Category Archives: Small Groups

10 miles on the bike

Today I rode 10 miles on the bike.  Beautiful day…sunny…about 80 deg.  Rode with Brenda & Brooke.  We had an awesome time.  “Special day”.  I feel great.  I always feel better after the ride than right before.

Also, I met with the Ripley’s this morning to chat about them leading a group this fall.  I’m so excited about their group.  They will be great leaders.  I get totally pumped after meeting with leaders like Greg & Lori.  I wish I could do that every day.  On the flip side…I get totally bummed when I hear that someone is leaving or struggling for some reason.  I need to make sure I manage my emotional intake and keep meeting with strong/growing leaders.  I know that at times I need to meet with troubled people…but I want that to be the exception.  While on our bike ride, we ran into Chris & Tracy.  What an awesome couple.  They were on their way to Moses Lake.  I really like them.  Sharp people.  It’s funny how I found myself stopping 2-3 different times to help people with directions.  I don’t even know the trails that well…but when I see people having a question type look on their face…I need to stop and help.  Maybe it’s my southern charm?  Yes…I do care more about connecting than winning.

This bike riding thing is good.  I think I’ll keep doing it.

What did you do today that totally invigorated you?

Lunch with good friends at “The Patio”

Today we had lunch at The Patio with Doug Gattis & Barry Phillips.  Great friends here in ATL.  They were both neighbors and in our small group.  Again, we’re truly blessed to have such great friends here in ATL.  God blessed our 3 years here and we are better people today because of our relationships with the Phillips and the Gattiss.

Side note: The Patio is a great lunch spot.  Lots of mom’s & kids….but great lunch.

Where is your favorite lunch spot?

Small Group

Three years ago Andy (the guy in the middle holding the baby) and I committed to leading a group of boys through middle school at church.  I made it into the 7th grade with them before moving to Seattle.  Andy stayed with them all the way through middle school.  The plan here is to build a relationship with these boys so we can walk with them through this very important time of their life.  Our goal was also to communicate the love of Christ in a real and practical way with the guys in our group.  So, I was thrilled when I had a chance to check in with them yesterday.  They are all moving on to High School next year.  These guys are all the same age as my son Drew.  I wish I could have stayed with them but God had a different plan for me.  Great guys – great group.

What are you doing to invest in young lives that aren’t your own children?

Thus sayeth the Lord!

So, my buddy Fishburn is in Detroit this week on business.  Fishburn is in my small group.  For literally the last 4 months plus he’s been dealing with a bronchial/breathing issue.  Gone to doctors and they just give him an inhaler and send him home.  We’ve been praying for him but he still struggles.  Especially at night…thus no sleep….thus crabby pattie (nod to sponge bob).  Now, it could have something to do with the fact that my buddy Fishburn smokes his pipe every night…but….naw!

At the same time, he & his wife have been dealing with family challenges for the last couple years…yes….years.  Side note….please pray for this family.  They’re good people.

So…here’s where it gets really cool/weird/God/Cool!  Fishburn is on the flight to Detroit earlier this week.  Plane lands…taxi to gate…seatbelt sign goes off.  A lady (in about her 50’s) bolts past everyone to be first off the plane (i know…irritating).  When Fishburn gets to the top of the jetway…there is the little 50 year old lady standing in his path.  You’ve got to picture this….Fishburn is not a small man…so for 50 lady to be stopping him….wow!  So she says, “excuse me young man”…. and the conversation goes like this:

50..excuse me young man


50..God has a word for you…He knows what you’re going through and the challenges you’ve been facing the last couple years.  God is going to be faithful and take care of you.


50…And you need to stop smoking….


50..have a nice day (and she waddles down the concourse)

At this point…Fishburn is befuddled.  There is absolutely no way that this lady could have known any of this stuff.  She was sent to Fishburn by God to tell him to hang on and quit smoking.  Needless to say….Fishburn is feeling touched.  God has a plan for all of us…but I think he has a special plan for my buddy Fishburn.

What is God trying to tell you today?

Grouplife leader training

Yesterday i had the opportunity to sit with some great leaders and talk about training small group leaders.  I really had a great time.  here are the notes I passed out.  Feel free to download and print.

How do you train your small group leaders?

