673418747_8111483452175010245_n.jpg

small-groups-logo-pro.jpgOverstreet Group Tree Farm Field Trip and Christmas Party christmas party


small-groups-logo-pro.jpgNobles/Kern Christmas Party24173525_10212360492702303_1757439126550020914_o (2).jpgsmall-groups-logo-pro.jpgPinneo Group Christmas Decorating24131204_10214153665097623_7620166677154561062_n (2).jpg

New Leader Goals

A national survey of thousands of church small group leaders revealed that fewer than 1/3 had ever set any kind of goal for their group. That demonstrates a concerning lack of intentional leadership. In response, Lake City Small Group leaders were asked to set 1-3 goals for their semester – things they believe God would like to see happen under their leadership.

Below are several examples of what our leaders identified as goals this fall, in addition to the standard duties of small group leading.

Do more outreach outside of the church family, and see members grow spiritually.

Develop new group activity outside of normal meeting time.


Inspire our group to share Jesus with others and not keep it bottled up in our small group.

Identify potential leaders, and give them at least one opportunity to lead the group.

Continue at least two outreach ministries that we can do outside of the group.

Distribute the work of leadership to a core team.

Transition leadership effectively.

Work a Habitat for Humanity project in Tillicum.

To assess where each member is in their walk with Christ and what each needs to reach the next stage.

To serve food at the Tacoma Rescue Mission, with celebration dinner at conclusion.

To develop a prayer plan during the second half of this semester that allows more time for group prayer.

For our members to reach out and use what they are learning to witness to those around them.

To equip members to take ownership of their own spiritual growth.

To see more individuals serving within the group.

Get at least one service project completed, and have at least 1 fun filled event. I.E. Game night, Movie night, bowling.

New Roles and Ways Group Members Have Gotten Involved

Our leaders are also devoted to training  their members towards serving God with their own unique gifts and abilities. As 1 Peter 4:10 instructs, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” 

Following are several new roles our leaders excitedly reported their members taking this fall:

  • LoveOps (mission project) Leader
  • Worship Leader
  • Food Coordinator
  • Social Coordinator
  • Communication
  • Rotate host homes
  • Rotate Scripture readers
  • Men’s/Women’s Breakout leaders
  • Guitar player
  • Became Co-leader
  • Sharing discussion facilitating, new person leads each week
  • Leading a service project with Young Life
  • Everyone shared their testimonies
  • Everyone contributes food every week
  • New assistant leader
  • Prayer request coordinator
  • Coordinates correspondence with our missionaries

May God continue to grow us all in our desire and ability to make disciples who make disciples, in 2018 and far beyond.

Important Upcoming 2018 Dates


As you can see, God blessed our church communities this fall. We are breaking for a greatly anticipated Christmas celebration, but people are wondering… what is coming ahead in the New Year?

Put these on your calendars right now!

  • Saturday/Sunday, December 30/31 – Small Group Signups begin (small group listings at foyer table, in worship services, and church website)
  • Sunday, January 7 – *Small Group Leader Training/Vision Session, 11:30AM – 1:15PM, Upper Gym, with lunch (NOTE: There is a makeup session the next week if you CANNOT attend this.)
  • January 14–20 – Official SG Kickoff Week!
  • Sunday, January 14 – *Small Group Leader Training Makeup Session, 11:30AM – 12:40PM, snacks but no lunch. 
  • Saturday, February 3 – LCCC Membership Class

*Our small group leader trainings are not exclusively for returning small group leaders. Anyone interested in any type of church leadership is welcome. 

Watch for more information regarding the January training sessions, and the preliminary work involved with them.

Praising God for the success He granted in 2017. Expecting great things in 2018,

Pastor Reg

How Important is Praying Together, Corporately and as Small Groups?

Group Praying

I am going to answer two questions that I don’t often see asked together: How important is praying together as a church (“corporate prayer”), and how important is small group prayer?

