A Million Little Choices


As we go into the summer months, where is God leading you? As we live a million little choices, we set a trajectory to our lives, our families, and our groups. More often than not, we make these choices without even recognizing what we are doing. Today, where is Jesus inviting you to align with His Kingdom? In the midst of a lifetime of choices, today will you make just one to align with Him? Maybe its showing grace to a coworker. Maybe its loving your spouse. Maybe its making time to be with Jesus today. Will you make the choice?

Click the link to watch this short (two-minute) video on RightNow Media: https://player.rightnow.org/98562


What distracts you the most? Social media? TV? Magazines? Pastor Ryan has a message for you about distractions, take a moment to watch:


Even In Our Darkness


Next weekend, Group Leaders will gather together to discuss spiritual warfare. More about that in a minute, but first I want to tell you about a book I was invited to read before it was published called Even In Our Darkness, written by former pastor and theologian Dr. Jack Deere.

I had never heard of the author before, but the description of the book pulled me in: “A powerful memoir of finding beauty and friendship through the pain of loss, tragedy, and brokenness, Even In Our Darkness explores what it means to know God and be known by him.”

Before I began reading the book, I had was convinced that I would be reading about someone who had what I like to call “pastor problems,” not someone who had experienced real pain, loss, tragedy and brokenness, because pastors are favored by God to shepherd those of us with the real problems. Am I right? No. In fact, I couldn’t be more wrong.

This book left me speechless. At first, reading through his teen years, I thought, well that’s the difference of growing up in the south. But as I continued reading, my heart broke for Dr. Jack Deere. These are not “pastor problems.” This is real, hard, ugly, life. But through it all, Jesus was by his side, and Deere clung to that.

I hope that you join us next weekend for Pastor Ryan’s gathering. Click here to link to the post with more information about that.

For more information about Even In Our Darkness, visit the website www.eveninourdarkness.com.

Book Review by Sarah Biggerstaff

Overlooked Aspects of the Christmas Story

Many of us will read the Christmas Story out of the Bible with our families in the coming days, and if you’re like me, the parts that stand out are the angel appearing to the shepherds, the faithfulness of the shepherds who went to find Jesus right away, and Mary “treasuring” the information the shepherds shared with her.

In this excerpt from his Christmas devotional, pastor and author Paul Tripp reflects on three aspects of the Christmas story that are often overlooked. Please take three minutes to watch this short video.

May you have a blessed holiday season as you reflect on the sacrifice, honesty and glory of our Savior.

How’s Your Prayer Life?

Take a moment to think about the way that you pray. Has it become routine, or do you feel like you’re really connecting with God and having a conversation? When was the last time you heard from the Spirit? What did he say? However you would rate your prayer life, I invite you to take about ten minutes to watch this video of Francis Chan talk about prayer. The stories he shares about the growth of his own prayer life are encouraging and motivating. Feel free to pass the link on to your group members if you’d like.

What A Leader Does

If you’ve never read the blog Church & Culture, I highly recommend you check it out sometime. The recent article “What A Leader Does” was so good I wanted to share with you to consider for the upcoming season.



What is it, exactly, that a leader does?

We are bombarded with directives to be leaders and lead our church, and we’re told that everything rises and falls on leadership… okay, what does that actually mean?

I was once challenged to pull together a description of what being a leader actually involves on a day-in, day-out basis. I found it to be an intriguing exercise because, in truth, most leadership books talk about how to do certain leadership functions well but rarely lay out the leadership menu.

Here’s the menu:

1. Cast a Compelling Vision

This involves seeing all that could be and should be and painting that picture clearly enough for others to get there. And remember that “vision leaks” so this vision must be recast on an annual basis.

2. Draw Others In

Have you heard of something called the “art of the ask?” This is seeing someone and envisioning what they can become – imagining what they can do with their life, spotting their talents and abilities – and then asking them to put their life into play for Christ.

“I think you could be a small group leader.” “I think you could head up a building team.” “I think you could oversee a media ministry.” “I think you could help administratively.” “I think you could sing.”

These are the words a leader offers.

