40 Testimonies of God’s Goodness in LC3 Small Groups, Spring 2018

Sring 2018 testimonies and photos

We have described small groups at LC3 as “the church scattered in homes throughout our community.”  We have called them “church families on a mission.”  We have explained, small groups are the place where the rest of Christianity takes place – outside  the walls of the weekend gatherings.

Our small groups’ mission is, “To make disciples who make disciples in relational environments.”

ALL of these adages proved true this Winter/Spring, and it is time to praise God and  share the joy of testimonies to His goodness in our small groups at LC3. Enjoy these photos and testimonies!

Quotes from Members about the Year

Small Group Members were asked to describe their favorite aspects of being in Christian community with their small group this year, with many different answers given:

small-groups-logo-pro.jpg  It has been a wonderful small group year. God constructed a loving inter-generational group for us whom has allowed themselves to be vulnerable and supportive for each other. 

small-groups-logo-pro.jpg We have developed a sense of family and caring for each other. 

small-groups-logo-pro.jpg  Watching the biblical expression of 2 Corinthians 1:4 being lived out in our group as we have comforted each other through loss and trial.

small-groups-logo-pro.jpg Just the volume of answered prayer and the high percentage that were positive answers. There is so much trust and intimacy in the group.

small-groups-logo-pro.jpgIt’s been another great year of joining together and sharing our anguish, struggles, and praises with studies of God’s word away to help us through! Getting to know each other more deeper n make richer relationships with each other so rich that we don’t want to stop seeing each other even through the summer! I appreciate these fellowship and Christians that I have to run to when I need help.

small-groups-logo-pro.jpgFun, fellowship, friendships, support, ministry, and spiritual growth! It has been a highlight of my week, something to look forward to.

small-groups-logo-pro.jpgIt’s been great. We have grown spiritually, our relationships with the group have grown greatly, and we were challenged by the topics. We look forward to next year.

small-groups-logo-pro.jpgWe have appreciated our leaders’ faithful and wonderful leadership, their hospitality week after week to us just means so much. They serve so very well as a team and we are blessed to be in their group and lives!

small-groups-logo-pro.jpgI think we began to bond through the weeks when we met separately and could discuss the lessons in the smaller group setting. There was some very thought provoking material in the 10 Dumb Things Smart Christians Believe and we had some great discussions. We are a very diverse group, but through these times we have come to care better for one another and encourage and support one another. I truly look forward to our gatherings together!

small-groups-logo-pro.jpgI have found our small group instrumental for my personal growth. The Holy Spirit is working for sure, just not in the way “I want”.  Ha ha. Holy Spirit is wonderful.  My growth is slow, but sure.

small-groups-logo-pro.jpgIt means a lot to me to have the spiritual support of my small group. I love the prayer support. It also strengthens my walk with God to study His Word together. They are family to me. We follow that scripture, “Bear ye one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

small-groups-logo-pro.jpgIt has been another great year of learning God’s word with other fellow believers in Christ and sharing grace and peace with one another.

small-groups-logo-pro.jpgWe feel privileged to belong to a small group. In a big church such as ours it is a way to establish a core of fellow believers we can really get to know. Also, it has been a blessing to experience the different teaching styles that we have been exposed to.

photo 10

The Photogenic Snyder Group

put in diamond

VBS Group, party at Bruno’s

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Nelson Group hosting a lunch to honor LC3 widows.

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West/Wilcox Group’s massive yard restoration project for a local shut-in.

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Overstreet “Forgiveness” Group, after doing the Thank You Challenge

Quotes from Leaders

Our Leaders were asked the question: “What were the most meaningful things God did in your group this year?” They answered:

small-groups-logo-pro.jpgLearning of a member’s decision to follow Christ and then baptizing them together was a highlight! Also, the rotation of members leading discussions from week to week.

small-groups-logo-pro.jpg We have seen significant growth in some newer believers, and enjoyed the camaraderie and influence of the missionaries in the group. Men going through book Family Driven Faith has been great, too.

small-groups-logo-pro.jpg Seeing our steady group members grow in the Lord as they practice Bible intake and Prayer.

