Two Month Progress Report Part 2 - Pastor Jerry Carter - September 14, 2018

Part 2 of 3

Two Month Progress Report - Part Two of Three

In my last post I zeroed in on the need for a prayer strategy of unity and focus. Our message series on prayer taught us that most of what Jesus said on prayer always came back to the task set before His followers gathered together as the church. Knowledge of scripture and loving relationships with our neighbors are both beautiful gifts in and of themselves but ultimately help us pursue the task set before the church.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”      Matthew 28:18-20

To that end, my second post in a series of three;

2. We need to “clean house” by…

       a. addressing programming complexity/confusion in order to clarify spiritual Next Steps
       b. providing strategic, graduated purpose for each spiritual Next Step
       c. re-envisioning or re-imagining low impact/competing programs

Important to note, as in the first post of this series, the need to clean house isn’t a reflection of the heart and passion of Richland Nazarene as much as the reality of the vision drift that occurs during times of transition. Things are just a bit loose and wriggly at the seams and an overhaul is just the ticket!

While recognizing the importance of the worship service as a key first step in the discipleship process, cleaning house at this point will focus on the various groups that make up our SDMI (Sunday School & Discipleship Ministries international) department.

Judy Bacon (your SDMI Chair) and I are currently embracing four categories/types of groupings, each with specific purpose and power at each step of a person’s spiritual journey. Nothing revolutionary or earth-shattering, just clearing the waters a bit for clarity sake.

Our aim is to encourage the leaders in each category to embrace the power and significance of that category while consistently encouraging the deeper Next Steps necessary in every believer’s spiritual journey. Ideally, every person attending Richland Nazarene would participate in at least one type of grouping although many will enjoy several.

Information-centric Classes are a low-risk,Next Step for those wishing for a relational, “toe in the water,” experience before stepping up to a more immersive Life Group. Also ideal if you’re just thirsty for God’s Word!

Classes are primarily biblical or topical studies and usually “taught” by a teacher who directs most of the discussion and questions. One class might be a dialogue around tables, another, rows or half circles facing the teacher/leader. Most classes are conveniently offered Sunday mornings or Wednesday nights. This allows the entire family to learn in multiple, age-appropriate classes.

Relationship –centric Life Groups are an ideal,Next Step if you’ve decided to plant roots at Richland Nazarene and know you’re ready to invest in deeper relational connections and community.

Life Groups are the best way to intentionally connect to a smaller group of folks with similar interests or life stages. Young marrieds, wisdom seekers, singles, parents of teens, and all of our men’s or women’s are all Life Groups. Bible studies might play a role, even a central role, but take a back seat to relationship building activities like prayer and potlucks, game nights, or just hanging out in someone’s backyard, pool, or around a kitchen table.

Service-centric Ministry Teams are the essential Next Step for those ready and willing to serve and love like Jesus.

Depending on the ministry, the level of commitment and servant-hood might be considerably higher than in Classes or even Life Groups. Although every Ministry Team has a place for every person wishing to serve, professional training, skills, talents, gifting, personality traits, heart, passion, and life experiences all play significant roles for those serving on Ministry Teams and may elevate or limit an individual’s desire to serve.

Companionship-centric FELLOWSHIP GATHERINGS are the easy, “no pressure”Next Step for those just wishing to share a meal with friends, new and old. No membership required…just show up!

In my next blog post, the third in the series, the end result of our classes, groups, teams, and gatherings;

3. We needed to challenge/leverage every ministry, program, class, or group towards outreach/evangelism by discovering the power of Cheap, Easy & Fun, and Repeatable, Relational, & Joinable, and Vectoring.