First Question: How Important is Corporate Prayer for a Church?

Twice a year, preceding Christmas and Easter, we ask ministries and small groups to suspend their regular activities to instead pray corporately at our “Concerts of Prayer.” Why do we do that? How important is all-church, corporate prayer?

One of Pastor Jim’s longtime mentors, Pastor Dee Duke, from Jefferson, OR, leads an annual prayer conference which covers much ground on many topics including biblical benefits of corporate prayer. The importance of gathering corporately for prayer is plainly and powerfully seen in his points. Here are some of my favorite:

The more corporate praying that a church does…

  • The more people in the church will know God, and the greater the sense of His presence will be in their lives. (Acts 4:31; Matthew 18:20)
  • The more joy, confidence, security, faith and peace they will experience. (Psalm 16:11; Ephesians 1:18-23; Philippians 4:6-7)
  • The more people will grow spiritually. (Acts 4:31; Ephesians 3:14-16)
  • The more boldness, courage and passion the people will have to reach their lost friends, neighbors, and relatives for Christ. (Acts 4:31; Ephesians 6:19)
  • The more desire there will be in the hearts of people in the church do the work of the ministry. (Ephesians 4:16; Matthew 9:37-38)
  • The less influence Satan will have on the people in church and for those being prayed for outside the church. (2 Corinthians 11:3, 4:4; John 17:15; Ephesians 6:12, 18; Exodus 17:9-13; Luke 22:31-32)
  • The more opportunities there will be to serve the Lord, and to be used by Him to advance the Kingdom of God. The opportunities will come because God is opening doors, and because of the increased vision in the life of Pastor and lay people. (Colossians 4:2-3; 1 Corinthians 16:9; Acts 14:27; 2 Corinthians 2:12; Revelation 3:7-8). We serve God when he opens a door. He opens doors when we’re close to him. He brings vision.
  • The stronger the marriages and families in the church will become. (Ephesians 3:14-16)

Our Immediate Opportunity for Corporate Prayer

One of the great blessings of LC3 is having a praying senior pastor who models and teaches us regularly on this topic. So, most people at LC3 probably know all the answers, intellectually. But, have you learned them experientially? Have you witnessed God break through hardened hearts after praying corporately? This is a blessing that you, your family, and your group should not miss.

The Christmas corporate prayer schedule is as follows. Bring your group to any of them. Maybe include a meal or party before or after.

November 26-29 Christmas Prayer Events

1) Sunday Concert of Prayer, 1:00PM, in the Gym, with lunch (with childcare)
2) Monday, 10AM
3) Monday, 7PM (with childcare)
4) Tuesday, 10AM
5) Tuesday, 7PM (with childcare)
6) Wednesday, 10AM

Second Question: “How Important is Prayer to Your Small Group?”

You know prayer is important to your small group. But, HOW important? What, for instance, would well-researched, doctoral-level, empirical data demonstrate on this topic?

Read this excerpt about the findings of such a Ph.D. project which set out to determine the most important factor in leading a small group.  (Not to give the answer away or anything, haha.) [Full article found here.]

A religious expert wanting to cut through the confusion of 613 Old Testament statutes came to Jesus and asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” Jesus gave his famous reply, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself'” (Mark 12:28-32).

Like the scribe who came to Jesus, I was a confused small-groups expert just a few years back. I kept hearing advice from a plethora of small-group authors and speakers, each promoting different methods and models. All of them were confident and persuasive, but their contradictory theories couldn’t all be right. Someone needed to do cut through the confusion by doing serious, scientific research on what really creates healthy, growing small groups. We needed to look past the models to discover the key underlying principles.

I wanted to get to the bottom of things. I wanted an answer to the question, “What’s the most important part of leading a small group?” I completed a Ph.D. degree and did extensive statistical research involving over 3,000 small-group leaders in more than 200 churches to probe that question, and the answer I found was surprisingly simple.

