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

sermon on the mount 1

They call it “The Greatest Sermon Ever Preached,” though I don’t really like to rate sermons because that involves both subjective and objective elements. What is not effective for one person might be the most life-changing sermon ever for someone else, right?

Still, it is hard to argue against Matthew 5-7 as the greatest sermon of all time. I mean, what is preaching but to exposit and herald God’s Word? And, what do we have in these chapters but Jesus, the incarnate Word of God, heralding the Word of God!

And, if this was the only fragment of Scripture you could get your hands on, it would be sufficient for salvation and a life of maturing faith. That can’t be said about many other sermons.

Our Story This Fall

Construction Delay

Returning leaders and members who know that we do an all-church sermon and small group series every fall have begun to wonder, “What IS our fall series going to be this year!?”

You might know that we were planning to create an in-house series again this year, that would use God’s Word to define who we are as Christians and as LC3, in conjunction with the move into our new facility. But, with the move now delayed to November, that fall series plan was suspended.

This sent us back to the drawing board, which ultimately resulted in a decision which has proven relevant and timely. Before we move into our new facility and explore the facets of who we are in Jesus, we will dwell for a season in Jesus’ words and become truly more like Him!

Curriculum Choice

distinct

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

We were happy to discover “Distinct,” a solid and simple small group curriculum that will perfectly accompany our sermon series, breaking down Matthew 5 into the same six sections that our sermons will cover. It is solid in that it is centered on the Word, produced by trusted LifeWay Publishers, and taught by Michael Kelley, who, as the Director of Groups at LifeWay, knows how to craft a useful guide for groups.

It is simple in that the chapters and videos are insightful yet short, leaving plenty of time for guided group discussion about the Bible texts. The book’s extra features, like ice breaker questions, thought provoking exercises, and attainable applications, are all excellent.

As always, our group leaders will be well equipped in our training sessions to maximize the benefit for their groups from the weekend sermons, the accompanying curriculum, and the time we have together this fall.

Important Dates

Here are the key dates to mark on your calendars!

  1. Month of August – August is our busy and active month of identifying and equipping new Small Group Leaders. Is God calling you to lead or host a group?
  2. August 17/18 – Small Group Coaches Prayer & Planning Overnight Retreat. Will you make a note to pray for this leadership team over these two days?
  3. After August 18 – I and the coaches begin touching base with all returning and potential small group leaders. Major promotion and communication begin.
  4. August 25/26 – Small Group Signups begin!
  5. Wednesday, September 5 – Small Group Leader Training, WITH DINNER, 6:00pm – 8:00pm. (RSVP’s needed – for dinner and childcare. Returning leaders watch for e-vite. Everyone else, feel free to email me at reg.overstreet@lc3.com.)
  6. *Week of September 9 – Official Small Group Kick Off Week, leaving two “get to know each other” weeks before the “Distinct” series begins.
  7. Sunday, September 16 – Small Group Leader Training Makeup Session, during second service, 11:00am – 12:15pm. (As always, we offer the training session on two dates, to hopefully get 100% attendance.)
  8. Six Weeks, September 23 – October 28 – All-Church Sermon and Small Group Fall Series, “Distinct”
  9. Week of December 9 – Official end of fall semester. The series finishes six weeks before the fall semester ends, allowing leaders the option to continue studying further in Matthew (resources available), and/or to do other group activities such as outreach/service projects, worship/communion nights, fun nights, planning for next semester, Thanksgiving dinner, and, of course, a finale Christmas Party!

*Notice that our leader training is a bit later than usual. This is because our fall series starts a little later than usual, and because we are going to avoid Labor Day weekend, AND this will allow the maximum number of hopeful small group leaders to participate.

Books and DVDs

distinct

Small group leaders can pick up their book and DVD (and their group’s books if they choose) at the SG Leader Training. Small group members can get their books 1) from their leaders, 2) at the small groups table on weekends, or 3) in the church office, starting in September.

Children’s and youth small groups will also do this series, adding to the family experience!

How to Join a Group

Beginning on August 25/26, we will launch several methods to join a group: signup display in the foyer, an opportunity to meet leaders, the “small group catalogs” passed out in the worship services, and the online “Group Finder” on lc3.com/ministries/small-groups.

I am looking forward to deepening our walks with Jesus and each other, and praying for this fall right now!

Pastor Reg

P.S. If you are not presently a leader or in leader training, but would like to explore your gifts and possible calling in that area, please feel free to attend the leader trainings, or let me know about your interest by emailing me, reg.overstreet@lc3.com.

Planning Your Next Semester: Winter/Spring 2018

plan

Praise God, our groups are winding down a memorable Fall 2017 Semester. This post, which is revised and updated each year, aids leaders in planning for our next semester.

How NOT to Start Your Next Semester

Let’s begin with how NOT to start your next semester.

