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

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

Small Groups and Global Missions

Image

by Tung Le, Small Group Coach
This past weekend, guest preacher Jeff Butler spoke about the persecuted church. It was a good reminder of the work being done throughout the world by missionaries; and a good reminder to be in prayer constantly for our missionaries. A few years ago, LC3 began the practice of asking small groups to adopt a missionary. It was one of many ways for us to connect them with members of the body.
1. If your group has already adopted a missionary, I would encourage you to find time at one of your next get-togethers to pray for that missionary: for their spiritual protection, for their physical protection, for their financial support, and for fruitfulness in their ministry.
2. Some groups send encouraging emails, cards, or care packages to their adopted missionary. Again, ending the year with such an act of service is a great way to show Christ-like love.
3. If your group has not yet adopted a missionary, prayerfully consider doing so now or planning to do so in the fall. Contact us and we can let you know what missionaries still need an adopting small group.
4. More information about the persecuted church can be found at https://www.persecution.com
Let us pray the prayer the Apostle Paul asked the church of Ephesus to pray:  “To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints . . . that words may be given [to me] in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I gam an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.” — Ephesians 6:18-20

LCCC’s 2020 Vision: Foundations for Team Success

Last weekend we kicked off our  “2020 Vision” sermon series, by giving “Foundations for Team Success” for any local church, Lake City Community Church in particular.

Everyone in attendance received a copy of the “LCCC’s Vision Foundations Playbook.” Everyone should have a copy of this, and you can download a PDF of it right here – 061613 Vision Playbook – Final with answers.

Here’s how it was described in the sermon:

Pastor Jim and his team diligently created this playbook of unifying common language, definitions, mission, vision and goals, for LCCC.

A church is a team. A team needs a common language, definitions, vision, and goals. These are the foundations for team success, and the playbook is a collection of them.

Why is common language so important for a church? This sermon illustration answers:

What if we were playing football, and we got into a huddle, and the coaches called a play, but none of the players were defining the play the same way?  What chance would we have of winning when we get to the line of scrimmage and hike the ball with different plays in our minds? It doesn’t matter how talented we are if none of us has the same play.

So, the LCCC Playbook just sets out the common language for our team’s success.

Please do download the LCCC’s Vision Foundation Playbook above, read it, and keep it handy. It may be helpful also to listen to the sermon here – or read the entire manuscript by clicking here – Sermon – 2020 Vision – Foundations for Team Success, 061613 – MANUSCRIPT.

The Next Two Weeks:2020 Vision

Over the next two weeks, Pastor Jim, our primary vision caster, with Pastor David’s help, will cover the specific details of LCCC’s vision path that guides our church for the next seven years (until the year 2020). You don’t want to miss either week!

God created us, saved us, and placed us on the LCCC Team to “play” our parts, together (Ephesians 2:8-10; 19; 4:11-13).

Let’s do it, for His glory and our greatest joy!

Pastor Reg

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.

Faith In Action Weekend, 2012: RECAP and VIDEOS

Last weekend was our third annual Faith In Action weekend, when as many from our church as can participate canvas our community in service/mission projects. This year 250 served in 22 projects.   In case you missed it, here is the slideshow:

In addition to showing this video in all of this weekend’s services, we celebrated our experiences with testimony time. The testimonies were great. They were not recorded, unfortunately, but such a blessing for everyone who heard them.

But, an annual day of service always raises one question:

Does having such an annual service day mean this is the only weekend our church is out serving people? Of course not, and thank God that LCCC cannot credibly be accused or even perceived that way.

But yet the remark is still made each year: “I wish we could do something like this all the time.” Well, the truth is, we can! Lake City is loaded with ministries and missions who are doing this every week.  Our 30-plus small groups can recreate this thrill any time they choose! We are training small group leaders to place an increasingly higher value of serving people and doing mission together, as a formative, obedient and blessed part of their Christian community.

Sermon

Another all-too-prevalent hindrance to a life of service is an all-too-busy life. I had the honor of preaching the “sermonette” in our testimony services last weekend. I focused on not merely serving, or leading, but servant-leading, as our Founder and Master Jesus Christ set the way for us to do.  To stay within my allotted time, I had to cut out this great illustration, which hits very close to home for me (and likely the other ultra-busy Christians out there). Thankfully, I have the opportunity to include it here.

