You probably noticed I had a major gap in blogging dates. Well there are 3 big reasons:
1. Graduation: no not mine, but my oldest son graduated from high school in May. I was able to help him “make wise choices” (our on-going parental coaching phrase) by offering a trip to Montana with me instead of a Panama City trip with his friends. He actually took me up on it. We spent the week fly-fishing and riding four-wheelers through the Rockies with our friend Joe Windham. Graham said it was the best trip of his life. Making memories!
2. Baseball summer tour: My youngest son has played for years on a travel baseball team. You probably have heard of them…thru previous blogs…the Smyrna Bugs. The team received the invitation letter to the July 25 week of Cooperstown Dreams Park World Series. In preparation for that Gresham played as many tournaments as he possibly could. In addition to the Middle TN tournaments, the big tours included playing at the Disney/ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando and South Haven Baseball Complex in Mississippi with the Tennessee Knights baseball team. Then it was off to Cooperstown by way of a Cleveland Indians game and Niagara Falls. We joined 104 teams there and played seven games going 5-2 for the week. We finished in the top 20 and had the week of a life-time. We concluded our vacation as a family by touring Boston, Fenway Park and a Red Sox game. Making memories!
3. Evaluation: The remainder of the gap I would have to say was due to very in-depth, serious evaluation of LifePoint’s Small Group Ministry (GroupLife). In the spring each staff member was asked to work through Real Life Discipleship Training Manual (Jim Putman) with five of their ministry’s Coaches or volunteers. The hope was that at the end of the twelve weeks, each of the five would take five others through the material. Approximately 135 people completed the material in the spring. From that almost half of them committed to taking five of their friends, small group or volunteers through the material in the fall.
This brought on a needed evaluation of our ministry from the phrase found in Jim Putman’s ministry and resource: “Making disciples who make disciples.” So are we? That is what we spent our time doing this fall. I have to be honest, when you are in the middle of looking internal so deeply, there is not much room, time, energy or excitement about looking outward (blogging). So what did I spend my time doing?
I spent September thru December reading: Missional Small Groups, Missiorelate, A Different Kind of Tribe, Tangible Kingdom, Building a Discipleship Culture, Leading Small Groups with Purpose, Small Groups with Purpose, Launching Missional Communities and Community. I read various blogs on a regular basis as well.
I contacted people in the Small Group Network resulting in hours of conversation learning and sharing about small group ministry. (Read more about or join the SGN here.)
Now we are conducting interviews and Focus Groups with LifePointers to learn more and share our proposal for the next phase of LifePoint Small Group ministry. I plan to keep you updated on the future, as for now…that is where I have been.