Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount – A Perfect Choice for Fall 2018

sermon on the mount 1

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

Construction Delay

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!

Curriculum Choice

distinct

“We were made to be different and live in such a way that it’s clear we aren’t bandwagon crowd-followers; we’re followers of Jesus. That fact makes us stand apart—distinct from the crowd.” – Michael Kelley

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.

Important Dates

Here are the key dates to mark on your calendars!

  1. 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?
  2. 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?
  3. After August 18 – I and the coaches begin touching base with all returning and potential small group leaders. Major promotion and communication begin.
  4. August 25/26 – Small Group Signups begin!
  5. 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 reg.overstreet@lc3.com.)
  6. *Week of September 9 – Official Small Group Kick Off Week, leaving two “get to know each other” weeks before the “Distinct” series begins.
  7. 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.)
  8. Six Weeks, September 23 – October 28 – All-Church Sermon and Small Group Fall Series, “Distinct”
  9. 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

distinct

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!

Pastor Reg

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, reg.overstreet@lc3.com.

Planning Your Next Semester: Winter/Spring 2018

plan

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!

communion_t

  • 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 well.group-worship
  • 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!  

FINAL THOUGHTS:

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

What Does It Take to Lead a Small Group in 2016-2017?

This “Small Group Leader Job Description” post has been updated for 2016.

Are you considering using your God-given gifts to lead in the LCCC Family?

Great!

But, that raises some questions, like: “What does it take to be a Lake City Small Group Leader?” and:“What does leading a small group involve?”

First, read our mission and vision statements for Lake City Small Groups. These statements are the lens through which we try to see everything:

Small Group Mission Banner 8 logo1

Now, here (in green) is the official position description for the significant role of leading a small group, including qualifications and “job description”:

Lake City Small Group Leader Description

 Small Group Leader’s Qualifications:

  1. Be a member of the church, or be in membership process.
  2. Attend the leader trainings, in fall and January.
    • Small Group Leader Fall Series Material Meeting is Sunday, August 24, 10:50AM (during 2nd service) in the Gym. It is primarily for small group leaders, but open to everyone.
    • The LC3 Ministry Summit is Saturday, Sept. 13, 9am-1pm. It is for ALL ministry leaders of LCCC, including small group leaders.
    • January training date TBD. 
  3. Be approved and blessed by small groups pastor and an elder.

Small Group Leader’s Job Description:

(Trying to do less than this will fail almost every time.  Co-leaders or “Inner Circles” will share this load with you.)

Time Commitment:  Prayer and preparation before the group; the group meeting time; relationship-building and discipleship time outside the group.

Length of Commitment: Semester and/or entire 9 month ministry year. 

Primary Roles:

  1. Model someone growing spiritually.
  2. Lead the group meetings and ministry, and delegate responsibilities to group members as they are gifted.
  3. Build relationships by regularly contact group members between meetings (through phone calls, emails, cards, coffee, invite for dinner, notes on Facebook, etc.)  Follow up with absent members to let them know they were missed (Think “shepherd” – Luke 15:1-7).
  4. Assess where each of your members is spiritually and what they need to grow.
  5. Meet with your coach monthly.
  6. Disciple and raise up new generations of leaders, as you are able.
  7. Complete the simple, occasional evaluation reports requested by small groups pastor and elders.

 

Tools Provided for LeadersToolkit

1.  As the small groups pastor, I or a coach sits down with everyone who expresses interest in leading or co-leading our small groups. We will come prepared with some resources like our Lake City Small Groups TOOLKIT, the semester calendar, answers to frequently asked questions, and an enthusiasm to answer your additional questions.

2.  Because of the importance of this role, all leaders are designated a pastor (that’s me) and a coach who will walk with you through your growth as a leader and as a follower of Jesus.

3.  Gatherings for extra training (if requested), prayer, and fun throughout the year!

4.  Electronic sources like weekly emails, social media, and this blog are great tools for enhancing many aspects of small group leadership.

(Stay in touch with everyone throughout the year by “liking” the Lake City Small Groups page on Facebook!)

