Small Group Leaders

How and When to Launch a Small Group: The Role of the Holy Spirit, Prayer, Laundry Rooms, Swimming Pools, and Game Nights


Right after Heidi and I got married, we moved into a forty-unit apartment building. We wanted to start a small group to reach out to the people who lived there who did not have a relationship with God, but we had no idea how to start one. So I asked Glen, a minister at the church we attended, how we …

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Small Group Leaders

Small Group Fireplaces #5: Prayer Produces Growth


Provide the right environment, and growth happens. For my four children–all now teens and young adults–growth is natural. As long as their mom and I provided the right conditions–good nutrition, a safe environment, opportunities for exercise, as well as schooling, spiritual disciplines, the power of example, and so forth–we knew growth would be automatic. Lack of growth would have meant …

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Small Group Leaders

Small Group Fireplaces: #4 – Group Members Pray for One Another


When you add another log to the fire, you know what happens. It is soon ablaze itself and it eventually helps keep the other logs burning as well. But the log must be touching the other logs. Set a fresh log outside the fireplace and not much happens. This is what we love about community: We fire each other up. …

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Small Group Leaders

Small Group Fireplaces Series: #3 – Groups Pray


When groups pray together, it’s like adding logs to the fire. This is part three of a blog series I’m calling “Small Group Fireplaces.” In Part One, I stated that small groups can be the fireplace, or the environment, where revival and transformation can occur, but it’s not the fire, or even the match. In Part Two, I began describing …

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Small Group Leaders

Small Group Fireplaces Series: #2 – Leaders Pray


Small groups have no more chance of initiating revival or transforming people’s lives than an empty fireplace has of starting a fire. Your small group should be a fireplace–an environment where God will do what only he can do in changing people’s lives. But you are not the fire, or even a match. I began this blog series by describing …

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Small Group Leaders

Your Small Group Can Be a Fireplace (but it’s not the fire)


Our country needs revival. Our churches need revival. And some believe small groups are the answer. They aren’t. Small groups have no more chance of initiating revival than a fireplace has of starting a fire. No programs, methods, philosophies, or forms can bring about what only God can do. Regardless of how biblically sound, culturally relevant, and structurally effective they …

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Ministry Leaders

What Our Church Learned by Surveying the Health of Our Groups


“Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds.”   — Proverbs 27:23 “Several years ago, our senior pastor asked me a simple question: ‘Are our small groups healthy?’ I could tell him all the reasons why I thought they were healthy. I could tell a few stories. I could talk about what I had …

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Spiritual Life

When Your Picture of Your Daddy Has Been Twisted – Cinda’s Story


I first met Cinda (not her real name) in the apartment building laundry room. I learned quickly that she lived with her boyfriend, Nick, and was taking classes at the University of Cincinnati. My wife, Heidi, and I got to know Cinda and Nick over the next couple years, hanging out with them at the apartment-building pool, playing cards, and …

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Leader's Heart-Overflow

How to Add More Candles to Your Cake (So You Can Become More Childlike)


It takes maturity to have childlike faith. This is a vital principle for the Christ follower. It’s fundamental for a Christian leader. It’s basic for discipling someone. This is Part 3 of a series in which I’m exploring one Bible verse: “[God] bends down and listens” (Psalm 116:2). (Read Part 1 and Part 2.) I defined childlike faith as “complete trust in our Daddy, even …

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Spiritual Life

What Our Daddy’s Stooping Down to Us Requires from Us


God is a Daddy who lovingly stoops down to us, and that requires something of us. Yesterday, I blogged about this irresistible image of our almighty God bending down to look us in the eyes and listen to us (Psalm 116:2). Our Father does not expect us to do the impossible–to climb our way up to him; the unholy to strive to …

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