Posts Tagged community
Summer 2011 should be a fun and unique season for our church, and I wanted to let you know some of what’s coming and invite you to join with us!
COMMUNITY GROUPS BREAK
The spring semester winds down the week of May 16, and this summer we will not be starting a new semester. Since the summer semester is so short, we thought we’d try some summer events (see below) as a change. If you’d still like to gather as a group during the summer, that’s up to you. Groups will re-launch in late August with a new name: Redemption Communities.
Over the summer we’ll be doing at least 4 outward-focused serving events (probably with House of Refuge and/or some door-to-door evangelism and inviting) and 4 fun community-building events (pool party, adults-only 80’s night, CD release party for Kristie Braselton, and a good ol’ fashion church potluck). Almost all of these events will be family friendly, will be accessible for your unchurched friends, and will be a great way for our whole church to have fun while serving Jesus.
We’ll be offering training for new and existing group leaders as well as some other practical training in other areas of ministry. If you would like to go through the group leader training, please contact John Kronwald (johnkronwald[at]redemptionaz[dot]com). All of these training experiences will help us prepare for a great fall together.
STUDENT SUMMER CAMP
The Gateway students are doing summer camp in Big Bear, CA from June 12-18. They’ll serve, have fun, learn, go to Six Flags, and build some wonderful memories. Cost: $350/student, due May 29.
SERMON SERIES: DOCTRINE
Beginning June 5th, we’ll do a 13-week summer series on Doctrine. We’re still working on the official title, but the gist will be a run-through of the key biblical beliefs we should hold as followers of Jesus.
We’re sharing some ideas on how everybody can make a difference to guests and non-Christians that join us on Sundays. For the context of our discussion, check out the recent posts, The Sermon Starts in The Parking Lot, The Sunday Mind-Shift, and Show Up Early.
Have you ever wondered how somebody like Bill Clinton–with his political polarization and personal immorality–can remain so enchanting to so many people? As you listen to those who have met him, one reason comes sharply into focus. They all say something like, “When you meet Bill Clinton, it feels like you’re the only person in the room.”
In other words, despite all his faults, Clinton takes a genuine interest in people. He’s not busy looking over their shoulder or glancing at his watch. He truly cares.
If a politician will do that, how much more should God’s people do that? Isn’t it simply the essence of Jesus’ command to “love your neighbor as yourself”?
If you want to make a real difference in somebody’s life, take a genuine interest in them. Ask them sincere questions. Listen rather than thinking of what to say next. And slow down.
I have to admit that this is personally tough for me — especially on Sundays when I’m trying to meet lots of new people, care for those in our church family, and think through the elements of my sermon and the service. It’s tough. But I’m trying.
I’d love it if we had 300 other people trying as well. I think the love of Jesus like that would turn our church upside down.
One of my favorite parts of being in the Acts29 Network is the exposure and relationships that I have with some wonderful leaders. One of the VPs of Acts29 is Jeff Vanderstelt, one of the pastors at Soma Communities in Tacoma, Washington. He’s been out for a number of different training events with the Surge Network and other things, and every time he comes I’m challenged.
Here’s a brief video that summarizes one of Jeff’s core strengths — living on a gospel mission in community. Take a look and I’m sure this will challenge and stretch you.
How could you begin to live in similar ways with people in your life and/or Community Group?
It’s funny to me that most people in Arizona are not from here and, therefore, could really benefit from getting to know their neighbors–but few really do. Most of us could really grow in our ability to know and love our neighbors. Good Magazine’s recent issue was all about neighborhoods and they had some great, practical ideas of how you can be engaged in a positive way in your neighborhood. Here are a few ideas they had:
- Meet your neighbors without seeming like a crazy person.
- Throw a block party.
- Share Your Yard (Or Get Your Neighbors to Share Theirs).
- Be a Good Regular.
What’s something you’ve done or could do to be a good neighbor?
Justin Taylor recommends a very helpful two-part blog post from Keith Simon, giving biblically grounded practical wisdom on the nature of true friendship and criticism, building off of Proverbs 27:6: “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.”
The first post explores the paradox that, according to this verse, we can often confuse a friend and an enemy. Keith gives some excellent counsel on how to approach someone with correction.
The second post explores why we often refuse to correct. He also suggests a humble and helpful thing to say to a few close friends (or spouse, or children, or parents):
I know that this sounds crazy but I really trust you and value your perspective. So I want to invite you to share things with me that will be difficult for me to hear. When (not if) you see sin in my life that you don’t think that I’m aware of, please point it out to me. When (not if) you see me making mistakes with my kids or my spouse, please tell me. Everything is fair game. Nothing is off limits.
I wish that I could promise that I would immediately respond with humility and repentance but that might not always be true. But I will promise that I won’t hold your comments against you and let it ruin our friendship. I want you to know that I will see your willingness to say hard things to me as a sign that you are a real friend and not an enemy giving false or superficial praise.
Are you a true friend? Do you have true friends? Why or why not?
I’m so excited about the ministry and community groups that will be happening at Second Mile this summer. We’ve got a wonderful group of leaders and I know it will be a blessing. Sign-ups for these groups and ministry teams are now open!
Here’s a breakdown of the various summer groups (download the full catalog here):
- The Schoenhardts’ group will explore the hope found in Jesus. Their group has endured a variety of trials and this will be a great look at hope from some seasoned endurers.
- The Wrights will explore God’s heart for world missions and how each person can be involved in reaching the nations in this study of Pathways to Global Understanding.
- Tabatha Patella will lead a women’s group and study Elyse Fitzpatrick’s book, Overcoming Fear, Worry, and Anxiety: Becoming a Woman of Faith and Confidence.
- The Lau’s and the Bublitz’s will lead groups that focus on building community and applying the Sunday sermons.
- The McWilliams’ will lead a group about parenting teens and adolescents.
- The Horns will lead a group through studying and applying 1 Peter.
- The Lewis’ will study Francis Chan’s in-your-face book, Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God.
- I will be leading a group on leading small groups that will train people to lead a church community group or start a workplace or neighborhood Bible study.
- A number of leaders will be driving home the centrality of the gospel through some wonderful books (I love that so many leaders want to dive deeper into the gospel!):
- Wilcoxsons – The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of Christian Faith by Tim Keller
- Rings – The Cross-Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel the Main Thing by C.J. Mahaney
- Formicas – Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters by Tim Keller
- Frahms – The Gospel-Centered Life by World Harvest Mission
In addition to all this, we’ve got some incredible Ministry Teams where we can build friendships while serving together. I hope you’ll join us!
Today’s Spiritual Growth Principle: Develop spiritual friendships for encouragement and accountability.
Lone-ranger Christians are defeated Christians. You need people in your life. Otherwise, the Bible makes it clear that you will be in danger of falling prey to the deceitfulness of sin:
Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. (Hebrews 3:12-13)
How have you seen God work in your life through other people?