How to Become a Leader

As you can see, these are attainable qualifications and expectations. We are happy with our bar for leadership – not too high and not too low.
       “The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task.” (1 Timothy 3:1 ESV)
Are you ready to step up to this noble task of leading a group, or “under-shepherding” some of flock in Jesus’  church? Then here’s what you need to do, right now…

Join our great team of leaders this year, by:Happiness cover

  1. Letting me know of your interest, at reg.overstreet@lc3.com or 253-582-8040, or by marking your interest on a Communication Card in the weekend services
  2. Attending the August 28 Leader Training and “Happiness” Materials Meeting
  3. (Or) Attending the Sept. 10 LC3 Ministry Summit
Blessings on our stewardship of leading God’s people,
Pastor Reg
Lake City Small Groups: Making disciples who make disciples in relational environments.
MOST of our leaders at the End-of-Year Celebration, June, 2014

Some of our leaders at the End-of-Year Celebration, June, 2014

“You’ll Get Through This” – LCCC’s Fall Series, 2015

You'll get through this

“…But God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done.” – Genesis 50:20

It is a joy to announce the details of Lake City Community Church’s 2015 fall series. This year promises to be one of joy, healing, comfort and great growth for our community as we focus on God’s assurance in all tough times.

They say everyone is in one of three places: You are experiencing life’s bumps, detours, and collisions right now. You love someone who is. Or, you will be soon! The enemy says, “You will never make it.” But, God’s radically different message is this:

You’ll get through this. It won’t be painless. It won’t be quick. But I will use this mess for good. In the meantime, don’t be foolish or naïve. But don’t despair either. With My help, you’ll get through this.

You’ll Get Through This is an in-depth, life-giving journey through God’s assurance in Genesis 37-50 that you are not alone in turbulent times; nor are these trials meaningless or hopeless.

The series begins on September 26/27, with small groups beginning as early as September 13. Small group signups begin August 29/30. 

More details below…especially for our small group and ministry leaders.

Calendar

  • Month of August
    • New Small Group Leader discovery and training month. Is God possibly calling you to lead a group?
    • Community invitation month: community mailers; local events; invitation cards for us to give out.
  • Sunday, August 23 You’ll Get Through This Leaders Materials Meeting – In the Lower Gym, during 2nd service, 10:50AM-12:20PM
  • August 29/30 – Small Group signups begin! (small group catalog, church website, or foyer signup table)
  • ministry summit 2015Saturday, September 12 – LCCC Ministry Summit – An exciting day of equipping for leadership in several areas of church, communities and homes.  (9:00AM-1:00PM)
  • Week of September  13 – Small Groups Kick Off – First two weeks are getting to know each other, setting goals, small group agreement
  • September  26/27 – You’ll Get Through This series begins.  #1 – “You’ll Get Through This”
  • October 3/4 – #2 – “Down & Out, but Never Alone”
  • October 10/11 – #3 – “Stupid Won’t Fix Stupid”
  • October 17/18 – #4 – “Is God Good When Life Isn’t?”
  • October 24/25 – #5 – “Now, About those Family Scandals & Scoundrels”
  • Oct. 31/Nov. 1 – #6 – “God Can Use This for Good”
  • November – December 13 – Since the series finishes a few weeks before the fall semester ends, leaders proactively schedule their semester-end activities like worship/communion nights, outreach and service projects, fun nights, planning for next semester, Thanksgiving Dinner, and a finale Christmas Party to end the semester on a joyful note!

Books and DVDs

You'll Get Through This

From “You’ll Get Through This”, DVD

You’ll Get Through This is an original book written by Max Lucado, based on the Joseph narratives in Genesis 37-50. Lucado went on to create a six-session DVD and hired a husband and wife team to create the study guide. Here is my initial evaluation I sent to Pastor Jim:

I previewed this Max Lucado study this weekend. In short, the study guide is great – truly great. The husband/wife team that put it together put together one of the best products I have ever seen for shepherding/discipling a group both during and outside the meetings. The video sessions are about 23 minutes each, and the groups can choose to play all of it or just excerpts each week. Even though I am not experiencing any major crisis at this moment, as I read through the book I found myself desiring to answer the questions and hear and work through others’ answers with them.