Two administrators, named Darley and Batson, performed a moral psychology test at Princeton Theological Seminary, which I will call the Good Samaritan Experiment:”

Seminarians were asked to prepare and deliver a short talk on the parable of the Good Samaritan, and then to deliver their talks in another building, requiring a short walk between campus buildings. Darley and Batson used the walk as an analogy of the famous road between Jerusalem and Jericho, and to complete the scenario, positioned a student confederate along the way, who was slumped over, shabbily dressed, coughing and groaning. Darley and Batson wanted to see how each of the subjects would respond to the “victim.”

The factor that made a large difference in helping behavior was the time pressure put on the subjects. Those seminarians who were placed under great pressure tended to help less than the seminarians who were given a more leisurely pace to compose and deliver their short talks.

The seminarians under pressure seemed not to have processed the new situation (the “victim”) since they were so absorbed with fulfilling their first duty—preparing the talk and getting to the other building for their presentation on time. Indeed, several seminary students literally stepped over the victim as they hurried off to speak on the parable of the Good Samaritan!

When I think about this study, it reminds me that I too can fail to meet ethical obligations on my way to do a good deed.

“Faith In Action Man” Videos

Enjoy the videos, and take the poll!

Blessings on our church family as we serve and lead, for others’ benefits, all the time,

Pastor Reg

4 Stages of the Bible’s Discipleship Process

I was astounded how much feedback I received from “Part 2” of my recent church-vision series sermon, which described how to use the Bible’s four spiritual life stages in our discipleship with anyone, at any level, any stage, and any time.

Below is the sermon manuscript excerpt of that “Part 2.”

(Thanks to Jim Putman’s great book, Church is a Team Sport, for inspiring many great thoughts throughout the entire sermon series.)

Church is a Team Sport: A Championship Strategy for Doing Ministry Together

Excerpt from: “Opening the Team Playbook,” 6/17/12

Team Playbook, Part 2: How Do We Make Disciples? – The Discipleship Process

       How do we – all of us here – help people make Jesus Lord of their lives; get plugged into relationships with other Christians; and be committed to the mission?  Let’s look at the discipleship process we find in the Bible.

       The Bible speaks of the development of our spiritual lives in the same language as we use for the natural stages of human life. We are born. We are babies. (Raise your hand if you have babies here tonight.) We become children (All the children here tonight raise your hand); then young adults (all the young adults raise your hand); and then, finally, parents. There are others, but those are the basic life stages.

       The Bible uses these same word pictures to describe our four spiritual life stages. Each stage is a necessary part of the process. You cannot get to the fourth stage without going through the other three.

       The first thing we need to do in the discipleship process is be able to assess where we and others are in the process, and know what we and others need, and need to be doing, in order to move to the next stage. And we want everyone to understand the process because we want it to be reproducible and taking place all throughout the entire church family.

       So, now, let’s consider ourselves and the people in our lives as we look at each stage of the process.

1.  Spiritually Dead/Unborn –  Among the many places in the Bible this life stage is taught, Ephesians 2:1-5 describes it well: (Read Eph. 2:1-5)

       People in this stage have not yet accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. They may completely reject God; or they may be seeking God. They may even claim to be a Christian, when in reality have not repented and placed their trust in Jesus. What people in this stage need is for us to share the gospel and our faith in Jesus with them.

       Friends, if any of you here today haven’t trusted and obeyed Jesus, we would like to share our faith in Jesus as Savior from sin with you, and share with you the opportunity of being discipled in our church.

       And when we trust Jesus as Savior, God forgives our sins and seals our eternity in heaven, but our Christian life on earth has just begun. And, naturally, we begin as infants…

2.  Infant/Child – 1 Peter 2:2-3 identifies this stage, saying, (Read 1 Pt. 2:2-3)

       People in the infant stage have accepted Christ, but haven’t moved much past that point. They may be brand new believers or might be stagnant, long-time believers. Life is generally still all about them and their needs. There is nothing surprising with this self-concern at the infant stage.