A typical question leaders are asking is: “What curriculum should I kickoff the Winter/Spring semester with?” My preferred answer would be… NONE!

NONE, Why is that!? This goes back to why our groups exist. Are they Bible studies alone? No, definitely not. But, experience teaches that if a group launches a new term immediately with the new Bible study or curriculum on the first week, then that group will become forever locked into the “study” mold and mentality, as if that is all you exist to do, no matter what you try to do later.

The Solution: Start your semester with some of the other vital small group elements which often get crowded out. Ideas include:

  • Start with a meal or fun night. You are a spiritual family, after all. Set the tone to enjoy each other!

communion_t

  • Start with a worship, prayer, and/or communion night, seeking God’s guidance and setting a worshipful pattern for your year.
  • Start with a service/outreach project, or series of them, declaring: “We are going to be the hands and feet of Jesus!”
  • Start with sharing a few personal salvation testimonies, to celebrate God’s grace in our lives and get to know each other well.group-worship
  • Start with having the kids involved in worship, so they see Jesus Christ as the center for your group’s existence.
  • Then, start your curriculum, having become close friends and spiritual siblings; soul mates and teammates. We have 16-20 weeks in the Winter/Spring Semester. No need to rush into a curriculum, there is plenty of time to do it all!

Calendar and Small Group Agreement Pages

Pull out that Winter/Spring Calendar, found in the first couple pages of the Leader and Member Toolkits, with your group to plan out the entire semester together – host locations, fun days, weeks off, trips together, meal plans… whatever you can plan.

And, don’t neglect to review the Small Group Agreement page, to get everyone’s expectations aligned. Among the most important axioms I have learned in church leadership over the years is that “Expectations are everything.” They truly are. Clear and aligned expectations will directly impact your members’ attendance and engagement all year long.

NOW, Choose the Right Curriculum

currSince our foundation is God’s Word, a good curriculum or Bible study plan is a vital tool. Come browse our many curriculums in the training sessions or in my office anytime, where you can access our materials to preview or check out.

And, don’t forget that you can help us keep building up our curriculum library, with “The Lake City Offer”, which is:

If you are interested in using a curriculum we do not currently have, I will buy the leader book and DVD (if there is one) for you if you will return it when finished, to add to our library. Your group members will just buy their own participant guides, if there is one. This offer helps future groups and eliminates any hesitation based on the cost of a study!
NOTE: A list of our available and recommended curriculums can be found in the back of the Leader Toolkit.

Important Dates

Here are a few important dates for your calendars:

    • * **Leader Training: As always, there is one required January training session for all leaders, offered twice, for your scheduling convenience:
      • Option 1 – Sunday, January , 11:30am – 1:15pm, with lunch.
      • Option 2 – For those who cannot attend the January 7 session, come to the makeup session on Sunday, January 14, 11:30am – 12:40pm, without lunch (snacks only).

*This year’s training will focus on personal spiritual growth and leader development, strategically according to where you in this season of your life. Also included are fellowship with other leaders, coaches, and then key elements of the church’s vision and winter/spring  dates.

**This year’s training involves videos to watch beforehand. A link to five videos will be sent to all leaders who then choose two of the five to watch, based on where you are currently in your personal leadership life-season.

  • Signups: Signups will officially be open to new members starting on Dec. 30/31, with the list of open groups passed down the aisles in church the following two weeks.
  • Kickoff: Winter/Spring Semester officially kicks off the week of January 14. Leaders of open groups, be prepared to proactively welcome new people right away!  

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Our mission and vision remain the same:

Small Group Mission Banner 8 logo1

All our small group training sessions are always open to everyone. Families and discipleship groups are welcome to attend together.

The Winter/Spring Semester runs through the end of May, so it’s a bit longer than the Fall Semester, leaving you room to do more things and have more fun and transformative experiences.

May God be glorified in our ministry,

Pastor Reg

Planning Your Next Semester: Winter/Spring 2017

plan

Praise God, our groups are winding down a memorable Fall 2016 Semester. This post is to help leaders pray & plan for next semester.

How NOT to Start Your Next Semester

So, let’s start with how NOT to start your next semester.

A typical question leaders are asking is: “What curriculum should I kickoff the Winter/Spring semester with?” My preferred answer would be… NONE!

This goes back to why our groups exist. Are these groups Bible studies alone? No, definitely not. But, experience teaches that if a group launches their term immediately with the new Bible study curriculum on the first week, then that group will become forever locked into the “study” mold and mentality, as if that is all you exist to do, no matter what you try to do later.