It is true. I really cannot wait to go through this series with my fellow small group members; to journey life’s best and hardest moments together; and to enjoy these meaningful relationships.

Small group leaders can buy their group’s books and DVD beginning at the You’ll Get Through This Materials Meeting on Sunday, August 23. Small group members can get their books as they join a group after signups begin on August 29/30. See calendar above for all important dates.

We are a church of small groups. So, don’t hesitate to join, lead, or coach a Lake City small group or ReEngage group this fall!

Finding rest, in God alone, 

Pastor Reg 

 

GO FISH – LCCC’s Fall Series, 2014

And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” – Matthew 4:19

Go Fish 2 - with text We are excited to announce that our fall series for 2014 will be based on the series, GO FISH, by Andy Stanley. It has great potential, and a backstory that includes the entire LCCC Family.

The Backstory

LCCC has been growing steadily for several years, adding members, small groups, discipling relationships, ministries, and a third worship service which is also now filling up. This growth continually prompts our leadership to pray and make decisions for the future. Our leadership and congregation have agreed, now, to both expand our present facilities and look towards church planting in the next several years. With these major decisions behind us, by God’s calling and through the leadership of Pastor Jim and other church leaders, LCCC’s focus returns this fall to Jesus’ Great Commission for His church to go and make new disciples in the world where He has planted us. Our church is surrounded by people in our community, and we in our personal lives, who do not yet know Jesus’ love and righteousness. That needs to change. They need to be told. The mission of the church is to reach them; to be “fishers of people.” We are setting out to do that; to GO FISH, this fall at LCCC!

Here are the details:

The Plan

As always, fall is LCCC’s season of unity and momentum, when every small group, ministry, and every sermon shares a united focus.

We will follow the same basic plan as in our previous fall series (such as Forgotten God, Heroes, and Why Am I Here?). Small groups, Family, Children, and Youth Ministries will design their fall ministries to coincide with the emphasis. It is always a great time of unity and momentum.

The Resource

Our team of researchers, Chuck Mathews, Pastor Jim, and my wife and I, reviewed eight highly acclaimed church resources for evangelism, seeking the best fit for our church this season. From these excellent possibilities, we chose Andy Stanley’s GO FISH. It comes with a six-session DVD and participant’s guide.

Here is the assessment I wrote to the team regarding this resource:

We (Sarah and I) really enjoyed reviewing GO FISH. In fact, Andy Stanley’s message in the first video penetrated me personally, and I have thought about it often over the last couple days. He is a great communicator, and his team did a great job abbreviating his messages for small group use. We read every word of the workbook, and even filled out several of the discussion pages together. It was a rich experience. Again, it is perfectly laid out for our small groups’ use – in simplicity, form, function, number of weeks, coherence with our philosophy, and impact.  As we noticed before, the only apparent weakness is lack of in-depth Bible study. But, his teaching is biblically authoritative. And, of course, our sermons will provide biblical depth. I believe the resource’s simplicity will actually prove a strength by making the study usable by everyone, and allowing us to add our own relevant supplements to the groups through the sermon applications and through additional small group leader resources, especially including the “Love the World” section in the updated Small Group TOOLKIT. The theme verse given each week could easily be made into memory verses for the week – a strong idea.

The Schedule

So, pull out your calendar. Here is the complete fall schedule, including leader training, small group signups, kickoff and events:

