An Essay on Community from a Chipotle Drink Cup

CultivatingThought2Cups_Kingsolver02I was eating lunch yesterday at Chipotle with my family and I happened to notice this short essay on my drink cup. It’s from an author named Barbara Kingsolver and it is apart of a series of writing called Cultivating Thought. Here is what she wrote,

TWO-MINUTE CHEER FOR THE HOME TEAM
by BARBARA KINGSOLVER

The ancient human social construct that once was common in this land was called community. We lived among our villagers, depending on them for what we needed. If we had a problem, we did not discuss it over the phone with someone in Mumbai. We went to a neighbor. We acquired food from farmers. We listened to music in groups, in churches or on front porches. We danced. We participated. Even when there was no money in it. Community is our native state. You play hardest for a hometown crowd. You become your best self. You know joy. This is not a guess, there is evidence. The scholars who study social well-being can put it on charts and graphs.

The happiest people are the ones with the most community.

In the last 30 years our material wealth has increased in this country, but our self-described happiness has steadily declined. Elsewhere, the people who consider themselves very happy are not in the very poorest nations, as you might guess, nor in the very richest. The winners are Mexico, Ireland, Puerto Rico, the kinds of places we identify with extended family, noisy villages, a lot of dancing. The happiest people are the ones with the most community.

Many people will read this essay and agree with the author’s general point. The world is not what it was. The simpler times that we once knew are no more and many of us long to return to them. While I agree that the picture that the author paints is of a time and place that I can remember in some aspects. What I take away from this essay is the last line.

“The happiest people are the ones with the most community.”

The people who I know who feel the most happiness in this life are the ones who choose to spend it with other people. To let other people into our lives and walk with us is one of
the smartest and at the same time one of the most humble things we can do. As a Small Group Pastor I have seen firsthand the power of this played out in the lives of the people who I pastor and also in my own life.

The world is desperately in need of community! Not the kind of fake, I know you online but have no clue what happens in your life from Monday-Friday kind of community! Invite others into your life. Make lunch and coffee appointments with someone and watch your level of happiness rise. We were never made to make this journey alone! Seek out the happiness you may be missing by connecting with other people around a table, sharing a meal, and enjoying the blessing of community.

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What Makes a Good Small Group Pastor? – Part 4 of the Changing Nature of the Small Group Pastor’s Role

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Many men & women who are currently serving in full-time time ministry often entertain the thought of ‘jumping into small group ministry’. Often this is coming from a place of frustration with their current role or the ‘warm-fuzzies’ they have experienced from being in small group. As Ben Reed so nicely wrote in a blog article[1] “But being a groups pastor isn’t all rainbows and butterflies. Or if that’s not your thing…it’s not all coffee and bagels. Turns out, this is hard work…” Small groups deal with people and their mess! As Heather Zempel has noted in her excellent book “Community is Messy”[2] that many were ‘stirred’ into getting involved in small groups because of a talk, sermon, or lesson that focused on how great community is and how it fits neatly into the “New Testament” Pattern. But then something happened – people came to our groups! Whenever people are involved things always get messy! Why? Because people bring their hurts, hang-ups, and habits into our perfect communities. Without getting too far off track discussing the nature of Small Group Ministry and how to negotiate the challenges of ministering to people in their mess, the question of what makes a good Small Group Pastor is still on the table.

 

What makes a good Small Group Pastor? In my opinion, the role of the Small Group Pastor must be filled with someone who posses a make-up and gifting that is vastly different today than it was even just a few years ago. The challenge is finding candidates who posses the right qualifications and makeup to be successful in the role. Bill Donahue & Russ Robinson have correctly observed[3], “Small group point leaders aren’t churned out by the seminaries. The position is still under development across many churches and there’s not a vast pool of veteran small group champions looking for employment.” So what characteristics or qualities make a good Small Groups Pastor? We answer this question by looking at gifting and core competencies over the next several days.

 

Question: What qualities or characteristics make someone a good Small Group Pastor?

 

 

 

 

[1] Ben Reed, “10 things Nobody Told Me about Being a Small Group Pastor” November 26, 2012. www.benreed.net

[2] Zempel,Heather . “Community is Messy” . IVP. (2012) . 23-24.

[3] Donahue, Bill & Robinson, Russ. Building a Life-Changing Small Group Ministry. Zondervan.(2012), 50.

Our Churches are Becoming Larger – Part 3 of the Changing Nature of the Small Group Pastor’s Role

The ‘Megachurch’ as we know it is a phenomena that was only been around for about 20 plus years, but in that time it is growing both numerically and in influence. According to Robert Crosby[1] in 1980 there were only 150 megacchange-ahead-hrhurches compared with 1,600 today. Also when you look at the total number of people who attend a church regularly, 50% of these people attend a megachurch, ‘though megachurches] only account for 10 percent of American congregations’[2]. The numbers show that these ‘big churches are getting even bigger’[3] so it would stand to reason that if a church wants to make small group ministry a priority in their church, they must find a way to incorporate a small group system or ministry on a much larger scope than they may have had to in the past.

 

 

Question: What effect has the megachurch phenomenon had upon Small Group Ministry?

 

 

———————-

[1] Crosby, Robert. “MegaChange: 10 Trends ReShaping the American Megachurch” Outreach Magazine. (September, 2013).

[2] ibid

[3] ibid

Relaunching my blog

 

relaunchrocket

Spurred on by my having read Michael Hyatt’s book ‘Platform‘ I am re-launching a redesigned and updated blog today. To coincide with my blog re-launch, I will be publishing a series of posts that will be taken from an article that I recently completed called “The Changing Nature of the Small Group Pastor’s Role.” It is my hope that these posts will spurn further discussion about this topic and help contribute to this article’s further development. I invite you to follow my blog and contribute to the conversation.

Great thoughts from my friend Ken. If you are a pastor of a church in need of a consultant I highly recommend Ken

Ken McGarity.com

Do you need help getting unstuck? Learn about The Cycle of Healthy Transformation
Romans 12:2 (NKJV) – And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

  • Why do some people seem to constantly be moving forward in life while others seem stuck?
  • What are the people who are growing and becoming more healthy doing, that others are not?
  • What causes some people to get off track while others are able to stay intentionally focused?

These questions and many others just like them are common in my line of work. I usually get the phone call from people or organizations when they are running out of answers to those kinds of questions. They are tired from trying all that they know to try. Or possibly, they are struggling to find the ongoing motivation to continue to try and figure it…

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The Next Chapter

Earlier this month, the leadership of Westridge Church announced that a decision had been made to cease operating the West Paulding Location where i have served for the past two years as a staff member. When this decision was announced I began to seek counsel as to what God was calling me and my family to do and it appears that God has opened up an amazing opportunity at another church in my area. While I am not ready to make the name of that church public yet I do feel confident in this decision.

I want to take a moment and thank the leaders and staff of Westridge for the amazing opportunity that was offered to me to be a part of the staff at the West Paulding Location. The team of leaders that I served alongside and lead are some of the most dedicated and talents leaders that I have had the privilege of knowing. To my Pastor Brian Bloye and his amazing wife Amy I count it my honor to have been under your leadership for a season.

I look forward to announcing my next ministry opportunity in the coming weeks and for what God is going to accomplish next and I get to witness and participate in.