small-groups-logo-pro.jpg Seeing how much the group members enjoy social time together and supporting each other in prayer.

small-groups-logo-pro.jpg  The Prayer Echo app has been instrumental in keeping in touch and praying for each other throughout the week. Attending the Desert Auction as a small group.

small-groups-logo-pro.jpg  Getting 3 of my guys to come out for man camp. Getting our silent members to open up.

small-groups-logo-pro.jpg  Six of our group are on the KAN Team. We have spent hundreds of hours developing and implementing the project along with other KAN Team members. Organizing the dessert auction was rewarding.

small-groups-logo-pro.jpgWe were able to support each other. Four husbands passing into heaven this year, and one new marriage, plus many medical issues, etc

small-groups-logo-pro.jpgWe held an outreach luncheon for some of the ladies of LC3.  It was amazing how God provided for every need including a golf cart to help shuttle the ladies down our long narrow driveway.  What a blessing.

small-groups-logo-pro.jpgThe group continued  to thrive, even though we had to pull away for medical reasons. I am so proud of the entire group.

small-groups-logo-pro.jpgWe had some answered prayer requests with the arrival of a baby, a good report from a biopsy, success in many ministries and personal endeavors that required prayer, and the safe return of several spouses away for military training. All of these answered prayers we give God the glory and appreciate that He allowed us to contribute prayers for Him to answer.

small-groups-logo-pro.jpgWe all grew closer together like a mini-church family as we prayed for and practically helped each other through crises in our lives whether it was physical, spiritual, or just battling Satan.

small-groups-logo-pro.jpgSince we only started in January, was pleased to see how quickly the group coalesced into a cohesive group – celebrated with each other in baptism, salvation of family members, success at work; prayed each other through loss of parent, cancer surgery, and difficult seasons at work and with family.  Confronted issues in our personal walks with Christ that needed attention and began working on those areas.

small-groups-logo-pro.jpgA deeper connection as a group and real service occurring within the group.  Each family with children had real struggles with their kids and were able to share these struggles with the group.  Tremendous trust and care for one another flowed from each struggle shared.  I was very glad to see this and it made me very thankful to be part of this group.

small-groups-logo-pro.jpgGod sent people to our group who need to know Jesus.  Pray for them and for us!  We were able to witness extensively.

Two Special Stories

Much more happens in our small groups than ever gets reported. So, when stories are shared, we want to share them with everyone! Two special stories help describe the kind of semester it was.

1. A Memorable Homeless Thanksgiving Dinner

The Cameron Group hosted their second annual homeless Thanksgiving dinner this year, and asked another small group leader, David Wilcox, to give the message. Ali writes about the day:

It went really well. The numbers of our homeless friends’ attendance has been dwindling since the city is displacing them further back into the woods and away from the city. But, about 20-ish homeless folks came through during the couple hours. David shared a brief message that especially captured a couple of the men that stayed to listen. One of them asked for a Bible afterwards. We were able to send leftover food home with Mary (seen in the last pic in the purple sweater), who lives on the west side of Olympia and feeds the folks regularly. That’s a huge blessing for her and them.

Probably my favorite story from the day was that one of our close friends, Chris, who is a homeless heroin dealer, got out of jail that day and came straight to the park and ate with us. He was able to get clean and sober in jail and had a clarity of mind to realize he needs God’s help to straighten out his life. He wants to start going to church and start working his way out of the death lifestyle. Please pray for him and his girlfriend Janet. Our vision is to see him leading a church outdoors at the park. He said he valued our Bible studies and presence there over the years and would love to see a church there. There’s a fantastic church near the park, but since taking Perspectives, I see that the barriers are many for the folks on the streets attending that church.

Here are some pics:

2. Ongoing Outreach Ministry

The VBS Group not only enjoyed great Bible study and loving leadership from their leaders Eric and Julie, they also performed a regular outreach ministry together, which Lynn A. describes:

On February 7, we returned to Peoples Retirement Center to celebrate Valentines Day with the residents. 20 or so residents as well as 4 or 5 staff members attended our little gathering. Three of the residents who attended our December celebration were also in attendance on the 7th.