The most important dimension of leading a group is your prayer life—your connection to God as a leader.… Out of the hundreds of questions we asked, the leaders’ answers to the following questions yielded the most pivotal results:

  1. How consistently do you take time for prayer and Bible reading?
  2. Are you praying daily for your non-Christian friends to come to know Jesus?
  3. How many days in the past week did you pray for your small-group members?
  4. Do you pray for your group meetings in the days leading up to it?
  5. How much time on average do you spend in daily prayer and Bible reading?

Why Is Prayer So Important?

Why does the prayer life of the leader make such a difference in the health and growth of a small group? The research doesn’t tell us why, it only tells us that a very strong correlation exists. But I don’t think it’s hard to figure out.

Jesus said in John 15:5: “I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing”….

Basically, our research statistically proved John 15:5! If you want to see Jesus’ life flowing in your small group, stay connected to him!

Well, how do you measure on those five questions?

Brothers and sisters, you have influence in a church, a small group, or a ministry. Pray is important for you and for them. Draw close to your Heavenly Father and just witness the results in your people, your family, and your soul.

Praying for you right now,

Pastor Reg

Thanksgiving and Advent Resources, 2017

The holiday season is beginning! Oh, what joyous times!

I want to make sure you know what LCCC is providing household and small group leaders this year in regards to Thanksgiving and Advent.


Happy Thanksgiving Week! Or shall I say “Thanksliving”? 🙂 If you missed Pastor Jim’s very practical Thanksgiving sermon, try to check it out before Thursday at our media player here –

If you could use Thanksgiving ideas/resources for your group or family this year, this Thanksgiving post on from 2010 still holds up pretty well. 🙂

The Advent of Jesus Christ (Christmas)

We started rolling out Advent resources in church last weekend so people can start preparing with them before the Advent season begins.

I have used these in small groups in the past, and am going to again this year with our current small group (in our December 3 meeting). Dwelling on Advent with your small group is a rich experience, whether it’s for an entire meeting or just a few moments during your Christmas party.

Here are the Advent Resources we are providing for you to explore and use in your groups and homes this Advent season.

  1. PDF“Five Steps to Create Meaningful Traditions During the Christmas Season”
  2. AudioTerrific interview by Pastor David and Kelli of John and Carissa Lewis (authors of resource #3…)
  3. blog photo 1BookFinding the Treasure in Christmas, by John and Carissa Lewis. While John is working on getting this book published he meanwhile gets it printed locally. This book has guided my family’s Advent season for four years and counting. We are happy to be selling them at church starting next week. They are not only beautiful, but the single best Advent resource I have found… and I have looked at every Advent resource I can get my hands on.
  4. Christmas Concert of Prayerblog photo 2this Sunday in the Gym, 12:45-2:00pm, and the five prayer hours that follow, next Monday – Wednesday. Bring your group! Corporate prayer is probably your most powerful Christmas resource of all.
  5. Upcoming Advent Sermon Series, “Let there be Light.” Details appear below on this picture of an invitation card, which are also available for you to take and handout around town. Let there be Light
  6. Last, but not least, my own family (all 7 of us!) is teaching a one-hour class this Sunday at 10:00am called “Getting the Most out of the Christmas Season.” I hope to pack out “Portable A” with people, props, stories, and Scriptures, and have a great time. You are all invited! Acts 3




Glory to God in the highest; His peace to you all,

Pastor Reg


Apologetics NOT? When to Defend and When to Proclaim


by Catlan Sardina, Lake City Small Group “Coach in Training,” Army Psychological Operations Officer,  seminary student, husband and father (not necessarily in that order)

God Questions2In the upcoming God Questions series, Lake City is going to explore the world of apologetics. This will be an exciting season of growth for many of us, and reassurance of the truth and validity of the Bible as God’s Word for all of us. Apologetics, the $10 word for “defending our faith,” is a great tool for any maturing Christian. But, as with any other tool, it is important to know what it is, what it’s not, and when to use it. As I’m sure the Great Carpenter would have told you, “Don’t use a saw on a job that calls for a drill.”