  • August – New leader recruitment month. Is God possibly calling you to lead? Read all about that, here.
  • Aug. 23/24 – Small Group signups begin, via foyer table, small group catalog, and church website
  • Sunday, Aug. 24 GO FISH Small Group Leaders Materials Meeting – Gym, 2nd service (10:50-12:10PM)
  • Week of Sept. 7 – Small Groups Kick Off – start meeting weekly; getting to know each otherMinistry Summit 2014
  • Saturday, Sept. 13LC3 Ministry Summit – An exciting day of equipping, for everyone wanting to do better ministry for Jesus in our church, communities and homes.  (9:00AM-1:00PM)
  • Sept. 20/21 Go Fish Series begins.  Go Fish #1 – We Were All Fish Once
  • Sept. 27/28 – Go Fish #2 – Why Fish?
  • Oct. 4/5 Go Fish #3 – Fish Guts
  • Oct. 11/12 – Go Fish #4 – Fishing Buddies
  • Oct. 18/19 – Go Fish #5 – Muddy Water 
  • Oct. 25/26Go Fish #6 – The One That Got Away
  • Nov. 8/9 – Veterans Day – Big Outreach Weekend, with Scotty Smiley
  • November – December 14 – Since the series finishes a few weeks before the fall semester ends, leaders will schedule their own important small group activities like worship/communion nights, outreach and service projects, fun nights, planning for next semester, a Thanksgiving Dinner, and a finale Christmas Party to end the semester on a joyful note!

The Rest of the Story

Everyone should be in a Lake City Small Group this fall. Leaders will be well equipped and encouraged in the two training events listed above, and by their coaches throughout the year. The GO FISH books and DVD’s will go on sale in the second half of August. Couples can share a book, but it’s usually preferred for each person to have his or her own. One DVD is needed per group. The cost of the DVD’s will be factored into the price of the book.

It will be easy to join a group in any of three different ways: our Small Group Catalogs will be passed down the aisles in the weeks leading up to kickoff. Groups and registration instructions will also be listed on the website, and displayed at the foyer table during the weekends.

Take a moment to pray for Lake City’s unity and effectiveness in reaching the lost world around us with the Good News of Jesus. Spread the word and excitement to everyone you know.

In Him, by Him, and for Him,

Pastor Reg

What Does It Take To Lead a Small Group in 2014-2015?

I posted this “small group leader position description” last year, but have updated for 2014!

Are you considering using your God-given gifts to lead in the LCCC Family? If so, praise God! Now that raises the questions…”What does it take to be a Lake City Small Groups Leader?” And…“What does small group leadership include?”

Here (in green) is the official position description for this significant role:

Lake City Small Group Leader Description

 Small Group Leader’s Qualifications:

  1. Be a member of the church, or be in membership process.
  2. Attend the leader trainings, in fall and January.
    • Small Group Leader Fall Series Material Meeting is Sunday, August 24, 10:50AM (during 2nd service) in the Gym. It is primarily for small group leaders, but open to everyone.
    • The LC3 Ministry Summit is Saturday, Sept. 13, 9am-1pm. It is for ALL ministry leaders of LCCC, including small group leaders.
    • January training date TBD. 
  3. Be approved and blessed by small groups pastor and an elder.

Small Group Leader’s Position Description:

(Trying to do less than this will fail almost every time.  Co-leaders or “Inner Circles” will share this load with you.)

Time Commitment:  Prayer and preparation before the group; the group meeting time; relationship-building and discipleship time outside the group.

Length of Commitment: Semester and/or entire 9 month ministry year. 

Primary Roles:

  1. Model someone desiring to become like Jesus.
  2. Delegate leading and caring responsibilities to group members so they can use their gifts for the benefit of the group.
  3. Regularly contact group members between meetings (through phone calls, emails, cards, coffee, invite for dinner, notes on Facebook, etc.)  Follow up with absent members to let them know they were missed (Think “shepherd” – Luke 15:1-7).
  4. Disciple and raise up new generations of leaders, as you are able.
  5. Complete the simple, occasional evaluation reports requested by small groups pastor and elders.

 

Tools Provided for LeadersToolkit

1.  As the small groups pastor, I sit down personally with everyone who expresses interest in leading or co-leading our small groups. I always come prepared with our Lake City Small Groups TOOLKIT (a collection of our best training materials over the past seven years), and an enthusiasm to answer the frequently asked questions and your intriguing questions that are new to me.

2.  Because of the importance of this role, all leaders are designated a pastor (that’s me), an elder who prays for and is available to them, and a coach for assistance, encouragement and accountability of their own growth as a follower of Jesus.