Fred and Mae B., Jim M., Eric and Julie V, as well as Larry and myself took treats and card to those who attended.  Eric gave a devotion that included the historical background of St. Valentine and then shared how much God loved them. Our small group members visited with the residents. A few residents are interested in pursuing a regularly scheduled Bible Study. Our small group is considering how this will fit with our group meetings and our busy schedules. We will be praying for God to work out the details for this Bible Study.

Our small group will be returning to Peoples during Holy Week to share the good news of Christ’s death and resurrection.

Yours in Christ,

Lynn Allport for Eric VBS

Von Barnau Sythoff Small group

To Our Coaches

Our small group coaches this year were Tony Oury, Joe Devine, Catlan Sardina, Tim Hayes, Kelsey Underwood,  Eric Wylie, and me. This team was on fire this semester, from the January training (which the coaches led), and bringing the coaching ministry to a new level this year, to the ongoing devoted relational ministry they gave to the leaders throughout the year. Thank you, brothers and sister, for your ministry partnership!

Catlan

coaches

Our Year-End Party

In mid-June we enjoyed our annual Year-End Leader Party once again, with good fellowship, food, games, recognition, and praise. To God be all the glory, and we are thankful that He shares so much with His Church – His family – His children whom He has purchased through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Year end party 2018 a

Most groups take the summer off, though several various summer connection opportunities at LC3 can be found on our website, here.

What does 2018-19 hold? Only God knows, but we will do our best to find out!

For His glory and our joy,

Pastor Reg

 

 

 

Fall 2017 Testimonies and 2018 Dates

2017 testimonies main photo

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

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

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

Fall 2017 Testimonies

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

(Following those are important upcoming 2018 dates.)

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

Stories and Praises from our Groups

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

New Leader Goals

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

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

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

Develop new group activity outside of normal meeting time.

 

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

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

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

Distribute the work of leadership to a core team.

Transition leadership effectively.

Work a Habitat for Humanity project in Tillicum.

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

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

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

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

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

To see more individuals serving within the group.

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

New Roles and Ways Group Members Have Gotten Involved

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

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

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

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

Important Upcoming 2018 Dates

2018

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

Put these on your calendars right now!

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

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

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

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

Pastor Reg

Winter/Spring 2016 Photo Contest Results!

Thank you to all the 15 small groups who participated in this fun photo contest!! Below are the “snap shots”, and results, from the contest. Enjoy!! (We’ll see what Coach Ray Pancho has up his sleeve for next year.)

1st placeTeam Johnson  – “The Rapture”

2nd placeTeam Nelson/Pancho  – “Goin’ Fishin'”

3rd placeTeam Wadle/Rovinski  – “Glad to the Bone”

13332960_10209492238533152_9098261008221575244_nTeam Walmer – “Son of Blue Man Group”

13346513_10209492238813159_4039231339144962340_nTeam Tchobanoff – “Road Trip”

13315401_10209492237813134_5853352417463732275_nTeam Overstreet/Schneider – “Eating & Drinking Theology”

13319706_10209492234213044_5033809955637449936_nTeam Copp – “Water Warriors”

13320004_10209492236653105_308128932344381410_nTeam Strong – “Amazing Race”

13321859_10209492234053040_178456877343900822_nTeam Purses/Grossenbach

13332824_10209492238693156_2911754791579702068_nTeam Higbee – “Grub Got (May God Greet You)”

13335567_10209492235813084_375773997594795540_nTeam Krogh – “R.I.B.S: Rejoice In Being Servants”

13335936_10209492239933187_9031252672349136196_nTeam Small Group Coaches – “Jedi Coaches”

13339700_10209492238493151_524222340189631704_nTeam Smedley – “Golden Oldies”

13346494_10209492234533052_2356289171564507988_nTeam Palomino/Black – “Mustache May”

13346905_10209492235613079_3079383552643268655_nTeam Young

Early 2016 Dates and Fall 2015 Testimonies

Early Winter/Spring 2016 Dates

  • Saturday/Sunday, January 2/3 – Small Group Signups begin (catalogs in worship services, small group listings at foyer table and church website)
  • Sunday, January 10 – SG Leader Vision/Training Session, 10:00-11:15AM, LCCC Gym (One session offered twice. This is option 1.)
  • January 17 – 23 – Official SG Kickoff Week!
  • Saturday, January 23Church Family Summit, 9:00AM-1:00PM (Four hours of workshops for the entire church family. The small group leader training makeup session will be one 50 minute workshop.)
  • Saturday, February 6 – LCCC Membership Class 

Fall 2015 Testimonies

It’s always good to celebrate what God is doing in and through us. Take a minute to enjoy these fun reports and pictures from the semester that just ended!

