Last week I traveled to Orange County California for a Small Groups Conference.  It was 70 and sunny most of the time.  I discovered that what God is doing at FBC Smyrna is also happening in many churches across America.  Motorcycle riders are sharing Christ, venues and satellites are reaching people, SG Pastors are networking, health of SG is on the upswing, text messages are the wave, and having a leadership training strategy and calendar are crucial.

I led a breakout session on “Transitioning Sunday School to Small Groups.”  The purpose of this breakout was to help churches understand it is not whether one is better than the other, but more about the principles of Discipleship, Community and Service.  For Saddleback Church, these principles are Discipleship, Fellowship, Worship, Evangelism and Ministry.  Whether you have Sunday School and/or Small Groups, these Biblical principles must be lived out.  Many of the churches have seen Sunday School become a lecture, Bible information class with little fellowship, evangelism or ministry.  People begin to not be ministered to or feel a sense of belonging in a class/group and drop out.  We are called to be in community; Hebrews 1o:25.  We spent time discussing and strategizing ways to rebuild these principles into the structure of the church.

I also learned from Leonard Sweet that it would be cheaper to drink gasoline than coffee.  If coffee, sometimes called the “wine of Muslims” because of it’s Arabic heritage, is $3 a cup, by the gallon it comes close to $40.  WOW!  🙂 

But more seriously, we are all on a journey for a destination which cannot be a journey alone.  We must take people with us!  People like Barnabas, Jonathan, Nathan, Peter, Paul.  People who will encourage us.  People who will hold us accountable.  People who will mentor us.  People who can be our true-best-friend.  People who we will mentor on this journey.  And people we can mentor.  I have spent the last few days naming the people in my life who are traveling with me.  Some of the categories are not as strong as I need or hope for….to which I have to get busy.  God will supply those if I just look for them.

The trip to southern California will always be in my mind as a time of challenge, of vision, of hope for this journey on which I travel.