Happy Thursday! I hope your week has been well. I’m sure many of you have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of this post since I missed writing last week. OK, probably not. Moving on. 🙂
As hard as it is to believe, next Thursday is Thanksgiving. In the spirit of thankfulness, I want you to know that I am deeply thankful for each of you. I know how powerful relational-discipleship has been in my life, both as a member of groups and a leader. I also know how much time and energy it takes to lead, care for and shepherd the people in your groups and classes. Thank you stepping into the mess of people’s lives and helping them grow to be more like Jesus.
Thank you to those of you who have taken me up on the offer to connect over coffee. I absolutely love hearing how your groups are going and what God is doing. If you haven’t replied yet, I would still love to connect some time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Please click here to email me to set up a time.
Over the last several weeks, many of you have asked me for ideas about what your group could study next. I am always happy to help you find the right study for your group, but one I would recommend to any group is the Guardrails study by Andy Stanley. Here is a short trailer about the study
If you would be interested in doing this study with your group or class, please check it out on Rightnow Media here: https://www.rightnow.org/Content/Series/218
Starting next weekend, we will be focusing on Advent for the four weekends leading up to Christmas. As a part of this series, each person in our congregation will receive a candle and a once-a-week Advent reflection they can use on their own, with family or friends. However, as I was writing these reflections I thought they might also work well for our small groups and classes. I would encourage you to talk to your small group about possibly including these reflections as a part of your group time throughout December.
Thank you again for taking the time to read this! Have a wonderful weekend!
God Bless, JG
Hey all, Happy November!
Let’s start today with important news. I’m not sure if you heard, but the CUBS WON THE WORLD SERIES!
I mentioned a few weeks ago that I would love to get coffee with each of you and hear about your group or class. That is still true. I am out of the office next week, but I would love to connect the week of November 14-17. Please click here to email me and let me know two times you would be available.
I mentioned this last week as well, but I met a young couple who is serving refugees in Turkey, and they would love to come chat with your small group or class about what they do. They shared with one of our classes a couple weekends ago and it went very well. Out of respect for what they do, and for their protection, and the protection of those they serve, I won’t give additional details here, but I would highly encourage you to have them come visit. Please email me if you are interested.
GROUP LIFE DURING THE HOLIDAYS
As you’ve probably noticed, the “holidays” are upon us. The good news is that if you need to shop for leftover Halloween candy, Christmas deco, and Valentine’s day items all at the same time, most of our local retailers can help you out. 🙂
Holiday schedules have an impact on many things, including group life. As you plan for the remainder of 2016 here are some thoughts for your group or class.
- Consider taking a break. Consistency is incredibly important to relational discipleship. It is easy to see how a group can fall apart when there is no consistency in meeting time. However it is equally important to honor the natural rhythms of life. For many people, the weeks surrounding the holidays are already very full and often stressful. By taking a few weeks off, you allow people appropriate space, and that space creates increased enthusiasm to get going again in the New Year. The key is knowing when you will start up again, and holding to that.
- Serve Someone. Serving together as a group is one of the most powerful ways to deepen bonds between people and simultaneously help your group to grow. Whether you serve at a local soup kitchen, purchase Christmas Presents for a family in need, or partner with a local or global ministry, there is power in serving together. If you would like help coming up with an idea for your group, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Celebrate Together. Designate time to celebrate with your group. Eat together, laugh together, have fun together, and share stories of what God has done.
Thanks again, JG