They call it “The Greatest Sermon Ever Preached,” though I don’t really like to rate sermons because that involves both subjective and objective elements. What is not effective for one person might be the most life-changing sermon ever for someone else, right?
Still, it is hard to argue against Matthew 5-7 as the greatest sermon of all time. I mean, what is preaching but to exposit and herald God’s Word? And, what do we have in these chapters but Jesus, the incarnate Word of God, heralding the Word of God!
And, if this was the only fragment of Scripture you could get your hands on, it would be sufficient for salvation and a life of maturing faith. That can’t be said about many other sermons.
Our Story This Fall
Returning leaders and members who know that we do an all-church sermon and small group series every fall have begun to wonder, “What IS our fall series going to be this year!?”
You might know that we were planning to create an in-house series again this year, that would use God’s Word to define who we are as Christians and as LC3, in conjunction with the move into our new facility. But, with the move now delayed to November, that fall series plan was suspended.
This sent us back to the drawing board, which ultimately resulted in a decision which has proven relevant and timely. Before we move into our new facility and explore the facets of who we are in Jesus, we will dwell for a season in Jesus’ words and become truly more like Him!
We were happy to discover “Distinct,” a solid and simple small group curriculum that will perfectly accompany our sermon series, breaking down Matthew 5 into the same six sections that our sermons will cover. It is solid in that it is centered on the Word, produced by trusted LifeWay Publishers, and taught by Michael Kelley, who, as the Director of Groups at LifeWay, knows how to craft a useful guide for groups.
It is simple in that the chapters and videos are insightful yet short, leaving plenty of time for guided group discussion about the Bible texts. The book’s extra features, like ice breaker questions, thought provoking exercises, and attainable applications, are all excellent.
As always, our group leaders will be well equipped in our training sessions to maximize the benefit for their groups from the weekend sermons, the accompanying curriculum, and the time we have together this fall.
Here are the key dates to mark on your calendars!
- 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?
- August 17/18 – Small Group Coaches Prayer & Planning Overnight Retreat. Will you make a note to pray for this leadership team over these two days?
- After August 18 – I and the coaches begin touching base with all returning and potential small group leaders. Major promotion and communication begin.
- August 25/26 – Small Group Signups begin!
- Wednesday, September 5 – Small Group Leader Training, WITH DINNER, 6:00pm – 8:00pm. (RSVP’s needed – for dinner and childcare. Returning leaders watch for e-vite. Everyone else, feel free to email me at email@example.com.)
- *Week of September 9 – Official Small Group Kick Off Week, leaving two “get to know each other” weeks before the “Distinct” series begins.
- Sunday, September 16 – Small Group Leader Training Makeup Session, during second service, 11:00am – 12:15pm. (As always, we offer the training session on two dates, to hopefully get 100% attendance.)
- Six Weeks, September 23 – October 28 – All-Church Sermon and Small Group Fall Series, “Distinct”
- Week of December 9 – Official end of fall semester. The series finishes six weeks before the fall semester ends, allowing leaders the option to continue studying further in Matthew (resources available), and/or to do other group activities such as outreach/service projects, worship/communion nights, fun nights, planning for next semester, Thanksgiving dinner, and, of course, a finale Christmas Party!
*Notice that our leader training is a bit later than usual. This is because our fall series starts a little later than usual, and because we are going to avoid Labor Day weekend, AND this will allow the maximum number of hopeful small group leaders to participate.
Books and DVDs
Small group leaders can pick up their book and DVD (and their group’s books if they choose) at the SG Leader Training. Small group members can get their books 1) from their leaders, 2) at the small groups table on weekends, or 3) in the church office, starting in September.
Children’s and youth small groups will also do this series, adding to the family experience!
How to Join a Group
Beginning on August 25/26, we will launch several methods to join a group: signup display in the foyer, an opportunity to meet leaders, the “small group catalogs” passed out in the worship services, and the online “Group Finder” on lc3.com/ministries/small-groups.
I am looking forward to deepening our walks with Jesus and each other, and praying for this fall right now!
P.S. If you are not presently a leader or in leader training, but would like to explore your gifts and possible calling in that area, please feel free to attend the leader trainings, or let me know about your interest by emailing me, firstname.lastname@example.org.