Helping someone become a fully devoted follower of Christ is not for the faint of heart. There will be times of elated joy and times of extreme frustration. People’s lives are messy, and walking this journey with them gives you a backstage pass to the ugliness.
Over the years I have done a handful of small group workshops for lay leaders, youth pastors, small group pastors and senior pastors. Every time I lead one, I always try to leave time at the end for some Q&A. I love the question and answer time because it has that raw, organic small-group feel of spontaneous transactions. While the questions vary, there are definitely three questions in particular that I consistently receive.
One of the challenging dynamics of leading a small group workshop for leaders from different churches is that every church is different. They’re different because of their geographic location, the model of ministry the church has, the type of people who attend the church and the interpretation of what a small group is in their church. Sometimes, “small groups” can mean something different for two people that even attend the same church!
The gifts of the Spirit awaken people to God (see Acts 3:1-10), but it’s the fruit of the Spirit that changes people’s lives.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law" (Galatians 5:22-23, NKJV).
This is one of our main goals in ministering to others: cultivate the fruit of the Spirit in their character, behavior and overall life.
[Ed. Note: In the following post, Brian Jones reflects on a blog post dialogue with his former small groups pastor, Frank Chiapperino. Brian encapsulates that five-year-old discussion in "Why Churches Should Euthanize Their Small Groups."]
In the last five years, some core convictions regarding the process of discipleship have been solidified.
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