       Soon, as these newer believers begin growing in their relationships with God and others they move into the child part of this stage. Paul addresses the Thessalonians as in the child stage when he writes: (Read 1 Thess. 2:11-12)

       What people need in this stage is to connect with a mentor and/or group that will teach and model for them what it means to love God and others. In the meantime, they should participate in other opportunities in church life to grow their understanding of what it means to be a Christian.

       The bigger shift comes now with the third stage.

3.  Young Adult – People in this stage are making a big shift from being self-centered to more others-centered; becoming givers, rather than a takers; putting others first; realizing that life really is all about God and His will; not our own. Paul describes this stage in Philippians 2:3-4 (read Phil. 2:3-4).

       People growing in this stage are becoming more and more committed to the mission of Christ. When they walk into a room, rather than thinking, “Who is going to notice me,” they are beginning to wonder, “Who needs help; who looks lonely; how can I serve them?” They are are moving into the ministry phase of the discipleship process and need more ministry opportunities.

       And, finally, disciples will move into the Parent stage of the discipleship process.

4.  Parent – The spiritual parent has a solid understanding of God’s Word and is focused on reproducing mature disciples of Jesus by mentoring them in the Christian life.

       Paul recognized that his young disciple Timothy had entered this stage of the discipleship process, and he wrote to Timothy these well known words: (Read 2 Tim. 2:1-2)

       These disciples are entering the leadership stage. They are not only ministering, but making disciples of others around them; ready to train others to do the same.

APPLICATION: Did what I said about any one or more of these stages connect with where you are today? Did everyone identify which stages we’re in; what we need; what we need to be doing?  What I hope we will see here is all 700 people in the LCCC family working intentionally together to grow each other in discipleship. This is making disciples. This is a big part of the answer to HOW we make disciples. And here’s the thing: it all takes place outside of this room that we’re in right now.

—————————————-

Next post will relate to the “Relational Environments” discussion from the same sermon. Find the entire sermon manuscript on www.lc3.com/#/sermons.

Blessings on your path through the discipleship process,

Pastor Reg

How Important is Leadership? Part 3 – Ideas for Leading Jesus’ Mission

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” – Jesus, Luke 6:46

Mission is when we use our lives to make a difference in the life of someone who’s NOT here. Community is when we use our lives to make a difference in the life of someone who IS here.” – Bill Clem

“When serving together in a mission, your small group will experience community like never before!”  – Reg Overstreet

People want to make a difference as part of their small group experience, and they need their leaders to open the way! This third post in the “How Important is Leadership?” series contains, as promised in Part 2 – “Leading Jesus’ Mission: with Kony2012, A Test Case for Leading Mission,” the “most comprehensive, insightful and inspiring collection of ideas and means for small groups to accomplish Jesus’ mission that I have ever produced.” 

Before get into the list, look with me at this great contrast in stories, in which Reggie McNeal, in his thought provoking book, The Present Future, reveals one vital factor that causes our outreach projects to be either successes or failures.

Story One

The first story involved McNeal’s wife, Cathy, went to Ground Zero in November 2001, about two months after the terrorist attacks, with a disaster relief team on a mission to clean apartments of people who had been displaced by the collapse of the World Trade Center. The apartments she cleaned had faced the Twin Towers. All the windows had been blown out when the towers collapsed. These people had watched people jump. They had found telephones, briefcases, jewelry in their apartments, all blown in when the towers came crashing down. These residents were paying commercial firms thousands of dollars to get their apartments cleaned. The team did it for nothing, even leaving gifts behind.

At that time Ground Zero was still a police state. People could come and go only with appropriate identification. Cathy and her team had to wear their disaster relief uniforms so they could get into the area to do their work. These outfits were conspicuous and grabbed people’s attention wherever they went. All over Manhattan people stopped them and repeatedly asked 3 questions: Where are you from? What are you doing? Why? Cathy tells me that by the time they answered the first two questions, “We are from South Carolina, here to clean people’s apartments for people displaced by the terrorist attacks,” they could have said anything in response to the ‘why’ question and received a hearing. Even if people didn’t understand their answer or disagreed with some point of their convictions they were willing to hear them out. Do you know why? They listened because the New Yorkers were persuaded that Cathy and her fellow cleaners believed something so strongly that it had caused them to inconvenience themselves in compassionate service to people.