In this post, I would like to humbly suggest a point of reflection for all my brothers and sisters at Lake City: Don’t confuse apologetics and evangelism, they are different jobs and require different tools.

A great starting point for differentiating apologetics and evangelism is by clearly defining apologetics, what is it and what isn’t it. The passage of Scripture most often quoted to introduce apologetics is 1 Peter 3:15b:

…always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, — English Standard Version

This is a passage often taken out of context, to turn apologetics into a commanded discipline. The context of 1 Peter 3 is suffering, where to place our hope when we face persecution, and what to do when we are persecuted. In this context, our greatest takeaway from verse 15 is that when things get terrible, believers should have so much hope that people ask us for a reason for it. Hope in the face of suffering is our greatest apologetic.

This seems almost unfathomable in our current cultural setting where Christians are prone towards becoming hopeless, downtrodden, and defensive every time America loses some of her Christian heritage. Just before the November 2016 elections, a writer submitted this question to Billy Graham:

I don’t see any hope for our nation. I think we’ve gotten so far from God that He’s just given up on us. That’s what happened to people in Old Testament times, wasn’t it?

Of course, Billy Graham answered the questioner by encouraging him to have hope, but this sort of thinking is not unique and does not portray the hope that Peter talked about in 1 Peter 3:15. Wouldn’t it be an amazing testimony if Lake City Community Church started The God Questions series by first preparing our hearts to have hope in times of persecution?

Imagine living out 1 Peter 3:15 as a community. Our hope in the grace of Jesus Christ would be longsuffering and unquenchable. People would see that we cannot be brought low, no matter how terrible the persecution or suffering. It would be in this context that we would provide a defense for the hope that is in us. This type of defense and witness already seems counter to the in-your-face brand of apologetics that tends to make Christians look like the defender of God. By the way, God doesn’t need a protector, we need God to be our protector.

If then, 1 Peter 3:15b does not primarily command us to prepare a logical, intellectual defense for the Christian faith, where does Scripture tell us to do this? The best passage in Scripture for understanding apologetics comes from 2 Corinthians 10:5.

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, — English Standard Version

The context of this passage is far more appropriate for the discipline of apologetics. Here, Paul is talking to Christians about worldly opinions influencing other Christians. In this chapter (just two verses later) Paul talks about people being confident that they are Christ’s. In this context we derive the instruction for using logical arguments to destroy lofty opinions that may cause doubts within the Church. Did you notice the difference here? Reaching back to the analogy that apologetics is a tool, the “job” that most appropriately calls for apologetics is the moment when a Christian begins to have doubts about the validity of Scripture because of a worldly argument.

Our leadership at LC3 has already framed The God Questions series in a light very similar to this, with a goal of preventing our youth from doubting their faith in middle/high school. Bryan Osborne, from Answers in Genesis, showed some troubling figures about Christian children finding doubt and referenced the book titled Already Gone. Our church does an excellent job at discipleship. If we want to continue to take discipleship seriously, then we need to build up the hope in our less-mature believers. Apologetics is a great tool (alongside prayer, testimony, exposure to Scripture, and the power of the Holy Spirit) to assist in “destroying arguments of doubt to help take every thought captive to obey Christ.” One step further, Romans 14 proclaims that mature Christians have a responsibility to sacrifice our Christian liberties, time, and effort to disciple immature believers.