1. From new leaders of a new group who didn’t know what kind of group God would assemble:

We’ve had 14 contacts you’ve sent of couples and singles. Of those, one is a missionary; another has two daughters entering mission work; one is an Army Chaplain who was able to connect with another who wants to become an Air Force Chaplain, and another who has also done mission work. We have quite a theme here!

Fun Note: This group eventually called themselves the “RIBS Small Group” (Rejoice in Being Servants).

2. A small group in action:

We garnered help from our group for the Harvest Carnival and made tentative plans for a potluck. Next week we are going to start with the You’ll Get Through This video and then move outside around the fire pit for our discussion ending with s’mores (might be a good time for a visit-wink, wink).

Sadly, I had to miss their s’mores night, but visiting the groups each semester is a personal highlight for me and our small group coaches.

3. A leader shared this anonymous note and said to me, “Reg, this is what is kind of cool about being a small group leader.”

…Thanks for the kind word.  You actually just caused me to Google the word shy and it’s funny because I’m a little too proud to say that about myself, but the definition fits: “Being reserved or having or showing nervousness or timidity in the company of other people.”  It’s actually a little tough to swallow. But it’s a trait I have carried my whole life. Thank God He blessed me with an amazing family who I can be absolutely opened up to, without any shields or filters or fears. With them, I get to be a comedian, a rock star, a superhero.

That’s why we do what we do.

ReEngage

4. One of many ReEngage Testimonies:

Ben and Nina say:

ReEngage has caused a focus shift in our marriage; we have both started to serve our spouse more, and put their needs and desires ahead of our own. We apologize out loud and ask forgiveness of each other when we mess up, and we are more gracious and patient in general. We are a team, and we spend intentional time together growing that bond. We love ReEngage!

 

~Nina

5. Numerous shorter statements shared this fall:

  • “You’ll Get Through This” has caused some interesting discussions. Our members are pretty good about sharing openly, and the trust level is getting high.
  • We did the videos together, then split into men and women. This has worked very well as more open sharing has occurred.
  • Separating guys and girls has worked out well for our group this Fall.
  • Top moments this semester were singing with the children at the end of our meetings and sharing our testimonies.
  • We have addressed many prayer needs in the group from strength to deal with an antagonistic coworker, to providing a partner for a mission trip, to dealing with a problem special education teacher, to serious health issues, to travel mercies.
  • We have connected more outside of the group.
  • You will be happy to know that we are starting an inner circle (leadership/discipleship team).

6. Pictures!

ygtt motto

The YGTT Motto

corn maze

Corn Maze field trip

Higbee Harvest Carnival

Higbee Group – Loving the World around us

mission vision - 2

Our Mission and Vision

Golf champtions

Winners of the First Annual Lake City Small Group Golf Twosome Tournament

Tchobanoff Western State Christmas project

Tchobanoff Group Service/Outreach Project at Western State

caroling

This one is tonight! Care to join them??

 

Thompson 2015

The Justin and Blythe Thompson family, LCCC’s newest supported missionaries, toured most of the small groups this fall, meeting almost 300 people personally.

Krogh Christmas party

Christmas parties abound! (Pictured is the Krogh group’s “Virtual Coffee Mug Exchange”)

Meagher group family shot

                                                                       Meagher group family shot

Wadle party

                                                             Wadle/Rovinski painting night!

7. From a leader’s prayer report:

Praise the Lord for a great small group Christmas party. One person told me, “Small group is the only thing that I look forward to each week since moving here last summer.”

We could go on and on, but suffice to say God was glorified and we were blessed in our community this year. So much more to experience in the Winter/Spring 2016 semester, which kicks off the week of January 17. If you are not in a group yet, join one by then! See how and start browsing now  right here.