Story Two

The second story involved McNeal’s wife and daughters’ mission trip to Manhattan in 2002 to help a group plant a church. One of their assignments was to help raise awareness for the new church by distributing free stuff to people on the streets and in parks. Predictably, people were suspicious of this approach. “What’s the hook?” was the question on people’s mind. As a result, very few people wanted to have any conversations about the church or Jesus…It seems in the New Testament that Paul’s strategy was to preach the gospel. He formed a church as a result of the harvest.

Contrast this response to the girls in Story Two to the response Cathy’s team received in Story One. What’s the difference? Easy. The summer mission group was positioned as marketers, introducing a product with a marketing ploy similar to food vendors giving out free samples at Sam’s. There was no dirt on the kids’ faces. No smell of cleaning solution. No sacrifice of service.
———————-

We learn an important lesson from this comparison. We are not called to market the church. We are called to make disciples of Jesus. His mission, to seek and save the lost (Lk. 19:10), is therefore our mission. His approach, to serve and not be served (Mk. 10:45) is therefore our approach. His goal, to make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:19-20), is therefore our goal.

Our small groups, in functioning as “the church scattered from house to house,” do not exist to serve themselves alone, but also to accomplish the mission Jesus began on earth. And, what is the blessing to our small group community for obedience? It is proven time and time again as groups serve on mission together: When serving together in mission, you will experience community like never before!

So, to help you lead your group to choose the right project or two, I present this, my most comprehensive list of ministry/mission project ideas to date. Several have contact information, but I can also be contacted to help get started with any of them.

AND NOW, THE COMPREHENSIVE LIST OF MISSION PROJECT IDEAS

Instructions:

  • Pray
  • Then, read this list and select the 2-5 which grab your attention the most. (There is a reason those grabbed your attention!)  
  • Submit these 2-5 to your group. 
  • Pray as a group. 
  • Choose one or more and begin!

I. Highlighted Opportunities

1.  Faith In Action, 2012 – LCCC’s third F.I.A. weekend is coming up on July 21. Co-directors Jeremy Evarts and Peter Johnson are going out on a small group tour. Have them visit your group for 10 minutes to cast the vision for how you could be involved in our biggest all-church outreach day of the year! Email Jeremy Evarts for info.

2.  YFCTillicum Drop In Center – Several of our groups have partnered with Youth For Christ in Tillicum in the past. They could use more right now. Our small group leader Nate Duriga is our point person. He says this: 

“We can have people come to the center, hear Jason [the new director] describe the ministry at the center and the programming changes we’ve made this year, and get a list of ways their small group could get involved in what happens with our teens. We can set dates for projects then, or take time to look things over with their group and set something up at a later date.”

3.  Fundraising for Bankes – Have a heart to see our missionaries, the Banke family, make it back to Niger on time in July?  They need funds to make it happen.  We are kicking around some ideas.  Contact me ASAP to join the team!

4.  SummerFEST – Two years ago, about 30 volunteers ran one of the best booths at SummerFEST, Lakewood’s biggest community event. We’ve been asked to come back. It is a great way to make a big impact on our community, but it will take two or three small groups to do it.  Event is June 30-July1, but paperwork needs to be submitted very soon. Again, contact me ASAP if interested!

II. “Loving One Another” = Building up the Church

Things Groups Can Do Inside the Home

  • First, don’t neglect caring for each other’s special times of needs, play dates or babysitting, helping move or clean the house, discipling each other, etc.
  • Care for widows and orphans (James1:27) as a group by hosting a dinner for widows/widowers (Randy and Beckie Madson’s group is hosting a series of these), or running an event for underprivileged or orphaned children.
  • All Group members be accountable to each other to serving in some kind of ministry at the church; praying for each other, and trading stories of your experiences.
  • Write out a large box of cards as a group, to people serving God, in need of encouragement, sick in the hospital, or who may not yet know the Lord or the love of God.

