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Preacher on the Run…

Faith, Family, Ministry, and Everything in between

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Discipleship

3 Key Components of an Effective Discipleship Group (Feature Friday 01/10/20)

I was reflecting this morning on yet another new year beginning. My reflection began looking to the past. I thought about the events in my life over the past year. I put time into thinking about how many of those things were the results of intentional decisions on my part and how many of them are the results of a lack of intentionality on my part. One of the areas I reflected upon was a small group of guys that I gathered with a couple times a month this past year.

This group of guys was an encouragement to me. Even though I may have initiated the gatherings and routine meetings, I feel as though I benefited as much if not far more than the guys I invited into the group. And as I thought about this group, I was reminded about so many other groups I have participated in or led before. All of these groups had a common purpose…discipleship. We all wanted to grow in our likeness of Jesus Christ.

That led me to think about the common threads of each group. What brought all of these diverse people together and what made each of the groups an encouragement and greenhouse for my growth and others. I think Jim Putnam hits the nail on the head in his article “3 Key Components of an Effective Discipleship Group.” As I think about the groups I have been a part of, the ones that were effectively shared these 3 aspects. The groups that were missing any one of these ended up being – well – less than effective.

Enjoy the article. What else would you add to it? As always be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day!

Photo by Dylan Gillis on Unsplash

Feature Friday (09/19/19)

Have you ever felt like you’re just not being heard? You’ve entered into a conversation with another person and at some point during the interaction the other person seems disengaged. Maybe you’re simply getting the subtle head nod or the bland “mmm hmmm”. Whatever form it takes we all know it leaves you, the one talking, feeling unvalued.

Unfortunately, I have been guilty of not listening well. I have done with my wife, my kids, and my friends. As a leader I am ashamed to admit it, but it’s the truth. Thankfully Jim Putnam wrote a helpful article on intentional listening.

If you are a leader, and we all are to some degree, we must value those we lead and interact with. We need to know how to listen well, to listen with purpose. For help in doing so check out “These 4 Levels of Intentional Listening“.

Enjoy the read and as always be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day!

Feature Friday (05/10/19)

Gas was all over the ground. I thought I had done everything right. The new fuel filter was right. The gas line from the tank had been clamped shut. And the old filter came out fine. But I had forgotten one vital piece to the equation. It’s ironic how missing just one step in a repair job can literally cause a major mess. But the same is true in discipleship as well.

Discipleship is a process. There are key components to becoming more like Jesus Christ. Engagement with the Bible is a given. Prayer is a must. Involvement in a local church is critical. But if we miss this vital aspect of discipleship there will be a mess to clean up. And unlike my lawn mower repair, the mess of someone’s life is very hard to remedy.

What is that vital element to discipleship? Jim Putnam names it and gives “4 Reasons ‘It’ is Vital to Discipleship“. Check it out, don’t make a mess (like I did by forgetting to clamp the gas line coming from the engine) and as always be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day!

Photo by Daniel Watson on Unsplash

Feature Friday (04/12/19)

It was a loud clank. I heard it, but after looking in the rearview mirror quickly dismissed it as unrelated to my car. Then I heard the distinct sound of metal dragging. It was then that I noticed sparks flying from behind my passenger rear tire. That was when I realized what had happened.

A rusted muffler bracket finally gave way, dropping the 8-foot exhaust pipe from under my car to drag on the ground as I drove my son to school. I did not expect to be on my back under my car at 7:45am that morning, trying to MacGyver my muffler back into place until I could get it to my mechanic. The reality was not one I wanted, but it should have been one I saw coming. The warning signs were visible for the past few weeks. I just chose to ignore them.

The same experience can be had in regards to many areas of life. An event happens we “didn’t see coming”, but it is because we ignored or missed all the warning signs. Leadership of any kind is no different, especially in the church. If the mission of the church is to make disciples (and it is – Matthew 28:19-20) and we don’t see that happening, maybe it is because we have missed “The Signs You May Have a Bad Disciple-Making Strategy.”

Warning signs are meant to indicate a problem to us. Just like the rusted clank, sparks, and sounds of my early morning drive. Yet too often we ignore those indicators because it is just easier to do so. But the realization soon hits, that we should have paid attention and addressed those warning signs, not ignored them. And when what is at stake is the mission of the church – we need to take note and do so early and often.

That is why I love Mark Howell’s “5 Signs” in helping us recognize a bad culture within a church. Check it out and as always be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day!

Photo by Alexandru G. STAVRICĂ on Unsplash

Feature Friday (03/30/19)

12:10am is a timestamp that will remain in my mind for the rest of my life. I found myself in a hospital room. I knew it was coming, but I never knew how it would feel. 12:10am was a moment in time that changed the routine, thought-process, and course of my life. 12:10am was the moment in time when I became a father. I was now responsible for the provision, protection, and maturity of another individual. It was this last one, maturity, that concerned me the most.

How would I help my firstborn son grow? What would be the indicators that I was succeeding at raising a man not just a boy in a man’s body? There are so many things to consider and stages along the maturing process it can be overwhelming at time. To this day I still question if he (and my other children) are maturing as they should, not just physically, but spiritually as well.

While physical maturity is pretty easy to spot via the external indicators of size, weight, and other aspects; spiritual maturity seems a bit more nebulous or difficult to define and recognize. This is a question I have asked repeatedly and still wrestle with from time to time: how will I know that my children are maturing spiritually? What are the indicators? Jim Putnam wrote a great concise article on this exact subject titled, “The Biggest Indicator of Spiritual Maturity Might Not Be the Thing You are Looking For.

It is a great article and Jim boils spiritual maturity down to the irreducible indicator to help me, you, and others recognize the greatest mark of spiritual maturity. So whether we are raising children, leading groups, discipling individuals, or pastoring people this article will prove extremely helpful in clarifying and simplifying what we should be looking for in those we lead.

As always be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day!

Feature Friday (02/08/19)

Chocolate or Vanilla? Left-handed or right-handed? Get up early or stay out late? So many situations in life seem like either-or. There are constant battles of values and priorities at play. Yet too often I believe we pit things against each other that may never be meant to be at odds.

As a young athlete in high school, the tension was always which sport are you going to excel at? Which game will you prepare for more? As one who truly enjoyed every sport I played, those types of questions always seemed like a conundrum to me. Why must I choose training for football over running track? I enjoyed both and thus trained, practice, and performed at both. And in my experience, pursuing one made me better at the other. It was not an either-or situation, but a both-and one. The same can be said for many situations in church.

One situation that is often portrayed as an either-or situation is evangelism or discipleship. Often it comes across in preaching: do we preach to the unchurched to reach more people for Jesus or do we preach with the believer in mind to equip the saints? Instead of setting up an either-or situation, I believe it is a both-and situation.

Dave Jensen writes a great article challenging pastors, church leaders, and churches in general to do both-and. His article “Keep Christians in the room: Church attendance at evangelistic courses” is a great argument for a both-and approach rather than an either-or approach.

As always I hope the article encourages and challenges you. Don’t neglect to be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day this weekend.

Photo by Greg Jeanneau on Unsplash

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