The Solution: Start your semester with some of the other vital small group elements which often get crowded out:

  • Start with a meal or fun night. You are a spiritual family, after all. Set the tone to enjoy each other!

communion_t

  • Start with a worship, prayer, and/or communion night, seeking God’s guidance and setting a worshipful pattern for your year.
  • Start with a service/outreach project, or series of them, declaring: “We are going to be the hands and feet of Jesus!”
  • Start with sharing a few personal salvation testimonies, to celebrate God’s grace in our lives and get to know each other well.group-worship
  • Start with having the kids involved in worship, so they see Jesus Christ as the center for your group’s existence.
  • Then, start your curriculum, having become close friends and spiritual siblings; soul mates and teammates. We have 16-20 weeks in the Winter/Spring Semester. No need to rush into a curriculum, there is plenty of time to do it all!

Provided Calendar: Be ready to pull out that Winter/Spring Calendar with your group to plan out the entire semester together – host locations, fun days, weeks off, trips together, meal plans… whatever you can plan. It is found in the first couple pages of the Leader and Member Toolkits.

NOW, Choose the Right Curriculum

currSince our foundation is God’s Word, a good curriculum or Bible study plan is a vital tool. Come browse our many curriculums in the church library, where you can access and check out materials.

And, don’t forget that you can help us keep building up our curriculum library, with…

“The Lake City Offer”

If you are interested in using a curriculum we do not currently have, I will buy the leader book and DVD (if there is one) for you if you will return it when finished, to add to our library. Your group members will just buy their own participant guides, if there is one. This offer helps future groups and eliminates any hesitation based on the cost of a study!
NOTE: A list of our available and recommended curriculums can be found in the 2016-17 Leader Toolkit, page 29.

Important Dates

Here are a few important dates for your calendars:

  • *Leader Training: As always, there is one required January training session for all leaders, offered twice, for your scheduling convenience:
    • Option 1 – Sunday, January 8, 10:00-11:15AM.
    • Option 2 – For those who cannot attend the January 8 session, come to the makeup session on Saturday, January 21, during one of the 50-minute workshops of the Church Family Summit. Attend just this workshop, or better the entire half-day seminar.

*This year’s training will focus on “The Why?”, local and global small group missions, conflict resolution, key winter/spring dates, and more.

  • Signups: Signups will officially be open to new members starting on Dec. 31/Jan. 1.
  • Kickoff: Winter/Spring Semester officially kicks off the week of January 15. Be prepared to welcome new people, if possible.  

FINAL THOUGHTS:

All Summit workshops and small group training sessions are always open to everyone. Families and discipleship groups are welcome to attend together.

The Winter/Spring Semester runs through early June, so it’s a bit longer than the Fall Semester, leaving you room to do more things and have more fun and transformative experiences.

Our mission and vision remain the same:

Small Group Mission Banner 8 logo1

May God be glorified in our ministry,

Pastor Reg

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

You'll get through this

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Calendar

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

Books and DVDs

You'll Get Through This

From “You’ll Get Through This”, DVD

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

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

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

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

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

Finding rest, in God alone, 

Pastor Reg 

 

How We Prepared for the “Why Am I Here?” Series


why am i here 4

“Why Am I Here?” It’s not only the most famous and important question of mankind’s history, but also the title of LCCC’s fall all-church series. Below is an email I just sent to our small group leaders, recapping our first big preparation meeting. I want to give the whole church family a peak at the preparations their leaders are making right now. After all, why just keep it to the small group leaders when it involves everyone??

Hi Small Group Leaders and Friends, 

We had a great turnout, and I think a great time, on Sunday – 44 veteran and new leaders and curious people. 

Our morning included eight parts to get us ready for the fall:

  1. A short devo on “communion” – in which I mentioned that our little Gabby has trusted Jesus and took communion for her first time Saturday night!!  I also urged everyone, again, to lead their groups in communion at least once a semester, for which I’ve given guidelines here – Communion in Small Groups: More than a Good Idea.  
  2. First Round of Prayer – PRAYER FOR US
  3. A look at the Fall Calendar (attached-Calendar – Fall Sermon Series 2013 – for small group leaders)
  4. A big picture reminder and way to process our commitment to THE MISSION of making disciples, and how LCCC is growing in that area.
  5. A walk through our in-house “Why Am I Here?” Study Guide for the fall, which was about 80% finished. I invited all who were present to give feedback on the draft’s content, and have since received some. Thanks, and keep it coming!  Our deadline for the final copy is the evening of September 5. The guides will be available for purchase, for $5 each, starting at the MINISTRY SUMMIT (9/14).
  6. Noted the exciting way we’re doing the “application” steps each week this fall. First, the sermon notes will fit into your series guides each week, for your group’s discussion and application of each sermon’s “Next Steps.” Second, the Faith In Action team is organizing several terrific opportunities for small groups and all LCCC family to reach into the community and/or meet needs within our church. I’m very excited how easy this will make it for our groups to put their faith in action, and even join others as they do.
  7. A look at some new, useful sections in the updated 2013/14 TOOLKIT; and then a look at a draft of the MINISTRY SUMMIT schedule, which you don’t want to miss, on Saturday September 14! (also attached-ROUGH SCHEDULE – MINISTRY SUMMIT 2013 – 4).
  8. And finally, the Second Round of Prayer – PRAYER FOR OUR PEOPLE.

