Grabbing a quick bite before the Meredith Andrews concert! – at Whole Foods Market – See on Path.
At Tri-Valley Chinese Bible Church – See on Path.
If you are a pastor or church leader looking for a book to guide and revamp your small group ministry, this is the book for you. Brad House was a pastor at Mars Hill Church (Seattle, WA), and has written Community: Taking Your Small Group Off Life Support.
This is a book that is full of helpful ideas and structures for intentional small groups that are geared towards the mission of making disciples. There are numerous charts throughout and plans in the appendix ministers everywhere ought to take back to their church and contextualize these tools for their local church.
The book starts off with the gospel as the foundation of church and from there House paints a picture of how effective community group ministry can happen. And how the trellis of church structures can grow alongside of the vine of the members in community.Strengths
Notable strengths in the book Community is House’s methodology of pastoral care. Or rather, this is Mars Hill’s structure of having “community groups [that] are the primary vehicle for care in the church. We still provide one-on-one counseling for cases that require it, but we want the majority of that care to take place as the church loves one another and lives out the gospel together” (59). I
had never thought of pastoral care in such a way, and so I was deeply intrigued by how the body of the church in community can help care for the body itself. From having thought of pastoral care only as the responsibility of the pastor(s), this is quite enlightening and freeing. And in a context where the church is growing (as in the case of Mars Hill), then this is especially necessary practically.
Also of note is House’s emphasis on the church taking “ownership” of these principles of gospel community. Indeed, chapter 3 are pages that every pastor needs to read over and over. Ministers of the gospel cannot just teach and preach the mission and vision of the church and principles of gospel community living; we must have members own it for themselves. “To own an ideology, vision, or mission is to take possession of it, to make it your own. It is to internalize it to the point where not only can you reiterate it, but also you can teach it, defend it, and live it” (69).Conclusion
I could say much more, but for now, I suggest you pick up this book and read. Mark up the sections that could really work and apply for your church. I am sure that Community will give you lots of ideas for revitalizing your small groups towards greater faithfulness in making disciples who make disciples.
Brad House, Community: Taking Your Small Group Off Life Support, (Crossway, 2011). Also available on Kindle.
The following was my recommendation remarks presented to my Church Leadership Team in regards to the English Worship Time Change proposal:
I believe that it is the hearts of our church members that needs to change primarily. Even though a change in time may make EM Worship Service attendance more likely for some in a practical sense, what is at the heart of the problem is the heart: having a heart that desires to worship The Lord.We need gospel transformation, not simply a time change.
- change in our *prioritization* of family and church: above school, work, extra curriculars, Chinese School;
- transformation of our church member’s (ESP parent’s) desire to come to church and bring their kids;
- development and equipping of the family in discipleling their kids well in The Lord;
Our growth in faith and in service to God is rendered meaningless when we ourselves do not do the work of discipleship m
I am convinced that our Lord desires in each and every one of us gospel growth. Change that is brought about in our hearts because of the presence of the Spirit of Christ. Transformation happens over time when we take small steps in ourselves and our children. When we stop making exceptions for their spiritual health. When we start working in the office less and spend more time with our children–outside of and especially in church.
A time change will not help us to face the greater heart issue, and it rather let’s some families to continue without reconsidering what gospel issues are really at stake.
Time change of Worship Service will notably disrupt some existing church programs. And a location change will affect some in our perception of a worship environment. Yet I am most concerned about the foundational issues of worship and discipleship.
For these reasons, I recommend that we do NOT change the English Worship time and location at this time.
Minister Alex S. Leung
Many kids know God.
Or rather they know about God. That is, they are aware of many facts about the deity that they hear of from church-going parents. They hear about God when they get put through my Worship Services and Youth ministry.
However, many kids do not know God for themselves. That is, they don’t have any intimate relationship with him. They know from my lips that that is what they ultimately need. Yet many do not have a personal relationship with the God and Father of our Lord and Savior. As evident in their day to day behavior inside and outside of church, they do not actually “follow” Christ (Matt 4:18-22).
Yet many parents think the 3hours or so a week I spend with them will “make them love God”.Supernatural Regeneration
Unregenerate sinners have no place in serving in the church of Jesus Christ. We cannot use “service” or “training for serving” as a means to bring salvation for souls.
Because all that does not give then a right relationship with God; such does not bring about supernatural regeneration. This is only superficial religion when acts of service is done for the goal of bringing about salvation.
Another clubs or group initialized by parents will not bring about new birth. What this generation needs is not more programs where parents drop off their kids for another “lesson” about God or training in how to serve in church. Teaching ways of sanctification to the spiritual rebels will get us nowhere. It only leads them to legalism. Because they are but sons of disobedience and children of wrath, when they don’t have a new heart. We already had a generation of Pharisees in Jesus day, and look how far that superficial religiosity got them.
What is missing in our churches is a generation of youngsters who are born again.The Church’s Discipleship
Like I have said again and again, regeneration is the greatest need in today’s church. This is where the discipleship starts. And this will always be the root of gospel-centered discipleship.
And how discipleship happens is through one generation disciplig the younger generation personally, daily. Yes, this means parents who disciple their kids day in and day out, and not simply dropping them off for a professional (or skilled amateur) to care for. Personal discipleship, not professional discipleship.
The church needs a generation of parents who lead their children to love God by way of example, through spending time and more time with them. We need to take time hanging out with them. Doing fun and stupid things with them. To build a trusting relationship with our children. And slowly but surely, be shaping them by the cross, that they may have new heats that burn for the Word of Christ.
It will take time away from the office.
And maybe time away for our own “serving” in church.
But the fruit of such a ministry will be a new generation that is dead to sin and alive to God. This is what we need to pray for and what we need to plan for: a generation of regeneration.
The Virgin America Club Level at @ATTPark is #beautiful >,Path.