Tag Archive: small group

Everyone In

I was reading a book about the Methodist movement recently, and one of the things that excited me about it was the sense that it was a movement. It went way beyond any one leader or leaders. Something was happening and it involved everyone. It wasn’t the pastors making everything happen; it was the people living into the call of discipleship.  I am writing this as a personal reflection about what does it mean for me as a pastor and my role to “equip the saints”.  How do I empower, facilitate, encourage, and support the type of things I was just reading about? Here are a few quotes that struck me:

…most of the ministry that mattered was entrusted to laity. Indeed, most of the preachers were lay preachers…. Early Methodism involved everyone, believers and seekers, in small groups called classes; the classes were lay led…. Methodist laity… visited prisoners and the family of prisoners. They visited people in the hospitals and, during epidemics, Methodists were known to be the only people who cared enough and dared enough to visit the hospitals…. They often prayed with people and they invited people to their class meeting to explore the possibility of a new life.  Lay people invented many ministries to serve people in their community. (page 12)

It was in those small groups called class meetings where every spark of the Holy Spirit seemed to be fanned into flames and people were boldly stepping forward in discipleship. It was in these small groups that there was an entrepreneurial spirit of joining together to do God’s kingdom work of loving God and neighbor to the fullest. In looking at the history of the movement, my own life of discipleship, and what I have seen in many lives (even since I have been here at Millbrook UMC) I might be willing to agree with another quote from the book:

“This is why Bruce Larson used to say, “It is just as important to be involved in a small group as it is to believe that Jesus Christ died for your sins!”

Lord Jesus, pour out your Spirit of wisdom and discernment so that I might know my role in being a pastor in your holy church. One that empowers and encourages your people to live fully into a life of discipleship that looks like a life you modeled to us as you walked this earth with your band of disciples. Send us forward in your kingdom movement. Amen.

Passing It On

IMG_2799At the beginning of this month I had the opportunity to go to Louisiana to see my family. I loved loosing sleep staying up late talking to my mom, dad and my brother. It was wonderful to see all my aunts and uncles, my cousins.  It was crazy to see all of the children – I hardly know their names.  One of the things that struck me the most on this visit was watching my family and see many wonderful, beautiful traits and some of our particular Murphy brand of “crazy”.
Particularly I found myself watching my dad. He brought water rockets and solid fuel rockets for entertainment. I watched all the little kids swirl around him in excitement to pull the rope, launch the rocket and get wet.  The whole family moved toward the field to watch the “real” rockets.  While watching the way he was entertaining and the way he interacted with the little ones (and everyone else) I suddenly saw where I got those characteristics. The way I planned the “fun” for Caleb and Ethan’s birthday parties and the Nerf dart wars with the kids in the neighborhood all made sense. I got this from my dad.

IMG_2836I wonder what I am passing on to my boys, to my friends, to my church family? This makes me think of how discipleship is something we learn. However, I wonder how much of it is really classroom type of learning? I didn’t study(in the traditional sense) my dad doing all that “fun” stuff. I am not convinced I can claim that those behaviors are genetic, but I learned it. Maybe discipleship is something that YES we study, but it is more something that happens from consistently sharing life together.  I wonder how much time life we have to share together in order for characteristics to be passed on?

Lord Jesus, I thank you for my family and my dad. God, may we learn to live together in ways that pass on the transforming, life giving grace you have given us. May we be a people, a family, that enjoys and explores together the abundant life of being your children – learning and living in your ways that you desire to pass on.




Discipleship Memory

InvitationChallenge matrixMy discipleship group has been learning about how Jesus worked with his disciples by balancing a high level of invitation and a high level of challenge and creating a discipleship culture that empowered those that responded.

Invitation refers to an attitude that says, “I’m glad you are here, I’m committed to you and will welcome you no matter what.” Challenge refers to an attitude that says, “I want you to grow, I’m committed to holding you accountable to change for the better.”

The other night in the midst of our discussion about invitation/challenge I was reminded of God’s faithfulness of keeping his promise. One of the things that I am finding to be funny about this adventure of following Jesus is how short my memory is. I have learned so much in these last couple years about God and what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. I have even preached about many different aspects of the good news of Jesus Christ. I have seen God’s transforming redeeming power at work in my life and in the lives of those around me. But despite all that I still need to be reminded of simple things – like that God is faithful and keeps his promises. I am thankful that I am not on this journey alone, because God uses so many of you to remind me of who God is and who I am called to be.

It was nice to have a moment of invitation – of God reassuring me of his faithfulness even when I don’t know what lies ahead. I guess I just need a reminder every now and then of WHO lies ahead.

Questions Questions

Questions QuestionsMaybe a few good questions can help me grow as a follower of Christ. I have been involved in a covenant group with a number of pastors for a number of months now. We have been intentionally stepping into each others lives for the purpose of discipling each other in living as followers of Jesus Christ. This has already been a blessing to me. A couple of weeks ago we were given some questions. We were asked to highlight two or three of these questions that spoke to us or challenged us particularly at that time. It was great to process as a group these reflections.  I have kept this list of questions up on the wall in my office and I have found that I keep coming back to them.  I invite you to join me reflecting this week on these questions. Which one of these questions resonates with you and why?

UP – Relationship with God IN – Relationship with those close to you in Body of Christ OUT – Relationship with those outside of Body of Christ
Do I make enough space for prayer?
Do I pursue intimacy with Jesus?
What is on my heart for intercession?
Am I living in the power of the spirit?
Am I seeing personal revival?
Do I still feel pleasure?
Am I living in a state of peace?
Am I afraid or nervous?
Am I obedient to God’s prompting?
Do I love the flock?
Is time a blessing or a curse?
Am I resting enough?
How are my relationships with my friends?
Am I experiencing intimacy in my relationships?
Do I keep my promises?
How easy is it for me to trust people?
Am I discipling others?
Is my family happy?
Am I sleeping/eating well?
Am I making myself vulnerable to others?
Do I have a heart for the lost?
How often do I share my faith?
Do I leave time for relationships with non-Christians?
Am I running the race with perseverance?
Do I have a vision?
Am I dying to success?
Am I proud of the Gospel or ashamed?
Am I a servant?
Do I find it easy to recognize people of peace?
Can I take risks?