I’ve been talking about the first sign of a healthy small group. It must be Christ-centered. Heather Zempel (at right) put it so well in her blog November 23. Check it out:
“The disciples didn’t lay their lives down for a cause but for a person.”
That’s how Dave Buehring kicked off his talk on the Ways of God at our Kaboom Retreat (formerly zone leader/team leader retreat) this weekend.
For some reason, that one statement is really challenging me personally and challenging the way I lead my team. I fear that I have spent too much time motivating people to a cause- make disciples, advance the Kingdom, create culture, change a generation, etc. That’s all good stuff, but it’s not the ultimate goal, is it? Maybe I should focus a bit more on simply elevating the person of Jesus Christ.

Causes are good. Causes build fans and create evangelists. Christ is better. He builds communities of faith and creates martyrs. Not that we all want to rush out to the Colosseum to volunteer ourselves for lion dinner. But laying down our lives is one of the ways we follow Jesus Christ.

The disciples didn’t lay their lives down for some great cause that had captivated their emotions and imaginations. They laid their lives down for a person who had already laid his own life down for them.

Why am I more cause focused than person focused? Perhaps it is more comfortable and easy for me to acquaint myself with and attach myself to a cause than to enter a messy and flesh-killing relationship with Jesus Christ.

Read Heather’s blog here.

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Michael Mack has been involved in small group ministry as a pastor, writer, trainer, and speaker for more than 25 years. He founded SmallGroups.com in 1995 and started Small Group Leadership in 2012. He became the 12th editor of Christian Standard magazine in 2017 and continues to speak in churches about small groups, discipleship, and leadership. He lives in Pewee Valley, Kentucky (just outside Louisville), with his wife Heidi. They have four young adult children. Michael enjoys mountain and road biking with a group of friends. See the "About Michael Mack" page under About Us for more about him.

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