Survival Guide for the Soul: How to Flourish Spiritually in a World that Pressures Us to Achieve


It was no accident that this book, written by Ken Shigematsu (Senior Pastor of Tenth Church in Vancouver, BC), was mailed to me to read before it’s officially released next week on August 7th. Recently, I had a meeting with Pastor Art and he gracefully pointed out several obvious examples of how I’ve tried to earn value (i.e. love) through achievement (i.e. work). The embarrassing thing is that this wasn’t the first time someone has pointed that out to me.

In my heart I know that I am loved by my Heavenly Father and that His love is the only love that will fulfill me. But in my head, I somehow convince myself that if I just get one more hour of work done, one more household chore, teach my kids one more skill, impress my husband with an amazing feat… I will be overcome with an everlasting feeling of accomplishment. But that never happens. I just wear myself out and flop into bed at the end of the day feeling overly tired and defeated.

So what did I learn from this book? In two words: a lot! I’ll let you read the book for yourself to get the complete story, but here are the top three lessons I learned:

Rest is best. As I stated earlier, I constantly push myself to get one more thing done. In this book I loved this reminder: “According to the Genesis poem, God rested on the seventh day. This means that our first full day on the planet as the human race was a day off. We began our existence on the Sabbath. God created us to rest before we work. If we violate this order, we damage ourselves and deprive those we love.”

Friendship is essential. And most importantly, a friendship with Jesus. “As we deepen our friendships with Jesus Christ, we become the kind of friend our hearts long for and receive the friends God has for us.” We weren’t meant to live our lives alone, but we must be careful that we surround ourselves with friends who will positively influence us. “God can use our friends to transform our desires, so that we aren’t ambitious for ambition itself, but rather ambitious to serve a higher calling.”

I must surrender. “Surrendering our lives to Christ not only radically recalibrates our desires, it also brings us into a more – not less – fulfilled life. When we look back, we find that God’s ways are far better than our own.” In the final pages of the book, the author writes about a passage of scripture he is drawn to at the end of John, after Jesus’ resurrection, when Jesus is walking on the beach talking to Peter (John 21:18-22). Ken Shigematsu writes “When I am tempted to compare myself to someone who is more successful than I am, who seems to have an easier path, I hear Jesus saying, “What is that to you? You follow me.” This really resonates with me, and I sense that I will be reminded of this same passage repeatedly as I learn and continue to fully surrender.

If you’d like to get your hands on a copy of the book, visit When you pre-order the book, you’ll receive a sneak peek plus a free study guide for individual or small group use.

#survivalguideforthesoul #kenshigematsu

Book Review by Sarah Biggerstaff

Standing Firm: Leading From The Trenches

standing firm

It was wonderful to see so many of you on March 10 for our training called “Standing Firm: Leading from the Trenches.” We looked at what Scripture teaches us about “Spiritual Warfare” and how that influences the way we lead and encourage our groups. If you missed it, here’s a link to the training video as well as the notes. Thanks so much for your leadership! It’s a blessing to serve with you!!

Standing Firm video

Standing Firm handouts

Save The Date: Saturday, May 12 – Annual Group Leaders Retreat! Pastor Ryan will unveil the vision and direction for Groups at Lighthouse. There will be fun surprises and a taco bar lunch (it’s Cinco de Mayo after all). You won’t want to miss this!


I know what you’re thinking. “Sarah, we’re Group Leaders. We ARE in charge.”

Good point.

But hear me out. As Group Leaders, we’re in charge to a certain extent, but really, we’re serving a ministry of Lighthouse, and ultimately, we’re serving Jesus.

So how do we lead well when we’re not in charge? I was given the privilege of reading an advance copy of the book How To Lead When You’re Not In Charge by Clay Scroggins, the lead pastor of North Point Community Church (yes, you’re reading that correctly, the same North Point as Andy Stanley, he’s Clay’s boss). It was both helpful and humorous, which is a great combination, especially when reading non-fiction.


Here are three lessons I learned from the book that apply to all of us as Group Leaders:

  1. Lead Yourself. Truly great leaders, no matter how successful they become, maintain a learning curve as steep as when they first begin their careers. So make a plan. Know where you currently are. Have a vision for where you want to go. Develop the discipline and accountability to do what it takes to stay on track. And go all-in.
  2. Choose Positivity. Leaders who bring a trust-fueled, hope-filled, forward-thinking attitude every day can change any team dynamic. Positivity is a character trait that is developed over time, and more often than not, character is developed when things are difficult. Throughout history, God has put specific people into particular positions for definitive reasons. There is a confidence that comes from believing that God has you where he wants you.
  3. Effective Leaders Are Inclusive. The best way to be the type of leader people want to celebrate is to care deeply about the people you work with. Inclusive leaders don’t isolate themselves as authority figures, they include themselves in the discussion as influential innovators. Take a look at Jesus. He surrounded himself with disciples so he could prepare them to carry on the momentum of his ministry. He didn’t just send them out and hope for the best. He equipped them by telling them where to go, what to say, what to do, and even what to take (Matt 10:6-10). He was forcing them to live up to their potential. That’s what we’re called to do as leaders, and that’s something we can do whether we’re in charge or not.

I enjoyed this book so much and the more I thought, prayed and talked about it, the more I realized that this book would be helpful for many of the Group Leaders I’m honored to serve with. This Friday at Group Connect, leaders will receive a copy of this book as a gift from the Groups Ministry at Lighthouse. If you won’t be at Group Connect but are interested in the book, please send me an email at

Lastly, for full disclosure purposes, in exchange for the advance copy of the book, I was asked to write a review (which you can read here). I chose to share lessons from the book on this blog, in addition to what I was asked, for the reasons mentioned above. I pray that it is as helpful to you as it has been to me.

For more information, visit

Book Review by Sarah Biggerstaff

March Sermon Discussion Questions


This month we’ll continue through the Gospel of Matthew. Here are some questions that you can use during your home group meetings to discuss the weekend sermons. The questions are also available in the Documents section of the blog. Please leave any questions or comments you have below.

Slow Movement in Leading A Home Group

How is leading a home group similar to a slow moving glacier? Watch this video for some insight.

Attending the More & Better workshop on Saturday, February 20 will provide some instruction and tips about how to carve out the landscape of your home group and cultivate a culture of discipleship. Register to attend online at

Are You Typical?

I love this video. It’s less than three minutes long, but it’s very intriguing and a conversation starter.

Watch Now: Are You Typical?

Think about this information when think about how to direct people as a leader. Comment below and let me know what you thought of the video!

Save These Dates!


I invite you to join Pastor Art, Pastor Paul and myself for two half-day training workshops about discipleship. As a group leader, I strongly encourage you to attend. Our goal is to equip you with skills, encouragement and confidence to be a disciple to your peers in the groups you lead and in the community.

Mark your calendars for:

  • Saturday, October 17th from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • Saturday , February 20th from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

We’ve also selected a date for our 2016 Group Leaders Retreat! Save the date for:

  • Saturday, April 9th from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Benjamin Franklin famously said “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” I look forward to learning with you!

our blog

Hey Group Leaders!  I hope you are all amazing today!  Over the next year, you will notice that videos, trainings and other content will be linked to this BLOG and facebook (and yes, still email).  We are trying to come up with better ways to communicate.  Let’s hope this helps!