3.  The blog you’re reading now is also an increasingly more comprehensive quick-reference for many areas of small group leadership.

4.  And, stay in touch with everyone throughout the year by “liking” the Lake City Small Groups page on Facebook!

How to Become a Leader

As you can see, these are attainable qualifications and expectations. We are happy with our bar for leadership – not too high and not too low.
       “The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task.” (1 Timothy 3:1 ESV)
Are you ready to step up to this noble task of under-shepherding some of Jesus’ flock? Then here’s what you need to do, right now…

Join our great team of leaders this year, by:

  1. Contacting me at reg.overstreet@lc3.com or 253-582-8040, or marking your interest on a Communication Card in the weekend services
  2. Attending the August 24 “Go Fish” Materials Meeting
  3. Attending the Sept. 14 LC3 Ministry Summit
Blessings on our stewardship of leading God’s people,
Pastor Reg
MOST of our leaders at the End-of-Year Celebration, June, 2014

MOST of our leaders at the End-of-Year Celebration, June, 2014

My 10 Weeks as Interim Senior Pastor

My 10 Weeks as Interim Senior Pastor

Spring Children’s Pageant, March 23, 2014

“Has it been 10 weeks already?” “He is on the road back to Lakewood right now?” I asked these questions just a couple weeks ago, as Pastor Jim and his family returned to LC3. He was probably asking the same questions, of course.

We are glad to have Pastor Jim, Jaci, Bethlehem and Tarike back from enjoying a well-earned sabbatical after Jim’s 14th year of ministry at LC3. It was a joy for me to serve as LC3’s Interim Senior Pastor for the 10 weeks they were away.

Now on this side of that 10 week commission, I want to share an inside look from the eyes of a “senior pastor.”

First, a little background. Since 2001, when I moved to Washington State to enter seminary, I have completed numerous pastoral classes; read many pastors books; had several pastoral mentors speak into my life. I have worked closely with Pastor Jim for over a decade. I was even a pastor’s kid my entire childhood!

But, as happens with most things, experience taught me much that cannot be discovered in books and classes. Experiencing is different than knowing.

Here are a few major lessons learned from the teacher of experience.

A senior pastor must constantly work to stay in front of communication

He must proactively schedule astute and thorough communication on every front; contemplating incessantly if there is ANY more communication needed or that would be beneficial.

This includes every type of communication: Vision casting communication, relationship building communication, expectations and planning communication, motivating communication, conflict resolution and reduction communication; any other type of communication he can think of. Constantly. Tirelessly. Regularly asking God to graciously give him the right messages to tell the right people, at the right time. Because if something is missed, someone is let down or uninformed; opportunities are lost; irritation replaces unity.

“Senior pastor” is a unique position of service

The role of senior pastor differs notably from those of associate pastor or ministry leader. As an associate pastor, which I have been for almost nine years, I spend a great deal of time in the trenches of building relationships and equipping leaders, teams, and groups for ministry and mission. As an associate pastor I have more intimate awareness of details, needs, and opportunities, and more time to address them.

The role of senior pastor, however, (at any church larger than 150) requires a broader form of leading, teaching, “visioneering,” and administrating. Though the senior pastor must spend at least some time in relationship building, equipping, counseling, visiting, etc. in order to remain an effective and informed overseer, the majority of his time and energy must be spent on matters of larger perspective. A helpful analogy of this role is moving from the shepherd of a flock to a rancher who directs many shepherds and a much larger flock.

Again, I knew this, but, after these 10 weeks, I have experienced it. Experiencing is different than knowing.

It is different. As an associate pastor, I shepherd more, relationally. In fact, as a small groups/community/discipleship pastor, I have given my life to the relational aspects of the Christian life.

Senior pastors know the necessity of relationships among the Body, but contribute to them by setting vision, modelling relationships with their leadership teams, and then equipping and unleashing these leaders to carry out that work through the church.

I have known this, but experiencing is different than knowing.

Senior pastors carry bigger loads

Senior pastors carry bigger loads of responsibility, pressure, demands, attention, exposure, and of attack from the enemy. Accordingly, the role requires bigger loads of prayer, bigger shoulders, more discipline, more accountability, more humility; more teamwork.