Things Groups Can Do Outside the Home

  • Are you a generally “mobile” group? Become an “Emergency Response Group” – to be on call for immediate, unplanned service needs that arise at any given time in a church, from visitation and meal delivery to yard clean up, etc.
  • Contact a specific LCCC ministry leader to ask if you could volunteer as a group to for anything from transportation to mentoring young people. (AWANA, Children’s Ministry, Youth and Young Adult Groups, Family Ministries, Prime Timers, Library, etc.)  Most needed, currently:
    • Promiseland teachers and helpers (Contact Niki Oury)
    • Food Bank Childcare. In 2 hour shifts, on Thursdays, from 1-5PM (Contact Phaedra King)
  • Help the Church Office by asking for their big projects you can help with, such as mailings, data entry, a phone call project, preparing crafts for children’s ministries, etc.
  • Visit shut-ins who have little or no other contact with people. These can be anyone from church seniors to total strangers. One stat says that 50-60% of people in convalescent centers will not receive another visitor before they die.

III. “Loving the World” = Reaching Out with the Gospel

Things Groups Can Do Inside the Home

  • Bring in a guest speaker on missions: a missionary on small group tour; a missions team leader; a visiting missionary; a rep from a local mission with whom you might partner, etc.
  • Everyone in the group prepares and shares their own spiritual journey/salvation story to the group (1 Peter3:15). Has been a huge blessing for groups who’ve done it.
  • Help teach each others’ kids within your small group how to share the gospel.
  • Throw a Block Party or BBQ in your host home’s front yard for the entire street this summer. Hand out invitations early. Plan games, mixers and food! Let them know it’s being hosted by a LCCC small group.
  • Make an Outreach Prayer List – List each others’ family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues. Pray for them and for each others’ opportunities to share their faith with them.
  • Adopt a Missionary – Each small group should have a LCCC missionary to pray for, encourage and support, which will strengthen the Great Commission directly. 
  • Adopt a Military Family – Contact the leader of this existing LCCC ministry to sign up as a group.
  • Adopt a Family in need or crisis – Ask a pastor for suggestions.
  • Support LCCC’s Adopted People Group, the Tam*jaq of Niger, by praying, supporting our long-term families there, supporting one of our short-term teams, etc.

Things Groups Can Do Outside the Home, in Local Mission

  • Start an ongoing missional presence somewhere as a group. This would become a major part of your group’s identity.  Some groups are ready for this! Ideas include:
    • Adopt the neighboring streets of either your host home;ALLyour host homes (if you rotate); or the LCCC campus, by cleaning the streets; hosting BBQ’s and holiday parties; passing out church invitations, VBS flyers, etc.; Christmas caroling; serving; and more)
    • Adopt a section of an area of Tillicum or McChord gate
    • College Campus outreach
    • Partner with any local school, offering to meet any type of ongoing need they have, with no strings attached.
    • Partner with the Police or Fire Departments to offer any kind of services they might be able to use, or know of who does. We have several members of these, including an LPD chaplain, in our church.
    • Move some or all of your regular meetings to a local restaurant or business, where you will engage with other customers.
  • Volunteer with the LCCC Food Bank – Opportunities include:
    • Food pickup throughout the week
    • Set up each Thursday morning
    • Distributing food or building relationships during open business hours, Thursdays1-5PM
    • Childcare, Thursdays1-5PM
    • Security, Thursdays1-5PM
    • Shutdown team each Thursday from5:00-6:00PM
    • Run aFood Driveat nearby grocery stores
    • Deep clean of the facilities
    • Find, buy, or raise money for most needed items like toilet paper and cereal
    • Become a prayer partner
    • And more! Contact Foodbank Director, Wanda Hayes.
  • Visit or partner with any one of our local missionaries. For example, the Hewitt group is throwing a BBQ for the DeyArmins’ new church inVesta,WA!
  • Parachurch organizations like Youth For Christ and Young Life regularly need event volunteers or mentors for kids. 
  • Local agencies like Care Net, Love INC., Tacoma Rescue Mission, etc always need volunteers for their great community ministries.