For His glory and our 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.

Early Testimonies from the HEROES Series, Fall 2012

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

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

Hi Reg,

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

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

Blessings

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

Reg,

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

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

Praise be to God!!!

3.     From one of our newer leaders:

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

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

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

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

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

5.     Another remarkable story from the first night:

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

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

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

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

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

See you next week!!

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

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

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

Sally Craig

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

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

Praise God, indeed!

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

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

Blessings on our homes,

Pastor Reg

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

Top 10 Posts of 2011

Here are the ten most viewed posts of the past year. I am grateful to God for any usefulness these resources have provided our leaders and groups.  Enjoy!

10. How Can I Get My Members to Talk?

9. Leading Discussion – Basics and Advanced

8. Three Inspiring Testimonies of Lake City Small Group Growth

7. Golf, Fantasy Football, Guns: Men of God

6. Early Testimonies from Forgotten God Series, Fall 2011

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

4. Curriculum List for 2012

3. Small Group Leaders Bowling Party Recap (and What’s Upcoming this Fall!)

2. 2010-2011 Year In Review

And….Number 1 is a bit anti-climactic to view now because its purpose was to prepare us for a season which is already past. However, the Forgotten God series was a tremendous season, and you can hear and share the greatest praises from it THIS WEEKEND in church, in our Testimony & Praise Weekend!

1. Forgotten God, this Fall at LCCC!

I plan to give this growing blog a nice organizational and design overhaul next year, whenever I make time OR find a volunteer who is proficient in this area (hint hint).

Blessings on your homes, and Happy New Year!

Pastor Reg

Early Testimonies from Forgotten God Series, Fall 2011

Small group testimonies posts always seem to be favorites – and helpful too, to hear what’s going on out there. Some great reports are being shared early this fall, after just the first couple meetings.

1.    Durr/Pritchard Group 

Jeremy wrote this account of their group’s first meeting:

“Group started off really cool with a lot of engagement by asking “when you hear Holy Spirit, what comes to mind? What is your experience, or lack of any, with the Holy Spirit?” It sparked very interesting conversation, then we read the introduction from the book. I think every person in our group is intrigued and excited for this study. “

He then shared this about the Lake City Small Group Toolkits (which are available in the church office for every group member):

“Also, the toolkits were more useful than ever this year. We have someone signed up for quite a few roles for the group. I think one trick we used was writing everyone’s name on their toolkit with a big sharpie. More than one person said ‘I guess I really need to make sure I take this with me now that my name is on it!.’ I laughed inside and thought that was a helpful idea. No one left their toolkit behind! “

Haha, okay, so we’ll be sure that next year’s Toolkit cover includes something like this:

NAME (WRITE IN SHARPIE!):

🙂

2.    Mathews/Zuniga Group

This brand new group is off to an impressive start. In their “small group covenant” conversation they decided to expand their meetings to allow time for eating a meal together every week. A few of our groups do the same. And while a weekly meal might not work for every group, there is no question that Jesus intended breaking bread together to be an inherent activity of His church.

These leaders are also committed to building relationships with their members throughout the fall by having each of them over for dinner; taking each of the men out to breakfast; serving together in mission, and every other way they can.  Great job, group. Those are the beginnings good shepherding!

3.    In a similar way, a different group leader emphasized how they will be shepherding each person/family in their group by having them over for dinner to discuss a specific path for their spiritual growth this year.  For example, he plans on encouraging at least one family in his group to consider doing a short-term trip to Niger. This is a wonderful plan that should be considered by every leader!

4.    Mark and Kelsey Wilkening have returned as small group leaders after getting The Father’s Heart ministry off the ground this last year.  One striking thing the Wilkenings and their co-leaders, Jeremy and Hope Evarts, are experiencing with this brand new group is being a certain sort of microcosm of the larger church family.  Many new faces fill our church since adding the Saturday night service last fall, and the Wilkening/Evarts group is filled with several of these new faces.