If apologetics is a hammer, the seeds of doubt within the Church are the nail. But, what about when dealing with lost-unregenerate people outside the Church? Well, now we aren’t dealing with the same problem, and if the problem doesn’t call for a hammer then we shouldn’t reach for it. It is important to remember that no one has ever been saved by a good argument, but only by the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Here is some Scripture for thought on why not to use apologetics for arguing with lost people:

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing — 1 Corinthians 1:18a, English Standard Version

Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles — 1 Corinthians 1:20b-23, English Standard Version

“Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”… After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. — John 6:56-58, 66 English Standard Version

All three of these passages have something in common: lost people think the Gospel is foolish. Jesus did not try to make the Gospel more appealing and more believable, he made it powerful. In another passage, Jesus was sending out His disciples to evangelize and he explicitly told them not to prepare an apologetic-type message:

When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. — Matthew 10:19-20

A last passage of Scripture to help us when preaching the Gospel to the lost as opposed to combatting them with logical (albeit truthful) arguments comes from the Gospel according to Paul:

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. — Romans 10:17, English Standard Version

Halfway through The God Questions series, when you are at work at the water cooler and you find yourself in a position to use your newfound apologetics Kung Fu, practice restraint. The Gospel that lives in us is not revealed through arguing over the age of the earth. The Gospel is not represented by a defensive know-it-all. The Gospel is represented daily by faithful, humble, submissive, persecuted, longsuffering, and HOPEFUL Christians. When your hope has stretched to the point that people around you have no choice but to ask for a reason, defend it with the Gospel. By your preaching of the Word of Christ they will hear, and by hearing they too will have faith. Use your hammer on a nail, but don’t try and repair a broken window by hammering it back together.

Our Fall 2017 Series: The God Questions

God Questions

This fall, we will explore some of the most difficult questions about God. This post contains the details!

About the Series

Have you ever ignored people’s difficult questions about God, telling them that they should not ask those questions, or to just have more faith? Maybe you haven’t. But, sadly, those responses are a major reason people cite for leaving the church. That does not need to be!

The God Questions is our six-week sermon series and small group study designed to address the toughest questions head-on.

These include:

God Questions1

  1. Is God real?
  2. Is the Bible really HIS Word, or just an ancient text?
  3. Is there really only one way to heaven?
  4. If God is so good, why is there so much bad in our world?
  5. Why do evolutionists and creationists disagree so heatedly?
  6. What happens when I die?

We have the confidence to believe God is big and loving enough to answer all of these, and many more that will surface. We will uncover truth, grow our own faith, and be equipped to answer others’ questions. We will do so all together in sermons and in relationship in small groups. Will you join us?


  • Month of August – August is our busy and active month of identifying and equipping new Small Group Leaders. Is God calling you to lead or host a group?
  • Sunday, August 27 The God Questions Small Group Leader Connection and Training – In the Upper Gym, during 2nd service, 10:30AM-12:00PM
  • August 26/27 – Small Group signups begin, via small group catalogs in service, signup display in foyer, or church website)
  • ministry summit 2015Saturday, September 9 – LCCC Ministry Summit – An exciting day of equipping for several areas of ministry.  9:00AM-1:00PM. (Includes Apologetics training in preparation for the God Questions, and the Small Group Leader Training makeup session.)
  • Week of September  10 – Small Groups Kick Off! – The first two weeks are to get to know each other and set group expectations, dates, and goals.
  • September 16/17 Introduction to the God Questions 
  • September  23/24 – The God Questions #1
  • September  30 – LCCC Membership Class, 9:00AM – 12:45PM
  • September  30/Oct. 1The God Questions #2 
  • October 7/8 – The God Questions #3  
  • October 14/15 – The God Questions #4  
  • October 21/22 – The God Questions #5  
  • Oct. 28/29 – The God Questions #6  
  • November – mid-December – The series finishes six weeks before the fall semester ends, allowing leaders to schedule semester-end activities such as outreach and service projects, worship/communion nights, fun nights, planning for next semester, Thanksgiving Dinner, and a finale Christmas Party!

Books and DVDs

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Small group leaders can pick up their group’s books and DVD beginning at the God Questions SG Leader Training on Sunday, August 27. Small group members can get their books as they join a group, starting August 26/27. Children’s and youth small groups will do this series, too, adding to the family experience!