Things Groups Can Do Outside the Home, in Global Mission  

  • Have a truly cross-cultural experience without leaving the area.
    • Partner with World Relief through Jon Banke to serve and reach the large Somali refuge population living right here among us. Read this Small Groups_Bookmark for more information.
    • Partner with Mark and Monika Kozakowski with involvement in the regular Christian meetings among the Puyallup Tribe and the Rising Above Conference needs this summer.

CONCLUDING THOUGHTS

Our job is to Tell

‎As we mobilize to go out, always remember that our primary goal in “Leading in Jesus’Mission” is to communicate the gospel.

Memorize this great line; to tell to the people you serve: “I am a disciple of Jesus. I am serving Him by serving you, because that’s what He came to do.” (Pastor Cho)

Include Your Families

Small groups should be both church-family and natural-family driven.

Just do it! Don’t become victim to the paralysis of analysis.  

Whoever you are, you can lead in Jesus’ mission. You can do a lot with the influence you already have. And WE can do even more together, as partners in this mission.

Blessings on your homes and mission,

Pastor Reg

SHARE YOUR IDEAS: Comprehensive does not mean exhaustive. Even as long of a list as this leaves out many many good opportunities. What more can you add from your ideas or experiences?

How Important is Leadership? Part 2 – “Leading Jesus’ Mission”

“If by leader we mean one who holds a position of authority and responsibility, then every Christian is not a leader. Some are—some are not. But if by leader we mean a person who enters into a relationship with another person to influence their behavior, values or attitudes, then I would suggest that all Christians should be leaders. Or perhaps more accurately, all Christians should exercise leadership, attempting to make a difference in the lives of those around them” – Walter Wright

KONY2012 – A TEST CASE FOR LEADING MISSION

I watched the Kony2012 video with my wife the other night. We found it moving and exciting, but, like so many initiatives (both non-Christian and Christian) that it so sadly misses the point; the root of the problem.

(If you know nothing about it, Joseph Kony is the world’s most wanted war criminal, responsible for 26 years of brutal violence in Sudan and Uganda, including the abduction of over 30,000 children and 66,000 youth, used to build up his vicious “Lord’s Resistance Army.” If you want to watch the video sweeping the internet, with 75 million hits its first week; or at least gather its message in its opening 5-6 minutes, just click “play.”

I enjoy when people stir up the pot on a large scale. It shows what God made us capable of when we are willing to break free from the malaise of entertainment and comfort addiction.  However, in our efforts of addressing justice and poverty alleviation issues, it is important for us to be equally motivated and well informed of the many layers beneath the surface layer. This particular video dwells right on the surface layer. And that is surely by design, because in order for an emotional appeal to touch the largest number of people, its message must be singular and clear. When everything makes sense, people get motivated. But, of course, it’s never that easy. Kony2012 serves as a great test case for those wanting to do truly healing work (which should be all of us). To do this, we must do the necessary work of examining and addressing the layers beneath the surface. Let’s start digging…

SUB LAYER ONE – EXAMINING THE DETAILS OF THE CAUSE AND POTENTIAL PARTNERS

Invisible Children, the group behind the Kony2012 video, is not without its detractors, and for valid reasons. One such example is this blog devoted to critiquing Invisible Children.  Here is another, and here yet another. And in fairness to Invisible Children, here is their thorough and open response to many of the criticisms. (In fact, shortly before I published this post, I discovered a fascinating criticism from secularists who suspect this entire mission may be a “covert Christian mission.” (Gasp! That would be horrible if Christians were behind it!) If that is true, that excites me. While I have mixed feelings about Christians ever being “covert” about their faith, there certainly is a place for it, such as smuggling Bibles into China, and the like.)

Even a quick overview of these articles teaches us two lessons about examining and addressing the layers beneath the surface of any mission.

  1. Empower yourself and the impact of your work by knowing the full array of actual details about the problems, the cause, and the proposed solutions.
  2. Be very discerning in who you partner with, knowing if their values, strategies and desired outcomes align with yours.

