I have had the privilege to lead dozens of small groups over the years. I have had really good groups and some groups that were more challenging. Now this is the group I don't ever want to lead....Enjoy.
Sunday at Restore was another of those great weekends. We talked about what it means to connect at a 2.0 level. How God desires for us to be in community with others to a point where relationships develop that don't just make life better, they change eternities. Here is a video we shared of life transformations coming from relationships developed in a small group.
And to top it all off 5 people took their faith public and were baptized including an elementary student, two high school seniors, and two mothers. I love watching people get baptized and hearing their stories. God is stil in the business of changing lives and eternities.
Sunday at Restore we had our second Taste of Small Groups and it was completely over the top. This has become more of an extravaganza than an event. Each of our 15 adult small group put out displays with some of their best treats.
Of course the competition heated up a bit. What began as just some tables with treats and information has grown to full fledged decoration and explosion of food.
Our group had homemade cinnamon rolls and photos of all each of our group members "then" and we asked folks to guess who they were now. Other groups brought in bales of straw to decorate with a fall theme, and play houses to decorate with a home theme, and an entire mexican dinner theme. And then the grillers took over with a fire pit outside making S'mores, a grill for hamburgers and then to top it off one group brought a grill made from the rear end of VW Bug.
The best part of the entire day was that somewhere between 25 and 40 people made connections to join a small group. We will see in the coming weeks the number that actually get grouped, but great conversations were happening all over the place.
Just 6 weeks ago our new small group started. We launched this group in the middle of June. If you have asked me a year ago, would I recommend launching a new small group in the summer, I would have said no way. Tonight I came home from group totally pumped. It happened again. God showed up and community came alive. We had deep discussion about God's Word and about the our lives. We talked the whole night about communion and baptism. Here is a gathering of 10 people who didn't know each other when the summer began and are now really doing life together. All I can say is SMALL GROUPS ROCK!!!
This afternoon, my sons (Jake and Mitch) and myself were invited to go trap shooting with Rex Goodnight, one of Restore's first launch team members and small group leaders. We were joined by a couple of additional Restore staff members in Patrick O'Connell and our very first leadership resident Brandon Leininger. Patrick brought his son Declan along as well.
It has been years since I fired a gun and I had never went trap shooting. Now shooting a gun was a regular activity when I was a kid growing up in central MO. I used to go shoot 22 at bottles and cans in the woods. However, neither of my boyz had ever fired a gun, so they were excited and nervous.
Rex was amazingly patient with us and coached us extremely well on safety and technique. We kicked off with stationary targets just to get the feel and then started launching some clay targets in the air. After a few misses I started to find the groove. Oh what fun it was to blow those little things up in mid air.
I was especially proud of the boyz as we concluded our time with a best of 5 and both hit 3 of 5 clay targets. Thanks so much to Rex and Brandon for having all the right gear. It will be their fault if a side trip to Cabela's results in the purchase of a Benelli shotgun.
Sometime ago, my wife Janet (Director of Community at Restore) wrote a mini article on how to lead a small group when you have individiuals with difficult personalities. Just recently, this article was picked up by Christianity Today. You can read the entire article here.
Way to go Janet. Great article, and I am really proud of you.