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Posted by on Feb 19, 2014 in Blog, Life, Small Group Resources |

When Faith Intersects with Our Careers

When Faith Intersects with Our Careers

A few months ago, I had the privilege of hearing J. D. Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in North Carolina, speak about making work Christian. Unfortunately when most Christians think of trying to combine their faith and their careers, they assume they must work for a Christian company, a non-profit, or—at the very least—a company with a not-so-subtle Christianese name (e.g., a coffee shop called "He Brews"). Or, if they can't seem to find a job at the right kind of company, many assume that combining their faith and careers requires sharing their faith in very direct, even awkward, ways. But Greear set the record straight. One fact that he shared completely blew me away. Pointing to Acts, he stated that of the three great church planting centers in the ancient world (Antioch, Alexandria, and Rome), not one was founded by an apostle. Rather, the gospel was spread the furthest by ordinary business people on the coattails of commerce. Instead of specially trained missionaries telling people about Jesus,...

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Posted by on Feb 15, 2014 in Kingdom, Small Group Resources |

Eating Well to the Glory of God

Eating Well to the Glory of God

In our country, there's a disconnect between eating well and having a body that is able to do what God calls us to do. We eat for enjoyment, for celebration, and even as a drug, but most of us don't consider how healthy eating affects how well we're able to fulfill our callings. Whether or not you're overweight, this is an important topic, and we can all learn how to treat our bodies better so that we can better carry out our kingdom work. This brief video from This Is Our City explains more about why we must understand this relationship between food and calling. Consider showing it to your group and discussing the implications. For a deeper discussion, use our new Bible study Body Matters. In three sessions, your group members will discuss our value in Christ, why our bodies matter to God, and how to set healthy goals to improve our...

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Posted by on Feb 3, 2014 in Small Group Resources |

Reflections on Real Love

Reflections on Real Love

I’ve been thinking a lot about biblical community lately and what it really looks like. And I keep coming back to the “one another” commands in the Bible. The writers of the New Testament really wanted Christ-followers to understand what it looks like to live life well with others. I’m thankful for great friends in my life that regularly love on me and allow me to love on them. We encourage one another, challenge one another, and carry each other’s burdens. Life lived with others truly is better. Small groups are a wonderful place for people to learn the one another commands and practice them. I purposely say “practice” because they aren’t always easy to follow. Sometimes people rub us the wrong way, or we flat out disagree, or there are personality clashes. Despite this, we’re called to love one another and live in biblical community. So this February, the month of Valentine’s Day and love, we’re taking a look at 28 different verses that talk about how we’re...

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Posted by on Jan 13, 2014 in Small Group Resources |

Top 10 Articles of 2013

Top 10 Articles of 2013

With 2013 officially in the books, we're counting down the top 10 articles of the year. I'm happy that two focus on healthy leadership: "The Antidote to Burnout" and "Silence and Solitude." It seems many of you are looking to increase the health of your spiritual leadership, and that's a great thing. Other popular articles focus on the nitty gritty of leading a group like "Shake It Up!" and "Build Real Friendships in Your Group." Check out the list below and let us know your favorite articles of the year. Plus, don't miss our top three articles from previous years at the end of the article. These articles are consistently popular year after year! 1. The Antidote to Burnout Abiding in Christ is our true responsibility. By Carolyn Taketa 2. Shake It Up! Easy ways to energize your group meetings By Mark Ingmire 3. What Can I Expect from Small Groups? Walk into your new group with realistic expectations. By Mark Ingmire 4. Build Real Friendships in Your Group...

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Posted by on Oct 23, 2013 in Blog, Kingdom, Small Group Resources |

Wrestling and Telling

Wrestling and Telling

Last week I was able to tune into portions of Exponential West, a conference specifically for church planters. The focus was on discipleship and was built around the five shifts laid out in DiscipleShift by Jim Putman, Bobby Harrington, and Robert Coleman. Though you may not be a church planter, I imagine you're interested in discipleship. After all, that's the heart of small-group ministry. The book specifically addresses small-group leaders. And the questions raised by the speakers get into the nitty-gritty of what group leaders do. Jim Putman, for instance, asked a telling question: Do we teach people to wrestle with their faith, or just tell them what to believe? This question hits me especially hard because I've experienced both. I can distinctly remember a well-meaning youth sponsor telling me shortly after I'd started following Christ that I had to cut ties with my non-Christian friends in order to live the Christian life. Looking back, I understand why this was her advice. After all, it's a lot easier to...

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