SUB LAYER TWO – LEARNING HOW TRUE POVERTY AND INJUSTICE ALLEVIATION REALLY WORKS

Removing one leader, even the world’s worst war criminal, is not a bad place to start (i.e. Hitler). I want swift justice very badly for Kony, too. This cause is appealing enough to move masses of people. That’s a good thing. But it isn’t enough!  Outside of “getting” Kony lies the real work– the type of work that, sadly, disinterests a majority of the masses (such as this, for example).  Since Christians are in mission for the long haul, let’s be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves, as our Lord instructed (Matt.10:16).

All too often the world’s efforts (including those of churches and Christian agencies) in causes like fixing evil governments, feeding the poor, rebuilding cultures and even taking mission trips are proven to do more harm than good. More harm than good?? The thought of our best efforts doing more harm than good should alarm us enough to earnestly examine this sub layer.

To do this, I recommend picking up two excellent books that have addressed this vital subject in the last few years: Corbett and Fikkert’s, When Helping Hurts (which everyone serious about following Jesus should read), and Bob Lupton’s Toxic Charity, a hard-hitting and very practical addition to this discussion (recommended for everyone leading any kind of relief work).

Space here doesn’t allow a full examination of each book, but even an overly-simplified description of each will sufficiently make the point.

First, Toxic Charity argues that continuous one-way giving creates toxic relationships where one has the resources and one has the need, and perpetuating this situation only feeds the pride of the one and eats away the dignity of the other. Numerous practical methods exist to eradicate those problems, if we would just do the work to implement them; which sadly, most agencies do not. This is immensely important. Do we want to continue giving just enough to make us feel good about ourselves and cause minimal discomfort to ourselves? Do we want to continue giving strategies that merely perpetuate entitlement, dependency and loss of dignity, when the wisdom is out there to reduce this with a bit more effort? Or, do we want to be Christlike with our action?

When Helping Hurts, describes poverty and injustices in terms of broken relationships on multiple levels: personal, economic, political, social and man-made religious systems. Helping rather than hurting requires proper diagnosis of both the cause and solution of the problem. If the cause of the problem is a lack of knowledge, then we must educate; if oppression by powerful people, then we must work for social justice; if personal sins of the oppressed, then we must evangelize and disciple the oppressed; if a lack of material resources, we must give material resources. If a mix of the above problems, the appropriate mix of solutions must be given. Money or justice alone are almost never the appropriate solution, and even harmful in many (most?) cases. Rather, bringing shalom – peace, dignity, empowerment, salvation – in a manner suitable to the given particular problem is the helping that actually helps.

Jesus is the Reconciler of those broken relationships; He is building His Kingdom, through us, His church, and our mission is to join Him (2 Cor. 5:18-20). In light of this biblical truth, the authors of When Helping Hurts define poverty alleviation as, “The ministry of reconciliation: moving people closer to glorifying God by living in right relationship with God, with self, with others, and with the rest of creation…The goal is to restore people to a full expression of humanness, to being what God created us all to be, people who glorify God by living in right relationship with God, with self, with others and with the rest of creation.” This restoration can be brought about through an unlimited number of means, but only fully with one ultimate end in mind, the expansion of God’s Kingdom through the life-saving and transforming power of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Maybe on occasion God will lay it on your heart to simply give generously, without discretion or restriction. But, if Jesus is our all-encompassing treasure and His mission is our life’s mission, then we cannot remain that casually detached as givers. Serving and loving people like Jesus must aim to fill them fully with shalom, with dignity and reconciliation with God through Jesus. And, that brings us to the final and most important sub layer.

SUB LAYER THREE – ADDRESSING THE REAL ROOT OF THE PROBLEM

Christians, we must must must realize that pouring our energies into causes like feeding the poor, helping children, fixing evil governments, and rebuilding cultures fall short if those are the end goals rather than the means by which we bring the end result of reconciliation with God, eternal healing, peace and liberty from sin through Jesus.

Though it may include removing an evil man from power, Jesus has given us a much greater mission than this. Our mission is to make disciples of all nations; setting every captive in every nation, wherever we have influence, from neighbor to foreign land, free to glorify God and grow in the experience of the incalculable blessings of His grace.

Christians, we have a cause so exponentially and vastly greater than Kony2012: to bring reconciliation to God through JESUS to Africans; to our neighbors; to the world!