I have known this, too, but experiencing is different than knowing.

It meant a lot when Pastor Jim told me he believed without a doubt that I was ready for this experience. And, by God’s gracious work in my life, I felt ready. But, the load is big, which is clearly why Pastor Jim continually asks the LC3 Family for our prayers, which are for his benefit and ours. This is why Paul instructs the church on behalf of its leaders: “Brothers, pray for us” (1 Thes. 5:25).

Back to Normal…For a Few More Days

Jim’s return means getting my life’s normal craziness back. It is enjoyable to recognize how these experiences are already translating back to my involvement with small groups and adult ministries. Good communication, humble servant-leadership, healthy relationships with my teams, dependence on God; capacity for bigger loads – I am grateful to have grown in these areas…by experience.

And, now? Now it is time for my family’s sabbatical. We leave this Thursday, and will be back at the end of May. I will likely write something about that experience as well, except with many more (and cuter) pictures. Please pray for us as Sarah and I attend a Church Planting conference, as I work on my Doctor of Ministry Dissertation, and as we spend some quality time with our family and longtime friends. I look forward to returning to His service with you all, refreshed and energized.

For His glory and our joy,

Pastor Reg

What Does It Take To Lead a Small Group (in 2013-2014)?

I posted this “small group leader job description” last year, but have updated for 2013!

Are you considering using your God-given gifts to lead in the LCCC Family? If so, praise God!  Now that raises the questions…What does it take to be a Lake City Small Groups Leader? What does small group leadership include?

Here is the official position description for this significant role:

Lake City Small Group Leader Description

Small Group Leader’s Qualifications:

  1. Be a member of the church, or be in membership process.
  2. Attend the leader trainings, in fall and January.
    • Small Group Leader Fall Series Material Meeting is Sunday, Sept. 1, 10:50AM (during 2nd service) in the Gym. It is primarily for small group leaders, but open to everyone.
    • Ministry Summit is Saturday, Sept. 15, 9am-1pm. It is for ALL leaders of LCCC, including small group leaders.
  3. Be approved and blessed by small groups pastor and an elder.

Small Group Leader’s Job Description:

(Trying to do less than this will fail almost every time.  Co-leaders or “Inner Circles” will share this load.)

Time Commitment:  Prayer and preparation before the group; the group meeting time; relationship-building and discipleship time outside the group.

Length of Commitment: Semester and/or entire 9 month ministry year. 

Primary Roles:

  1. Be a model of someone who desires to become like Jesus.
  2. Delegate leading and caring responsibilities to group members so they can use their gifts for the benefit of the group.
  3. Regularly contact group members between meetings (through phone calls, emails, cards, coffee, invite for dinner, notes on Facebook, etc.)  Follow up with absent members to let them know they were missed.
  4. Disciple and raise up new generations of leaders, as you are able.
  5. Complete the simple evaluation reports requested by small groups pastor from time to time.

Tools Provided for Leaders

1.  As the small groups pastor, I sit down personally with everyone who expresses interest in leading or co-leading our small groups. I always come prepared with our Lake City Small Groups Toolkit (a collection of our best training materials over the past sevenyears), and an enthusiasm to answer the frequently asked questions and the intriguing questions that are new to me.

2.  Because of the importance of this role, all leaders are designated a pastor (that’s me), an elder who prays for and is available to them, and a coach (if desired), for assistance, encouragement and accountability of their own growth as a follower of Jesus.