Mark says on the makeup of their group being representative of our church overall:

“It’s exciting to me to see all these new people being connected in community.  It’s exciting that our group represents that. It’s not a group filled with our friends.  This is kind of what our church is becoming. It’s been a blessing. It’s exciting from a leadership perspective. We barely know these people in our group, but yet we already sense a desire to connect with the Body and receive the encouragement and support that we want people to experience.  We hope that in all groups, when people are going through difficulties that they will not bow out, but remain committed to working through life with others in the Body of Christ.”

Great job, small group leaders.  Our Good Shepherd is pleased when we take our calling to care for His flock so seriously.

Blessings on your homes,

Pastor Reg

MORE Great Testimonies from Lake City Small Groups!

After so much positive feedback from the first round of inspiring testimonies from LCCC Small Groups, I’m happy to present severalMORE Great Testimonies from Lake City Small Groups!”

1.         Earl and Sue Kolb’s Group—Observing Small Group Communion (Acts 2:42-47)

Does communion belong in a list of creative ways to worship as a small group? OR, is it an intrinsic and central part to life as the “church scattered?” I am more convinced that the latter is truer to the New Testament’s guidelines.


Earl and Sue’s group was the latest to observe communion together. Here’s what Earl had to say about the experience:

“I conducted Communion with our Small Group on 4 Mar 11.  This was a new experience.  All the members were excited.  The plan was each individual would first share their testimony.  I started by giving my testimony and a couple of times I rededicated my life when my children were dedicated.  This set the tone, and I went around to each member who then gave their testimonies.

“I then read from I Corinthians 11, explained the purpose of communion and the symbolic meaning.  I then passed the elements to each person; then we prayed and partook of the elements.

“After a moment or so, I reflected back on what we had just done and asked for each member’s thoughts.  They felt it was good and were glad we did it.  One member stated the timing was perfect since we had just finished the Heaven Series and were now ready to go back to our study of the Book of John.”

2.         Terry and Judy Olson GroupSharing Personal Testimonies within Your Group

Terry and Judy recently wrote this about their group’s sharing personal testimonies together: “The past three times we have met, people have been sharing their personal testimonies. This has been a very positive experience. It has brought the group closer together.”

Yes, sharing salvation stories within your group is an important activity which not only brings everyone closer together (Rom. 14:19), it also glorifies God (Ps. 118:21), reveals if each member is actually a believer (2 Cor 13:5), and ensures that all are able to share their faith (2 Pet. 3:15). Great job, Olson group, and others who have already done this!

3.         Clint and Tami Johnson GroupActive in Service and Outreach

My family had the pleasure of joining the Johnson group for an idea/planning dinner with the YFC staff at the Tillicum Drop-In Center. This group’s outreach commitment is inspiring. As a result of that meeting, the Johnson group has committed to partner with YFC by:

  • Hosting a large dinner for the kids, similar to last year, where we brought dinner for around 30-40 kids, served, ate and cleaned up with the kids.
  • Running a cooking class with kids at the center this summer.
  • Connecting with families of the community through a bike clinic (providing bikes, fixing bikes, putting on bike flags, and sharing Christ)

4.         Four Challenging New Studies (All of these are available for future use.)

 

1) Crazy LoveAfter the Hewitt group’s amazing experience with this Francis Chan study last year, the Oury and Johnson groups jumped into it this year, with similarly encouraging results.

2) Radical Haven’t heard of David Platt’s book yet? You will. The Higbee group is pioneering this still unrefined small group study of one of the most challenging books of our time.

3) Vintage JesusThe R. Williams group has been enjoying studying and discussing Mark Driscoll’s deep and different perspective on the Man who is God.

4) 10 Dumb Things that Smart Christians BelieveThree groups are working through this challenging little book, with some pretty interesting results.

A few future items that are sure to generate more great small group testimonies:

  • New draft of Small Group Adopted Missionaries is coming soon!
  • LCCC’s Second Annual Faith In Action (FIA), July 30/31 – Small Groups, Prepare!
  • GREAT IDEA: Someone to start a Saturday Night Group at 7:30pm, during the youth group’s new meeting time. Anyone interested? Just contact me at reg.overstreet@lc3.com.
  • End of semester party for anyone involved in leading small groups. Watch for more info about that, soon!

Blessings on your homes,

Pastor Reg