I’ve recently gone through a lot of changes in my life. I had been at a ministry for 26 years. My wife Lisa was a part of that as well. She was administrator of our Christian School for 25 years. We poured a lot of BLOOD, SWEAT & TEARS into that place. You can only imagine how life has changed. But that’s not the change I’m referring. My perspective has changed.
I so desire to see transformation happen in the lives of people. Transformation in someone’s life can be the most rewarding experience. It has only been in the past year where I realized where that change occurs.
“Life change happens best in the context of relationships.”
In September of this year I attended a conference. I went to a session on small groups. I really didn’t want to be there, but I knew I needed to be open for change. He talked about how his church was growing. It took a 1-2 years for it to really take off. The leader asked a question that changed my perspective. Where in your life did YOU (me, Russ) see the most transformation in yourself personally? He really didn’t give us time to answer. He said his guess would be through a relationship. He was right. He then went onto say that is why small groups are so important in a church. Oh my! I’ve never liked small groups.
I’ve been in ministry over 30 years and I’ve never seen them work. There were some pastors I served under who emphasized small groups. They would flourish for a season, but then they would fizzle out.
Here are some quotes from one of Perry Noble’s session at the Double Conference.
- Growing Churches Change. Growing Leaders Change
- In most churches, the change going on in the church is in direct proportion with the change going on in the leader.
- What are you learning as a leader? Who are you learning from? We learn from people who actually haven’t done anything. If they haven’t done it, I don’t care.
- Groups are essential for churches that are growing.
We started what we call Freedom Groups. We began our first 10 week session this fall. We had over 15 groups: Waffle House Group, Men’s Golf Group, Marriage Group, Young Adult Group, Women’s Groups, Crash the Chatter Box Group, Pinterest Group (just to name a few)
We’ve had 75% of our church family participate in these groups. I’ve heard so many stories of the transformation that is beginning to occur in the lives of our Freedom Family and others who have been invited to participate. It’s exciting and fun to hear the stories that it makes me “So VERY happy!”
BLOOD, SWEAT & TEARS had a song called “You Make Me So Very Happy.” The words to that song can be sung to whoever, but in my case I’m singing it to my Jesus! Signing off…and having fun!
I chose You for the one
Now we’re having so much fun
You treated me so kind
I’m about to lose my mind
You made me so very happy
I’m so glad You came into my life