At churches all across the world, people are learning that bigger isn t always better. While there are a great many benefits of being a part of a large church; the benefits of becoming smaller are important. Small groups bring about real discipleship, life change, and spiritual growth. If you read my blog for any length of time you ve heard me write about how-to lead small groups, how-to recruit leaders to lead small groups, how-to organize the details of small groups, and even pushed some tips at you from the greatest small group leader of all time.
I love small groups, but over the past two years those small groups have taken on a special meaning. I m a pastor and a leader of great leaders; but I m primarily a husband and a father. It s as the latter that I ve seen the real impact of small groups.
- Read the rest of my contribution to the Lead Small blog at: http://leadsmall.org/elementary/leading-small-matters/
The way you love a kid can dramatically affect his or her future. Love over time creates worth, and any parent would tell you the most common parenting mistakes are easily overcome by loving our children over the long haul. In the book Playing for Keeps , the authors make this statement:
Most research suggests that when it comes to love, the younger the recipient, the more powerful the impact.
This can create quite the urgency in the heart of an elementary small group leader. Think about it. When we are only seeing these kids for a handful of hours a year, how can we demonstrate a love that makes a sincere impact?
- Read the rest of my contribution to the Lead Small blog at: http://leadsmall.org/elementary/the-time-is-now/
Below are links to “Family Night” themes we did a few years back when my kids were itty-bitties. My hope is that if you’re a parent of littles, you find some easy ideas for making memories and spending time with those precious wee ones. I had so much fun looking through these posts – would you look at those little sweet faces?!?
Roughing It – Indoor Camping
Ye Olde Family Night – Pirate Theme
Family Fall Festival
No One Eats Moon Pies Anymore – Outer Space Theme
Early Edition – Morning at Night Theme
Water – A night around Living Water International
All Aboard! - Train theme around Polar Express
Create Your Own Boardgame
Meet the President
St. Patrick’s Day – all things green
One Seriously Funny Hamster - a night around the movie Bolt
Super Heroes and Princesses
Choose Your Own Fast Food Night
India – a night themed around Compassion International
Nocturnal Creatures – all about critters that come out at night!
Sledding and Snowballs in Summertime
When I Grow Up
“If you want to succeed you should strike out on new paths, rather than travel worn paths of accepted success.”
— John D. Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil Company
Read that quote again. It’s the secret behind the biggest breakthroughs in innovation. Look at the history of technology, and innovation is there. Look at the history of government, and innovation is there. Look at the history of organized sports, and innovation is there.
Innovation is not achieved by imitating the success of others. It’s achieved by great leaders who choose to risk failure and ridicule in order to create something completely new. The comfort of what has been done is always tempting, and sometimes staying put and maintaining is a great challenge that we are called to. However, oftentimes the real challenge is in walking off the beaten path.
Your teenage son that won’t talk to you because he’s tired of your lectures and unsolicited advice…maybe he could use something off the beaten path. Your preschooler that is too scared to be left in a room without you…maybe she could use something off the beaten path. That co-worker that drives you absolutely batty…maybe she could use a response from you that was less than common.
You may say, “Give me some examples!”, but then you’d be missing the whole point. The question is your to answer.
What do you need to do differently to make something different happen?
I’ve had some limited experience meeting with newlyweds over the years. You know these couples, right? They love their soon-to-be husband or wife, and as I begin to sit down and talk with them I discover that their expectations of marriage are wildly different for marriage. He thinks that it’s going to be great to start a family soon, and she is excited to finish her 2nd graduate degree before maybe having kids. As the counselor, it’s my goal to help them set realistic and right expectations for each other. As the married man, it just seems to obvious.
Yet as a father, I’m more than guilty of holding inappropriate expectations for my own kids every day. I expect math to be easy for them, because it was easy for me. I expect them to love baseball, but they just want to wear the hats and drink Capri suns afterwards. When they’re young, it starts so innocently. Then they become teenagers one day, and I then hold the potential for my bad expectations of them to keep them from what they could become. I expect greatness to look like one thing, and I discover later on that greatness was there all along.
If your children regularly fail to measure up to your standards, you might be expecting too much.
Then there is the nasty flip side of expectations. Some parents expect almost nothing from their kids. In such settings, children can lose energy or passion because they are never helped to reach forward to those things which are ahead (Phil 3:13). In other homes too much is expected. Experience teaches that unreasonable expectations are the ideal breeding ground for discouragement.
As parents let us be guilty of encouragement, and let us be convicted when our expectations get in the way of who these wonderful children are becoming each day.