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Posted by on Nov 24, 2010 in Blog |

Give Thanks…and Then Give

Thanksgiving is such an appropriate holiday for followers of Christ because we have so much to be thankful for.  This special Thursday is really just a snapshot of what we do together every week–we give thanks to God for all that He has done for us.  But for many families, ‘thanks’ are more difficult to give this year.  We don’t have to think very hard to come up with a name (or several names) of someone we know who is facing difficult financial circumstances.  It is likely that some are reading this post right now. That’s why my thoughts have turned to something I have not done a good job of promoting with our groups this year–the Hope Chest.  The Hope Chest is a fund that directly benefits Pleasant Ridge members who are experiencing financial hard times.  Traditionally, the Hope Chest has been a feature of Sunday Night services.  But as our numbers on Sunday evenings have declined over the years, so has our capacity to respond to those...

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Posted by on Nov 18, 2010 in Blog |

Open Groups – Part 5: Remind Members that Group Life is 24/7

This is the final post in this series regarding “open groups”.  If you’re just now joining the conversation that started with a question by some of our group leaders and a phone call between me and Rick Howerton, you can get up to speed by catching up on the previous four posts: Part 1: Open GroupsPart 2: Kingdom MindsetPart 3: The Open ChairPart 4: The Group Covenant    In a way, I have inadvertently saved the “best” for last.  I believe this final bit of wisdom shared by Rick strikes at the heart of small group life.  Unfortunately, it is a key element that can easily be overlooked, leading to a small group becoming nothing more than another event added to our already overbooked schedules.  When it comes to promoting an open group, Rick says: “Help people to see that groups are 24/7, not a once-a-week meeting.  Deep intimacy among members can be maintained even when the group is open as they ‘do life’ together outside the once-a-week meeting.” A...

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Posted by on Nov 16, 2010 in Blog |

Project Warmth – Share with Your Group

This year Pleasant Ridge has agreed to be a collection site for Project Warmth, an annual event to bring coats and blankets to our city’s homeless men, women, and children.  Project Warmth is coordinated by the Arlington Life Shelter, an organization that our members have been deeply involved in for the past couple of years (You can see our own Jamie Mihills in their Fall 2010 Newsletter). Please encourage your group members to bring their gently used coats and blankets to the collection box in the Atrium between now and the end of November.  Of course, new coats and blankets will be appreciated as well.  Its just one more way we can make a difference “one person at a...

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Posted by on Nov 9, 2010 in Blog |

Open Groups – Part 4: The Group Covenant

Welcome to Part 4 of this 5-Part series of articles on “open groups”.  If you’re just catching up with the conversation, be sure and read the preceding articles as well: Part 1: Open GroupsPart 2: Kingdom MindsetPart 3: The Open Chair As the title suggests, this tip revolves around the group covenant.  As your group formed, you should have spent some time discussing the “ground rules” for your group—the expectations for what group life will be like and what your group will value.  If you want to learn more about group covenants and see some examples, you can read the following: Christianity Today Article on Group Covenants In my conversation with Rick Howerton, he talked about the simple role of the group covenant in maintaining an open group: “Build openness and growth into the group covenant from the beginning.” The best way to keep a group on track toward growth and openness is by putting those values down on paper during the formation stage of the group.  If you...

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