3.  This blog is also an ever-increasingly more comprehensive quick-reference for many areas of small group leadership.

4.  And, stay in touch with everyone throughout the year by “liking” the Lake City Small Groups page on Facebook!

How to Become a Leader

As you can see, these are attainable qualifications and expectations. We are happy with our bar for leadership – not too high and not too low.
You can sign up to become one of our great team of leaders this year, by:
  1. Contacting me at reg.overstreet@lc3.com or 253-582-8040
  2. Marking your interest on a Communication Card in the weekend services
  3. Attending the Sept. 1 “Why Am I Here?” Materials Meeting
  4. Attending the Sept. 14 Lake City Ministry Summit
Blessings on our stewardship of leading God’s people,
Pastor Reg

A Fresh Look at the “Great Commandment’s” Contribution to Discipleship

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:36-40)

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.” (John 15:12-17)

This is the well known “Great Commandment” of Jesus, and a companion “love” text from Jesus’ Farewell Discourse in John. These “love” texts are foundational in almost every church’s mission and/or vision statement, along with Jesus’ “Great Commission” in Matthew 28:18-20 to “make disciples of all nations.” From the Great Commandment we build a theology of love. It is typically from the Great Commission that we inspire the resulting action — discipleship.

Vital Signs

A Fresh Look at the “Great Commandment’s” Contribution to Discipleship

But, not often talked about is the Great Commandment’s (to love, like Jesus) contribution to discipleship.

Our small group leaders are working through the excellent book Small Group Vital Signs, by Michael Mack, together over the next year.

In our opening monthly session this March, “A Healthy Group is a Discipleship Environment,” our leaders discussed two wonderfully insightful pages of Mack’s book regarding Jesus’ counter-cultural nature as a Teacher/Rabbi/Disciplemaker. However, not in relation to the Great Commission, as one might expect; but in relation to the Great Commandment’s “love” emphasis.

I would like to share these two pages here, for your edification.

In our session, the small group leaders discussed each bullet point below in relation to our ministry of leading a small group. It led to excellent personal discoveries of ministering out of love, just like Jesus did. You can do the same based on your ministry, whether it be parenting, mentoring, teaching, leading, serving – whatever it is, as you seek to follow the methods of our Lord, Jesus.

From Michael Mack’s Small Group Vital Signs, p. 139-140: 

A Disciple’s Definition of Discipleship

If you could ask Jesus’ original disciples to describe discipleship, they would talk about a rabbi. In their context, a disciple was someone who was totally committed to a particular rabbi. Usually, disciples literally lived with their rabbi and followed him everywhere he went. Communal living was absolutely necessary for living as a true disciple. Teaching happened more by example than by words as you lived with the person each day. The purpose was to become “like the teacher” (Luke 6:40).

Rabbis taught in yeshivas, groups of disciples who would have passionate discussions over some aspect of life and what the Hebrew Scriptures said about it. They would wrestle with the texts together in order to understand God’s view on how they should conduct their lives. Most Jewish boys had memorized large amounts of Scripture by the time they were thirteen in preparation for their Bar Mitzvahs, so they did not need to study what God’s Word said as much as how to apply it to life.

Rabbis used no written curriculum or agenda for their multi-year discipling experience. Their curriculum was life itself. The rabbi observed the daily life of his disciples and then asked probing questions to initiate discussion about observed behaviors. A disciple could also initiate conversations by raising an issue regarding his observation of the rabbi’s life or some life issue or question.

Jesus adopted the rabbinic style of discipling his followers, but he altered it quite a bit from how it was normally carried out. John 15:12-17 [read at top of page] illustrates seven ways Jesus was counter cultural as a rabbi. As you look through this list, consider how his pattern for discipling applies to your small group. 

  • Rabbis trained their disciples in the law. Jesus’ discipleship was based on grace: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you” (v. 12).
  • Rabbis required a short-term commitment. Jesus called his disciples to total surrender of their lives: “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (v. 13).
  • Rabbis required their disciples to serve them in practical ways (think, “wax on, wax off…” from The Karate Kid). Jesus treated his disciples as friends: “You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants” (vv. 14,15).
  • Rabbis did not call their disciples. A potential disciple would ask a rabbi if he could follow him. It was up to the rabbi to say yes or no. But Jesus called his disciples: “You did not choose me, but I chose you…” (v. 16).
  • Rabbis focused on head knowledge so that their disciples could eventually train others in the Jewish religion. Jesus called his disciples to actually do something: “I … appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last” (v. 16).
  • Rabbis taught their followers to be dependent on them. Jesus taught his disciples to be dependent on God:  “Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name” (v. 16).
  • Rabbis used a top-down approach to discipleship. While his methods were based on his authority, Jesus taught his disciples from a mutual-discipleship model:  “This is my command: Love each other” (v. 17).

