Spent Thursday – Saturday in Dallas as part of the NEXT Saddleback Conference on Small Groups. One of the unwritten practices of LifePoint Church is to never travel alone, take someone you are investing in with you.  There were four of us who went from very different experiences and reasons.

I had been invited to go by Rick Howerton (LifeWay) and Steve Gladen (Saddleback) to lead a couple of workshops over the weekend.  So I asked three guys to go with me: a SG Coordinator who has been doing a great job starting new groups and enlisting successful Coaches, but had not been to a mega-conference on Small Groups;  a successful Sunday School teacher with several years experience.  He has help disciple many blended families and help them start Small Groups off campus; and a SG Coach who feels called to ministry and is trying to narrow down that call.

Each of us came back with renewed excitement, vision, encouragement and humble happiness of how awesome God was and how wonderful it was to be part of a church in which He is active.

Quotes on the return trip: “Now I know why I am here.”  “I am ready to do whatever I need to do to help people connect on or off campus.  I don’t care whether they get in Sunday School or Small Group, I have to help them connect.”  “I am honored to be part of such a great SG ministry. I have already thought of four or five more people I can ask to join us.”  “We have to keep the health of our SG as a focus, seems that is vital in long term SG ministry.”

What are you doing to help your leaders and potential leaders to take the NEXT step?  The 2010 NEXT Conference sites are:  Nashville, Lake Forest CA, Milwaukee, L.A., St. Louis, Seattle, Washington DC, Miami.

The Willow Creek GroupLife Conference simulcast in Nashville, Oct. 24 at Belmont Church.

Don’t miss this chance to grow leaders! Hope to see you at one of these!