Monday, February 11, 2013

the faith community rocks

POGs Small-Group. Not everyone, but still the best image I have
POGs Small-Group. Not everyone, but still the best image I have
I thank my God every time I mention you in my prayers. I’m thankful for all of you every time I pray, and it’s always a prayer full of joy. I’m glad because of the way you have been my partners in the ministry of the gospel from the time you first believed it until now. I’m sure about this: the one who started a good work in you will stay with you to complete the job by the day of Christ Jesus. I have good reason to think this way about all of you because I keep you in my heart. You are all my partners in God’s grace (Philippians 1:3-7)
imagesunday evening, driving home from enjoying dinner and great conversation with my POGs (Parents Of Grads) small group, I felt a deep sense of privilege and blessing for the work Rebekah and I are involved with here in Brandon.
Worship at First Presbyterian Church is always exhilarating, and it’s impossible to miss the positive spirit that animates both contemporary and traditional worship; but it’s the opportunity to be a part of people’s ongoing faith conversations gives me such personal satisfaction.
We have 20-ish participants on the roles of “Everyday Christianity,” the Sunday morning study group I teach with my friend Charles; 21 come to POGs Sunday evenings; then some 15 men are currently involved with my Wednesday “Men’s Room.”
Between the three venues I have the privilege of facilitating deep faith conversations with almost 60 disciples (45 or more any given week). This is what we do:
  • Study scripture together;
  • share personal stories of struggle and of hope;
  • ask great questions;
  • hold one-another accountable;
  • encourage one-another;
  • walk the road less travelled by;
  • pray together;
  • know that the prayers continue when we’re apart;
  • always talk about what it means to be Followers of The Way of Jesus;
  • hone our skills as practitioners of the Gospel of Love.
As a facilitator, I’m not so much a teacher as a fellow traveller on the journey. I always learn much more than I bring to the table.
RECIPE: It’s a recipe for discipleship; you see, everyone I am currently walking with brings a combination of the following to every gathering. Their ongoing relationship with God; their personal study of the scriptures; their intention to grow in faith; the unique experiences from the past week; a variety of reading and other study; the cumulative wisdom of their life to date; their growing love for Jesus; an open heart.
Then, after we open with prayer and begin a conversation around the scripture, God steps in, stirring it all together via the Holy Spirit. And so I am not surprised when wisdom, and faith, and insight, and more define the ensuing conversation.
So if you’re reading this as a participant in any of my church study groups, then “Thank you” for being such an encouragement to me. And if you’re not currently involved in a similar covenant group at your church (or if you don’t attend church), then this is my invitation (prompted by God) for you to come home.
Let’s also think about how to motivate each other to show love and to do good works. Don’t stop meeting together with other believers, which some people have gotten into the habit of doing. Instead, encourage each other, especially as you see the day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
In love, and because of love – DEREK

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