How to Join a Group

Beginning on August 26/27, we will pass out the “small group catalogs” in the worship services, have a signup display in the foyer, and update the online “Group Finder” on

I am looking forward to all this fall holds for us, and praying for it now!

Pastor Reg

“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” – 2 Peter 3:18

16 Reasons Why People Suffer


A few nights ago we experienced a rare Pacific Northwest house-shaking BOOM of thunder which led our daughters quickly out of their bedroom in search for comfort, and answers. Their mom and I reminisced about our developed fondness for thunderstorms growing up in Indiana and Florida, and comforted them with a satisfying scientific lesson and assurance of God’s sovereignty.

But, in the morning, our second oldest wanted MORE answers!

She said, “Dad, God makes the lightening that comes out of the sky and kills people. WHY WOULD HE DO THAT!?” I replied, “And, there, my lovely daughter, you have asked the number one question that keeps people away from God and struggling through life. Why do people suffer?”

16 Reasons

Why do we suffer? My dad tells the story that one of his seminary professors in the 1960’s challenged his class to study the Scriptures to determine that very thing – why God allows suffering in the world. My dad, the young pastor, concluded from his study that Scripture identified five basic reasons why people suffer.  He placed those five on a small piece of paper in his Bible as he visited people with some physical or emotional affliction. Over years of more study his small piece of paper grew into a detailed chart. He ultimately concluded that God’s Word gives 16 general reasons why people suffer in this world.

Dad’s journey was years. I want everyone to have this in their hands right now. So, I have put his chart below, and have attached a printable Word document here. It is not a simple question, but it is a vital question for us to answer; and, one which will lead to glories, faith, peace, assurance, and convictions of many kinds. Please consider these 16 reasons prayerfully, and research the Scriptures for yourselves.

Suffering Chart

Notice that there are some things God holds as more important than our comfortable circumstances – His glory, the fulfillment of His redemptive plan to eradicate evil, and our relationship with Him. By His grace He shares His glory with His children. In future glorification in heaven believers attain likeness to the glorified Christ and are freed from both physical and spiritual defect. We will never again experience bodily decay, death or illness, and will never again struggle with sin. We will see God as He is, face to face, and walk and reign and rule with Him forever.

What About Right Now?

Right now, in the face of your struggles today, the delight of knowing Him and being His brings joy, peace, satisfaction, and contentment in this life, in all circumstances. If you grasp these truths, you will experience routine praise. You will not be shocked at any bad thing. You will say to suffering, the lower you lay me the higher you raise me.

Or, you might waste it. In an article called “Don’t Waste Your Cancer,” John Piper and David Powlison identify several mistakes that can make us waste God’s plan in our suffering. I’m going to change the word “cancer” in these to “sufferings” because they apply to all. They write:

  1. You will waste your suffering if you do not believe it is designed for you by God.
  2. You will waste your suffering if you think that “beating” it means staying alive rather than cherishing Christ.
  3. You will waste your suffering if you grieve as those who have no hope.
  4. You will waste your suffering if you treat sin as casually as you did before.
  5. You will waste your suffering if you fail to use it as a means of witness to the truth and the glory of Christ.

Are You a Child of God?

But, it all starts with salvation from sin. Whether you are in a time of prosperity and comfort right now, or a time of suffering, pain, and disappointment, God says that we are all sinners and stand condemned without repentant trusting faith in Jesus Christ. But, Jesus suffered for our sins so that He may save us from our sins. So, don’t wait any longer. Repent of your sins and call on Him for salvation today. He will answer.

Considering the hardest parts of life, together, with patience and endurance, for God’s glory and our joy,


P.S. Volumes have been written and discussed on this subject, but in your searching for answers I would most recommend the resources on under a search for “suffering.”

Reg’s Doctoral Church Planting Presentation

grad 1

Welcome to! If that sounds like a new website, it is. Kind of. We recently changed the name of the long running “” to “” primarily for the purpose of featuring new topics such as church planting, missions, and others which may come.