3. Establish and Uphold Values

At Mecklenburg Community Church (Meck), we have ten macro values. They need to be upheld, modeled, championed, and defended. But there are also micro values.

For children’s ministry, it might be arriving on time or calling in if you can’t make it. For a small group leader, it might be the “empty chair,” meaning that there is always a place – and a desire – for someone new to join. For someone in student ministry, it might be never letting a kid be excluded from the group.

When it comes to values, a leader must establish them, model them, and then uphold them.

Let’s say I ask you to build relationships with the unchurched. If I don’t do it myself, I have no credibility. You never lead from title or position but from moral authority. There’s an old line I’m sure you’ve heard: “Speed of the leader, speed of the pack.” It’s true.

And after you establish the values through word and deed, you have to uphold them. This means you catch people living by them, and you praise them and make them an example to others.

4. Bring Everything into Alignment

This is often talked about in business circles but less so in church circles. Alignment is translating values, purpose, mission and goals into the very fabric of what you are trying to do on a day-in, day-out basis. It’s having what you do line up with what you say you’re trying to do.

It’s having every little decision informed by the big picture of what you’re trying to accomplish. Alignment is what lets a leader make a decision – to know what to say “yes” or “no” to.

It helps us think creatively about what to start, what to stop, what to create, what to change, what to continue, and where we need to experiment or innovate.

5. Let Others Play in the Game

At the most basic level, this is just learning how to delegate, which surprisingly few people ever really learn to do. The key to delegation is simple: Do only what you can do. Delegate everything else.

That’s hard for people. Whether it’s due to fear that it won’t be done right, inhibition about imposing on someone, being controlling, or enjoying manifesting a martyr complex, we hold on to things and will die in a pile doing them.

But even harder than delegation is letting others play on the team.

Delegation is letting someone serve you while you play and do your thing, and we all need to do that. But beyond that is bringing others in and letting them actually play in the game – and score!

6. Influence

Leaders should motivate, inspire, and encourage.

To motivate means to get people going, to make them want to achieve more and go further. Motivation is having fire and then having everyone else catch fire with you.

To inspire someone is different – it is calling them out to be more than they are. It is helping them want to live differently, to give their lives to something more. Think of it this way: I can be around someone who motivates me to use my time better, manage my money better, or stay in shape better – all motivational issues – but it takes something else to have me walk away wanting to love more, care more and serve more.

But then a leader throws in the third ingredient: encouragement. One of the biggest truths is that what gets recognized, what gets praised, and what gets encouraged is what gets done. In fact, studies have found that verbal affirmation is more valuable to people than money.

7. Develop Other Leaders

Effective leaders create a leadership culture that develops those around them. As you build your teams, you should be singling out a small group of people from within that team that you are grooming and equipping for leadership.

The more leaders you develop, the more leaders you unleash.

The more leaders are unleashed, the more the church reaches its full redemptive potential.

James Emery White


Adapted from James Emery White, What They Didn’t Teach You in Seminary: 25 Lessons for Successful Ministry in Your Church (Baker). Available on Amazon.

The Bible in 50 Words

Can you summarize the entire Bible in just 50 words? Check out this video to see a unique summary of the Old and New Testaments, depicted with images and phrases in just under two minutes.

Skin In The Game

Andy Stanley, the Senior Pastor of North Point Community Church (Georgia) and author of many books including The Next Generation Leader, recently cancelled his weekend sermon to have a candid conversation concerning race, racism and faith in front of the congregation. I think it’s worth watching. Click below to stream it now.

If the video does not play, copy and paste the following address in your browser:



Life in the Himalayas

From a one-time missionary in the projects of Philadelphia to a full time missionary in Nepal, here’s the testimony of how one young man learned that the Christian life is all about loving people (and that being a missionary is like being a superhero).

The video emphasizes that God uses anyone who says yes. In order to grow in our relationship with Christ, we often have to face fears, challenges and insecurities. Instead of letting them hold us back, we can overcome by facing them head-on. What is He asking you to say yes to?

Why Christians Love Diversity

Hi Groupies! A friend of mine sent this article to me and I thought it was worth sharing with you. Take a few minutes to read the text:


Feel free to leave any feedback you may have below.