Top 10 Posts of 2012

Here are the top 10 most viewed posts of 2012. It has been a remarkable year. Enjoy the look back!

10. “The Christian Life is a Team Sport,” A Letter from Pastor Jim

9.  4 Stages of the Bible’s Discipleship Process

8.  Best Small Group Ice-Breaker Ever?

7.  7 Days of Prayer before Kick-Off

6.  Discipling Men in Small Groups, Part 2 – Getting Them and Keeping Them

5.  Early Testimonies from the HEROES Series

4.  Faith In Action Weekend, 2012: RECAP and VIDEOS

3.  How Important is Leadership? Part 2 – Leading Jesus Mission: KONY2012 – A Test Case for Leading Mission

kony2012

2.  HEROES – at LCCC, Fall, 2012

Heroes

And, the most viewed post this year, with over FOUR times as many views as number two…

1.  Communion in Small Groups – More than a Good Idea

communion_t

With 615 views this year, this post has reached a bigger audience than our church alone. I praise God for what it may contribute to the worshipful experience of small groups around the world. Making communion common has been a tremendous growth area in the worship and relationships of Lake City Small Groups. Praise God.

And, praise God for a memorable 2012 and all He has waiting for us to experience together in…

2013

Blessings on our homes!

Pastor Reg

P.S. Here is what’s in store for the upcoming Semester, kicking off on January 20! 

Winter/Spring Semester, 2013

Here are a few important dates to put on your calendar right now:

1.  The 2nd annual Lake City Family Summit happens Saturday, January 12, 9:00AM-1:00PM. NFL quaterback Jon Kitna and his wife Jen will be our primary speakers, along with several breakout sessions.  As usual, the small group leaders training will be contained in one of those 50 minute workshops. How small groups fit into the BIG picture of the church as God’s Family is an exciting major theme for this year’s summit. Don’t miss it!

2.  If you miss the Summit, a small group leader training make-up session happens Sunday, January 20, during 2nd service (10:50AM-12:10PM), in the Gym.

3.  The Official Kickoff Week of Winter/Spring Semester is the week of January 20. Of course, groups have autonomy to start earlier or later, based on their semester plan.

4.  Pastor Jim resumes the Luke Sermon Series on Feb. 2/3, a good option for any group who would like to study Luke’s gospel along with the weekend sermons. We will have resources.

Early Testimonies from the HEROES Series, Fall 2012

It is always great to hear testimonies about what God is doing, and we already have several great stories to celebrate from our HEROES Series this fall.

1.     From one leader shortly after the Ministry Summit’s training on using Jesus’ Serpent/Dove Method to bring Jesus into people’s hearts by asking questions instead of “fixing” with our own advice:

Hi Reg,

I used the Serpent/Dove method with my daughter this morning. It was incredible!  Because my opinions, thoughts & feelings weren’t the focus I was able to  really listen & ask key questions based on what she was telling me. I even used Jake’s phrase…..”so, lets get away from talking about the individual & their problems & get back to  whats going on inside of you.”   Instead of me advising & fixing & telling her what she should or shouldn’t do, she answered her own questions and gained insight for herself as to why she was struggling so much over a difficult decision she needs to make concerning this same individual and that she can go to God’s Word for wisdom.

All glory goes to God when we honor others by listening and put the focus on Jesus instead of ourselves.

Blessings

2.     An email I received after Lesson One: The Faith of Abraham

Reg,

We had __ adults last night and tears were flowing within the first 5 minutes of the conversation.  All but three people opened their hearts and shared last night in powerful ways!  The Holy Spirit was absolutely moving from beginning to end.  To God be all the glory!

[One member] said the group went deeper in one night last night than their group ever went in an entire year last year.

Praise be to God!!!

3.     From one of our newer leaders:

Last night went great! God definitely provided someone to mentor.

The storytelling went well and was easier than I had expected. We dialogued a little during the story, and then rebuilt it. As we started ‘going deeper’ a couple people started talking about hearing God’s voice and as I thought it was an opportunity to explore I found out that they didn’t feel that God was speaking to them or that they were hearing God’s voice. I decided to use the rest of our time on hearing God’s word.

I know the Spirit was leading cause of a story one of the girls shared that coincided with what we decided to discuss.

4.     Another leader’s observation about the HEROES biblical storytelling method:

One thing I noticed/love about the biblical storytelling method is that no energy is spent on things like, “I didn’t like what the author said about…; I didn’t agree with this…; etc.”  It’s just Scripture going right into our hearts.

5.     Another remarkable story from the first night:

Hi Reg, tonight was our first opportunity to get into the text of our study. [My spouse] and I went in thinking “man, our group is NEVER going to open up.” It has been difficult getting to know each other at a deeper level. But as you’ve heard so many times by now, the walls came down and the tears were flowing. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house tonight, praise The Lord!! It was so amazing and we have been so blessed by the things that took place and the things that were shared tonight. Just thought I’d let you know. So thankful that the Holy Spirit works despite our own doubts and shortcomings.

6.     A note from one small group member to their leader:

Hi guys. When I was talking last night about our friends who lost their little girl 4 yrs ago and who is now going through a possible miscarriage, [our leader] asked us a question. He said “When you experience something like that how can you trust God again”. Today on Facebook that same friend wrote this: “God knows what you have gone through because he was with you all along, keep the faith- I am keeping my faith.”

Our dear friends who have experienced the most tragic event a parent can, and to be going though another heart wrenching thing are CHOOSING to stay faithful because they know that God has not left them and that He is with them even when things go so wrong. MY faith is strengthened tonight because I now know that our friends have found that faith in God.