Northwest Network Conference

Tonight I attended the opening session of the Northwest Ministry network conferece.  Great night.  Les Welk (Netowrk Superintendant spoke and did a great job.  It was especially great to be there with our whole team.  We are honored to be part of the Northwest Network and serve together.  After the service we went back to the hotel, had a bite to eat and played Rock Band.  Hooked up with Wes Davis and his team from New Life Kitsap.  Had a great conversation with Brandon about groups.  I need to connect with him to learn more about his coaches.  That’s one of the things I need to grow for our grouplife team at New Life is the leaders coaches.  Overall….great night.

Check out David’s post at: Anthology of Thought

Small Group Leader Training…Part 4

I’m finishing up the 4 part series by sharing our ongoing leadership training strategy of S2 (Shared Skills) training and the Grouplife Leaders Conference.  To completely understand how we do this, I must first explain about our 6 Grouplife leader essentials (again, gleaned from my time at Northpoint).  I believe that we could train on a number of things and probably do a great job.  But, the average leader (person) out there is barely going to remember the main title…much less any of the content.  So, our strategy is to narrow the focus.  Narrow our topic down to 6 essentials and then repeat the often. 


So, here are the 6 essentials:

  1. Think Life Change
  2. Promote Participation
  3. Cultivate Communication
  4. Replace Yourself
  5. Provide Care
  6. Multiply Influence

Each time we do a Grouplife training event, we focus on one of these essentials.  This is absolutely brilliant.  It takes the guessing game out of it.  Next S2 training we do in August will be on Multiply Influence.  All about multiplying your group so you can reach more people that desire community just like you.  I love it.


S2 (Shared Skills)

We hold the S2 trainings twice a year.  March & August (nothing sacred about those months…I don’t have a bunch of other stuff in those months and it evens out with the Grouplife Leaders Conference (next).  We hold the same training twice in one Sunday.  Yes, I said Sunday.  We’ll cover the material/discussion at 10:30 & 12:15 during 2 of our services.  That way, our leaders can go to their service then come to the training.  We feed them well (always) and send them away with a nice gift (always).  Here is how the training time goes.  We allow about 65 minutes for the training.  We start by sharing the overall vision of groups (never hurts to keep the vision in front) then we go into the essential for that time and do about 15 minutes on that essential.  Then we have 2-3 discussion question (on topic) at each table.  The table full of leaders will then take about 10 minutes and discuss these questions.  Then we pull it back together…banter some of the discussion…present for another 5-8 minutes…and throw it back to the table for discussion.  We try to have at least 3 discussion times.  The whole idea of the “shared skills” is for the leaders to discuss and share their skills from their experiences.  I love these training times and I know that our leaders love them as well.  I encourage all our leaders to bring their apprentice leaders with them to experience the training and prepare them to lead.  Great value add for the apprentice leader.  I love the S2 environment.


Grouplife Leaders Conference

The Grouplife Leaders Conference is the last weekend of October.  Again, nothing really sacred about October….just that our grouplink was at the end of September and I want to stay away from November & December.  Sometimes you just have to think that way when it comes to the calendar.  Last year this event was a huge success.  It went from 8:30 AM – 1:00 PM.  In that time we fed the leaders a nice hot breakfast & lunch.  Gave each of them a very nice gift including a new book…Starbucks card…and a bunch of  stuff I don’t really remember???  The primary goal for this training is to love & honor the leaders….and then provide direction & training.  Also during that time we had GREAT worship together and 2 keynote sessions that were a little more like a breakout/S2 session.  I like to keep the flavor of the keynote very much like the S2 table sharing time.  I just think that is a great learning environment for most of the leaders.  I’ve found that even the most experienced leaders feel insecure when it comes to leading a group from the church in spiritual matters.  That’s why the group discussion format works so well.  Let me say this…if someone is TOO comfortable leading in “spiritual matters”….keep an eye on them….just a teeny weenie warning.  The keynote sessions are typically done by myself & Pastor Troy.  Here is the way I think….when it comes to our leaders…I will pull out all the stops every time I’m eyeball to eyeball with them.  Without our great small group leaders…we don’t have small groups.  I love all of our leaders.  I think it was Howard Shultz who said that they’re customers are all precious souls (if I misquoted…sorry).  Like that quote, I see all our small group leaders as precious souls and I greatly value their leadership.

That is my strategy for training small group leaders.  I’m sure it’s not perfect and I’m confident that it will change.  Here is what I know, meeting with and investing in leaders is the one thing that gives me my greatest professional charge.


What is that one thing professionally that gets you charged up?