But here’s the really cool part. Bringing a Joseph Kony to justice could very well be one way God uses you for His mission to bring His reconciliation through Christ to the world. You could be on Jesus’ mission through being directly involved with this cause; including praying for the war-torn country and families of Uganda, and for the arrest of war criminals.

Understand, though, that the plan God has already established, to use us in the mission fields of our home and community, is no lesser cause. He has already called us to critical actions like visibly honoring Christ in our workplaces, discipling our children, serving our neighbors, supporting foreign missionaries, visiting widows and orphans, providing meals for people in need, being a youth leader, a food bank worker, or leading a small group.

Planet Earth has known millions of great Christian leaders, past and present, who gave and give their lives to this eternal cause. By design, God has called the vast majority of His followers to do it in less visible ways than producing a video that gets 75 million views in its first week. But, there is also a place for the BIG, highly visible movements led by Christians.

One incredible example is Rick Warren’s PEACE Plan (“Plant churches; Equip leaders; Assist the poor; Care for the sick; and Educate the next generation”), by which he is seeking the mobilization of a force that will eradicate the world’s largest enemies – spiritual emptiness, corrupt leadership, disease, poverty and illiteracy. If you want to watch a moving Christian video (and a much shorter one), please watch this video by clicking “play” on the video titled “It’s Time” at www.thepeaceplan.com.

Many other good examples of highly visible movements abound, in Christian leaders who are on mission to affect culture for Christ, Christian movies (which are actually improving in quality), good Christian best-selling books that proclaim Jesus and motivate His followers, and even the rise and opportunity of social media.

The Rise and Opportunity of Social Media

Many of us can proclaim Christ to a larger audience through Social Media than we ever could before. The Kony2012 video begins with an insightful depiction of the power of social media. There is a place and a need for “social media missionaries.” Like the Apostle Paul, who used all the technology of his day to its fullest to bring Christ to the nations, this generation should employ our best modern technology for that same purpose. From producing excellent films like Kony2012 to diligently posting good content, we can proclaim our love for our Savior. Posting links, pictures, sermons, Scripture quotes, and not being ashamed to display something Christ-honoring under your “religious views” – there are a million ways to exalt Jesus and edify each other through this wildly influential modern technology.

Global Injustice God has Placed before LCCC

For those of us at LCCC whose hearts are tugged in this serious direction of global injustice, let me direct you to matters that God has already placed before us. Many of the missionaries we support are on the front lines facing these injustices. Our role as their sending church is to face it with them by supporting them and keeping them spiritually uplifted and accountable. Pray about this, and then learn how you might get involved with one or more of them!

I have written about the prevailing injustices in Niger, a country in which the Holy Spirit has directly led our church for the mission of reaching the Tam*jaq people. Did you know that the Nigerien government has allowed French and Chinese exploitation of the Nigerien people and land for hoarding valuable plutonium and oil? The people of Niger receive almost nothing in return. If you want to know more about this, download and read chapter 10 of my unpublished book Missions for the Church in the 21st Century. LCCC family, this is one cause that should be close to our hearts in prayer. And if someone wants to take it further, do let us know, and may the Holy Spirit’s power and boldness be upon you!

Leading Small Groups Into Jesus’ Mission

Admittedly, I detoured somewhat from the original direction of this blog series on leadership :). But, I felt strongly led to this, and I am pleased with the opportunity this diversion presents to demonstrate that in Kingdom work, leadership is not confined to a select few with a title, but to those at every level and through every means imaginable, as long as the end of their influence is to bring glory to God and redemption to mankind through Jesus.

However, to be true to my primary audience (those wanting to enhance their small group experience) I will present in the next post of this series the most comprehensive, insightful and inspiring collection of ideas and means for small groups to accomplish Jesus’ mission that I have ever produced. I think it will be an indispensable tool as our groups continue to mature in the area of being on Jesus’ mission together.

So, watch for that. In the meantime, care to share with everyone your comments, ideas or questions about this post? Such public dialog is, after all, a good use of our modern technology.

Blessings on your Homes,

Pastor Reg.