I believe God is going to use us all greatly for His purposes and glory this fall. Glad to be in it with you,

Pastor Reg

P.S. Small Group Sign-ups begin this weekend!  The catalogs (list of our groups) will be distributed to everyone, so please take a look to see if we have all the accurate info for you.  If you are not pictured, and expect to lead or co-lead a group; plan to come to the MINISTRY SUMMIT, and let’s talk! 

Join us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lakecitycommunitychurch & www.facebook.com/lakecitysmallgroups 

LCCC UPDATES — Christmas Offering, Family Survey, Events


Each one of these updates requires some kind of a response/action this time. It’s all great stuff, so enjoy! And blessings on your homes and ministries,

-Reg

·

CHRISTMAS OFFERING

Hopefully you received Pastor Jim’s Christmas offering letter in the mail last week, which presents (no pun intended) an opportunity to further LCCC’s Kingdom work and our personal growth through sacrificial giving.  This offering will go towards three very special ministry areas, and is devoted to nothing less than the glory of God. “…so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God” (2 Cor. 4:15).

The pastors and elders have agreed to lead the way in sacrificial giving; we know we’ll be blessed.  We want to ask you to lead that way with us; and join in the blessings from sacrifice. (Matt 19:29) And, will you pass that challenge on to your small group? Lead your group in one of the most Christlike actions – giving.  (Phil. 2:6-11(2 Cor. 8 & 9)

FAMILY SURVEY

If you haven’t taken LCCC’s family survey yet, please take just a few minutes to do so.   Your input will greatly assist the developments in family ministry at LCCC!  Take the survey at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/RB6KLJQ

JBC CONFERENCE TRIP

Pastor Jim tries to take a group from LCCC to this conference every year. This year we are paying for the small group leaders and assistants to come – a great investment in our church.  And a fun time for all who go!  We would LOVE if you could come.  Find the details on our online community website’s home page.  The deadline for hotel reservations is January 3. Please let me know very soon if you’re considering it? In fact, shoot me an email right now if you’re at least considering, at: reg.overstreet@lc3.com.

AHS CHALLENGE for TILLICUM

Several of you are aware of the national competition for a community renewal grant from AHA and Habitat for Humanity.  http://www.ahschallenge.com/ Our own Tillicum is in a dramatic battle to win, and we can help by clicking some buttons! There is screaming pressure coming from the Columbus, Ohio project!  Many in the LCCC family are already voting daily, but we need more!  Catch the fever and vote daily here  http://www.ahschallenge.com/Participants.aspx (Sort by # of votes – we should be on top.) Only 45 days left!

GREAT COMMISSION-FOCUSED WINTER

By the providence of God, LCCC will experience a number of exciting Great Commission oriented moments this winter, making disciples by every means possible. Here is a bullet point list of what to expect and plan with your small groups.

  • December 26 – Commissioning of Bobbi Bails on a 6 month mission to tour with a Ugandan Children’s Choir
  • January 1/2 – Commissioning our Moscow Stuff-a-Stocking Team
  • January 8/9 – Small Group Leader Training; and Guest SIM Missionary Kendrick Lau and family will be giving a brief update on Niger, and speaking to our children and youth and possibly any interested small groups.
  • January 15/16 – Small Group Connection event; and official Winter/Spring Semester Small Group Kick Off!
  • January 17-19 – JBC Prayer Conference Trip!
  • January 28-29 – David and Kelli Pritchard Marriage Conference; the Pritchards are also leading two Sunday morning parenting workshops in January, dates still TBD. These are GREAT opportunities for the parents and families of your small groups whom you are discipling.
  • January 22/23 – New Leader Orientation; heavy promotion of Howie Brant Missions Weekend (Feb 12/13)
  • February 4 – MOPS  Auction
  • February 12/13 – “40 Years of Purpose” Missions Weekend with Howie and Jo Brant. Starts Saturday with Morning Manna in the morning, and Family Missions Presentation and dinner or dessert on Saturday night.  Continues Sunday with various events.  Also, commissioning of Niger Mission Team this weekend.
  • February 19 – Membership 101 Class; …also, Ministry Class 301 is being scheduled for either February or March
  • March – Concert of Prayer with full report from Moscow and Niger Missions Teams, date TBD

Whew, so many opportunities to grow our small groups in discipleship of every kind. And I’m sure I missed something, but thanks for taking the time to begin praying and planning. God bless you as you do.  MERRY CHRISTMAS!!