Thank you for being in this small group with us. May we continue to grow, learn and strengthen each other over the next few months.

See you next week!!

7.     A nice note from Sally C. about the HEROES study itself:

Hi, Reg. I want to thank you for the study provided for small groups this year. It really sparks good discussion, but better yet, I like it because it is not a “deep” study, one where I felt I have to be a Bible genius, but rather am able to be relational with those in our group. I personally feel that small groups should be about relationships as much as a Bible study. About sharing and praying, rather than an exegetic study. Small group, to me, is about family, and I surely do feel part of a family at our gatherings. Good job and I hope the future will bring more studies like this.

Thank you to all who were responsible for the writing and publishing of this study.

Sally Craig

 8.     And finally, a comment from a Communication Card in last Sunday’s services:

Praise for the Heroes Study. It has sparked a renewed vitality in our small group.

Praise God, indeed!

Maybe your group has not experienced flowing tears or great redemption stories, yet. That’s okay. Group life, like all life, goes through seasons. Some are dry, but guess what, God moves us through the desert. Some are average, but guess what, God grows us through disciplined persistence and perseverance. Some are painful, but as we know, God often uses those times most effectively of all.  And some are full harvest, which is where some of our groups are right now. As we share these great testimonies, we should all celebrate this time of God’s blessing and keep our eyes fixed on Him, through every season.

If you are not in a small group right now, it is always a good time to join one. See a list of the groups and how to join, right here.

Blessings on our homes,

Pastor Reg

How Can I fit “Intentional Relational Discipleship” into My Schedule?

The days are subsiding, at LCCC, of running programs and events, just hoping that some relationship and discipleship will somehow happen. Committed to Jesus’ mission to make disciples, we realize the need for much more intentional relational discipleship. Mediate on those three words for a moment. It doesn’t take a lot of explaining to figure out what they mean. We just realize that this is Jesus’ given method, and we are committed to intentionally building discipleship relationships into the fabric of everything this church family is and does.

It’s the personal matter of time that I want to address today.

How do we make the time for relational discipleship?

1.  The first answer: It’s not as hard as it seems. If we catch Jesus’ vision that being in relational discipleship is the most important thing we do, then we’ll be motivated to figure it out. And if we catch Jesus’ method of doing it during many of the things we are already doing, we’ll realize we can intentionally disciple with very few changes to our schedule. Running errands? Watching the game? Going to visit someone? Doing ministry? Hanging out with your children? Do it like Jesus did. Be intentional about inviting someone to come with you (Mark 3:14); be mindful how you spend the time (Deut. 6:7; Titus 2) and what your goal is (Eph. 4:13, Matt. 4:19; 2 Tim. 2:2).  [It would be good to read all these linked Scriptures.]

Jesus showed us how to do it with a small group of 12 and a closer group of three (Peter, James and John). Surely we can do it with one, two, or maybe a few!

It’s great to hear people like our group leader/coach Tony Oury, who’s already been doing this as often as he can. Great things are happening out there in the common moments of our lives!

2.  The second answer: To intentionally disciple well will take some extra, purposefully planned meeting time. Disciplers must intentionally meet with disciplees. Pastors/Elders must intentionally meet with Coaches/Deacons/Ministry Leaders, etc. Coaches must intentionally meet with their Small Group Leaders. Small Group Leaders must intentionally meet with their Apprentices. Parents must intentionally meet with their children.

But how often? And, what does that meeting time look like? Here’s the best meeting guide I have found. If you find this method useful, please share it with everyone you know who’s in the discipleship game!

  1. Select your person, or group of no more than about six, to meet with regularly.
  2. Commit to meet for a two-hour, every two week meeting, extending for a determined time (like 3, 6, 9 or 12 months). 
  3. Follow this excellent two-hour meeting schedule (adapted from Marshall and Payne’s The Trellis and the Vine):

A Relational Discipleship / Coaching Meeting Schedule:

    • Bible Study – 30 minutes: God’s Word is the most important element for spiritual growth (Heb. 4:11-12; 2 Tim. 3:16-17). You could use this time to train people how to lead Bible discussions, by modeling it yourself, and then giving everyone a chance.
    • Prayer for You- 10 minutes: Without praying, we are doing this in our own power and for our own agendas. Not good. Pray in response to Scripture, and for different aspects of life and ministry.
    • People Work – 20 minutes: Talk about the needs and situations of the people’s lives to whom we are ministering; and how we can best help them grow. Confidentiality principles need to be agreed on and respected. 
    • Prayer for Your People – 15 minutes: Pray again, this time for particular people by name.
    • Review Ministry Activity – 15 minutes: Talk about different meetings and ministry related things that you’ve been doing or involved with. Did they work? Why/who not? What could be improved, and how? This not only leads to improvements, but also trains how to think about ministry. 
    • Training Input – 30 minutes: Specific training in conviction (a belief topic like baptism, eternal security, etc.); character (like how we are most tempted and prone to give Satan a stronghold in our lives); and competence (like how to lead a small group, or a family, or workplace relationships better).

This is what I’m going to use this year with my group of Small Group Coaches (some of which pictured here). I can’t wait for these bi-weekly times together, and I believe the ripple effects of this intentionality will carry out deeply into the entire Body of LCCC. Are you in the game?

We had a GREAT first HEROES training last Sunday. You’ll see these guys up front again in this weekend’s worship services, and then even more at the MINISTRY SUMMIT. 🙂

Until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ,

Pastor Reg