Jesus’ rabbinic style of discipleship is not just attending a weekend church service and meeting in a once-a-week small group; it is 24-7 living. It happens in your quiet time, work time, family time, and play time…every day.

The greatest joy, and fruit, in making disciples occurs not in events or classes, but in actual discipleship relationships – walking with people, through Scripture, prayer and life, to become more like Jesus, together. May these relationships permeate our entire church family.

Vital Signs Session 2 – Coming Sunday, April 7

Session 2 – “A Healthy Group Ministers Together” – is coming up, on Sunday, April 7, during 2nd service (10:50-12:10PM), in the Gym. Everyone is welcome to come, and to bring anyone they are discipling. Plenty of snacks and materials will be available.

Blessings on our homes,

Pastor Reg

What Does It Take To Lead a Small Group (in 2012-2013)?

I posted this “small group leader job description” last year, but have updated for 2012!

If you are reading this, there is a good chance you are considering using your God-given gifts to build up the LCCC Family (Romans 12:6-8; Ephesians 4:12). To that, I say, “Praise God!” He will reward your obedience and bless many people through this adventure.

What does it take to be a Lake City Small Groups Leader? What does small group leadership include? Here are the qualifications and description for this important position:

Lake City Small Group Leader Description

Small Group Leader’s Qualifications:

  1. Be a member of the church, or be in membership process.
  2. Attend the two leader trainings, in fall and January. (This year, the Leadership Summit is Saturday, Sept. 15, 9am-1pm. It is for all leaders of LCCC, and will include workshops specifically for small group leaders.)
  3. Be approved and blessed by small groups pastor and an elder.

Small Group Leader’s Job Description:

(This is what it is going to take to lead a successful small group. Trying to do it with less effort will fail almost every time.)

Time Commitment: A few hours per week of prayer and preparation, group meeting time, and relationship-building time outside the group.

Length of Commitment: Semester and/or entire 9 month ministry year. 

Primary Roles:

  1. Be a model of someone who desires to become like Jesus.
  2. Delegate responsibilities to group members so they can use their gifts for the benefit of the group.
  3. Lead and/or delegate the group meetings.
  4. Regularly contact group members between meetings (through phone calls, emails, cards, coffee, invite for dinner, notes on Facebook, etc.)  Follow up with absent members to let them know they were missed.
  5. Disciple and raise up new helpers and future leaders.
  6. Complete the simple reports and surveys requested by small groups pastor.

Tools for Leaders

1.  As the small groups pastor, I sit down personally with everyone who expresses interest in leading, co-leading or helping out with our small groups. I always come prepared with our Lake City Small Groups Toolkit (a collection of our best training materials over the past six years), and an enthusiasm to answer the frequently asked questions and the intriguing questions that are new to me.

2.  Because of the importance of this role, all leaders are designated a pastor (that’s me), an elder who prays for and is available to them, and a leader mentor (if applicable), for assistance, encouragement and accountability of their own growth as a disciple-making disciple of Jesus.

3.  This blog is also an ever-increasingly more comprehensive quick-reference for many areas of small group leadership.

4.  And, stay in touch with everyone throughout the year by “liking” the Lake City Small Groups page on Facebook!

Become a Leader

As you can see, these are very attainable qualifications and expectations. We are happy with where we have set the bar for leadership – not too high and not too low.   You can sign up to become one of our great team of small group leaders this year, by:
  • Contacting me at reg.overstreet@lc3.com or 253-582-8040
  • Marking your interest on a Communication Card in the weekend services
  • Attending the Sept. 1 *Leaders “Heroes” Curriculum Meeting and Leadership Summit Makeup Pre-Session
  • Attending the (date TBD)  *Small Group Connection
  • Attending the Sept. 15 *Lake City Leadership Summit
*More info about each of these will be available soon, and will be linked to this blog.
~
Blessings on our stewardship of leading God’s people,
Pastor Reg