But, I haven’t been able to post here until my dissertation on church planting was completed. I am happy to say… it is now completed!

So, for my inaugural post on the topic of church planting, please enjoy one of these two videos:

grad 2

Video 1 contains my entire doctoral dissertation defense/presentation, held on Saturday, April 22, 2017 at Lake City Community Church in Lakewood, WA. The video includes an introduction from Corban University Doctor of Ministry Director, Dr. Leroy Goertzen, and a time for questions and answers at the end. The 32-page presentation handout can be downloaded on PDF right here – PRESENTATION – Handout.

The title of my dissertation is, “PREPARING TO PLANT SUCCESSFUL CHURCHES: DISCOVERING PREPARATION COMMONALITIES IN VIABLE CHURCH PLANTS IN WESTERN WASHINGTON STATE.” The entire 300+ page dissertation will be available for consumption in a couple months.

Video 2 is an 8-minute clip from the full video above in which I discuss laying the theological foundation for church planting. Without that foundation, the research and the rest of our conversation doesn’t much matter.

In the weeks, months, and years to come, I plan to add content from my research over the last three years to this blog, as well as new discoveries as Lake City Community Church proceeds on our church planting adventures, as God leads and directs.

The conversation has begun. The prayers continue. Please join both!

For His glory and our joy,


P.S. If you are reading this before May 7, you are invited to Graduation Open House at LCCC on Sunday, May 7, from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. We want to thank the church for being so supportive, and celebrate the conclusion of one chapter and the opening of many new chapters ahead.


Winter/Spring ’17 Events

Small Group Mission Banner 8 logo1

Each Winter/Spring Semester we ask, “What extra opportunities should we create for our leaders who want to gather with other leaders this semester?” These gatherings have always been enjoyable and successful.

While these events are not required for leadership like the fall and January training sessions, we think leaders, potential leaders, and those you are discipling should come!

So, here’s what we have for this semester, for leaders, members, and everyone interested in connecting with one of our “spiritual families” at LCCC.

Upcoming Small Group Dates

  1. ANY time is a great time to connect in a Lake City Small Group. The groups marked “Room for More” on our website actually want you to join them right now!
  2. Mid-Semester Leader Fun Gathering, “Galvanize” – Friday, March 10, 6:00-8:00pm. Leaders, mark your calendars now. This will be a good one. More info and an e-vite coming soon.
  3. Prayer Meeting for Small Groups #1 – Sunday, March 12, 10:00am, Library. Open to anyone who wants to pray for our small groups.
  4. Prayer Meeting for Small Groups #2 – Sunday, April 30, 10:00am, Library. Open to anyone who wants to pray for our small groups.
  5. Easter – Sunday, April 16. Kicking off at least two exciting new groups during the week after Easter, open for anyone to join.
  6. June Small Group Leader End-of-Year Celebration! – Wednesday, June 14, on the lake, for all SG Leaders and families, 6-8pm.

Upcoming #LC4Malawi, Cram the Container Dates


(Our all-small groups and church combined service project this semester)

  1. Collection Date (2 of 3) – Feb. 18/19, before and after all worship services
  2. Packing and Sorting Party (1 of 3) – Saturday, Feb. 18, 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM (Need 30-40 people; great for individuals, families, and small groups to do together)
  3. Collection Date (2 of 3) – Feb. 18/19, before and after all worship services
  4. Packing and Sorting Party (2 of 3) – Saturday, March 4, 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM (Need 30-40 people)
  5. Packing and Sorting Party (3 of 3) – Saturday, March 25, 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM (Need 40-50 people)

Other Upcoming Church Dates

  1. LCCC Membership Class: Saturday, Feb. 25, 9am-12:45pm (Encourage your members to join or just discover more about our church.)
  2. S. H.A.P.E. Class: Saturday March 18, 9am – 1:00pm – Discover how and why God made you for His purposes in your life.
  3. Women’s Retreat – April 28-30.