GroupLife Midwest: The Courage of Leadership with Steve Gladen

The Courage of Leadership: THE question everyone needs to answer to step into ministry

Steve Gladen, Small Group Pastor at Saddleback, started us off in the best possible place for a leader in any ministry…right in the middle of God’s Word. Teaching from John 21, he relates how after a fruitless night of fishing, Jesus asks the fishermen to try their nets on the other side of the boat. The net barely holds the 153 fish. 153 fish. Such an exact number must be important. That’s a lot of fish!

Then THE question…

”Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?” John 21:15

In other words, more than 153 fish? More than your livelihood? More than anything?

We know that Peter answers yes, and Jesus asks him to “Feed my lambs.” Twice more Jesus asks, and twice more Peter says yes he loves Jesus. Jesus tells him how things wont go well for Peter when he is old. Finally, Jesus says, “Follow me!”

What’s God’s love language? When we are ready to lay everything we have down and follow Jesus. That takes courage. Courage is not the absence of fear. Fear can be a strong motivator. The enemy uses fear to stop us from doing what God wants us to do.

“Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?”

What are your ‘these‘?

What do the 153 fish represent for you? What stops you from doing God’s love language?

Jesus didn’t pick the “who’s who” of Jerusalem, he picked the available.


Up next: Lectio Divina with Mindy Caliguire


GroupLife Midwest 2012 – Meet the Speakers

Picture Perfect or Real Leaders

Think those conference speakers have it all together? Lead perfect small groups?

We were introduced to the speakers on Friday night at GroupLife Midwest. Mark Howell led them through a 2 truths/1 lie icebreaker and we found out some major scoop on our speakers. But I’m not sharing them here. Next time, you need to come to the conference to get the good stuff.
Each leader shared a small group leadership tip and a personal leadership struggle. Their honesty will bring a sigh of relief if you’ve experienced the same issues.

Garry Poole

Tip: Let people make discoveries for themselves; foster ‘aha’ moments.

Struggle: Not rushing people, allowing the Holy Spirit to guide.

Rick Howerton

Tip: Every group member has something to share – don’t discount someone because of your judgment of them.

Struggle: Not making time to connect between meetings.

Eddie Mosley

Tip: 2 minutes a day and call on the way; pray for a group member 2 minutes a day, and call them on your way home to ask how they’re doing.

Struggle: Scheduling – frustration when people don’t show up.

Bill Donahue

Tip: Don’t try to control your small group; 1 Peter 4:10 – let everyone have input

Struggle: Praying for people when I want to just ‘fix’ them.

Mindy Caliguire

Tip: When God’s at the center of mutual caring in a small group, amazing things happen.

Struggle: Avoids confrontation by waiting for them to ‘discover’ truths.

Mark Howell

Tip: Embrace the chaos of people on the journey growing closer to God.

Struggle: I talk too much.

Can you identify with any of their struggles? Feeling a little better now? 

A big shout out to Bobbie Reutter, her hubby Rob, and the Suncrest Groups team who graciously gave me a ride to the event on Friday!! It was great to hang out and talk with you.

Up next… keynote speaker Steve Gladen:The Courage of Leadership

Trust Agents

trust-agentsI’m really enjoying the book, “Trust Agents: Using the web to build influence, improve reputation, and earn trust” by Chris Brogan.  Chock-full of information, and practical advice about how to use it. I posted on Chapter 2 – Action Step #1 – Make It Your Game. You can see it and posts along the way on the book here.

Recommended resource for those wanting to improve your online presence and credibility. What books do you recommend?

Holy Discontent…or Just Discontent?


At Suncrest, we’ve relied on an all-church study in the fall for 2 reasons…

1. Jump start small group momentum

2. Refocus on one of our four “C”s.

Generally, we keep the all-church study between 4-7 sessions, and groups have great curriculum liberty after that.

As group leaders step into leadership, I meet with them and talk about the need to be unified with what the church’s mission is. Leaders also sign a covenant which outlines their responsibilities. The first one being Unity, and it says, Leaders at Suncrest will always strive to protect the unity of the church. We will speak positively of other church leaders…etc.

So what do you say when a group leader doesn’t want to do the all-church study? When they’ve told their group they don’t really like the study? The reasons are pretty flimsy…Homework. Not cool enough.

From Eternity to Here (Book Review)

from-eternity-pic Pagan Christianity had us reflecting on church practices and how many were derived from the secular world. Once again, in From Eternity to Here, Frank Viola makes us stop and think about the validity of our modern expression of church. I think we are drawn into the discussion from a nagging sense that the modern-day American church lacks the passion, vitality, or spontaneity of the Acts 2 church.

While  I can’t say I agree with all of Viola’s assertions, I strongly resonate with some. For instance, I love the picture he paints of God’s love for us. “...So take heart: You are someone that God ‘so loves.’ He has drawn you to Himself….in the moment when you feel the most unworthy, you are the most welcome.” I also agree with Viola’s emphasis on the church as the body of Christ as opposed to a religious structure bound by man-made limitations. “…there is a habitat that is native to our species as Christians. It’s called the ekklesia. And it is commonly translated ‘church’ in your New Testament. Ekklesia is not a building. It’s not a denomination. It’s not a church service…It’s a local gathering of God’s people who live as community and who assemble together regularly.”

“The church is called to gather together regularly to display God’s life through the ministry of every believer.” Agreed, but as soon as you begin to describe the how, you have once again resorted to man-made limitations. Maybe we need to revisit those churches from Acts. Those churches we all seem bent on reproducing today. What happened to them? Were they really as perfect as we think?  I’m not suggesting they were/were not perfect, but I do think that the best expression of individual churches today would be the one God is dictating to those He has called to lead them. As the body of Christ-at-large, there are great things happening! There is a greater sense of belonging across denominations, distance, generations and preferences.

I recommend reading this book if you want to be reminded of how much God loves and pursues you, and challenged to re-evaluate the practices you engage in both personally, in your church, and as the body of Christ-at-large. Thanks to Frank Viola for always challenging us to think about who we are in Christ, and how that is expressed in our lives and in our churches.


Today (June 9th), the following blogs are discussing Frank Viola’s new bestselling book “From Eternity to Here” (David C. Cook, 2009). The book just hit the May CBA Bestseller List. Some are posting Q & A with Frank; others are posting full reviews of the book. To read more reviews and order a copy at a 33% discount, go to

For more resources, such as downloadable audios, the free Discussion Guide, the Facebook Group page, etc. go to the official website:

Enjoy the reviews and the Q and A:
Out of Ur –
Shapevine – (June newsletter)
Brian Eberly – –
Greg Boyd –
Vision Advance –
David Flowers –
Kingdom Grace –
Captain’s Blog –
Christine Sine –
Darin Hufford – The Free Believers Network –
Zoecarnate –
Church Planting Novice –
Staying Focused –
Take Your Vitamin Z –
Jeff Goins –
Bunny Trails –
Matt Cleaver –
Jason T. Berggren –
Simple Church –
Emerging from Montana –
Parable Life –
Oikos Australia –
West Coast Witness –
Keith Giles –
Consuming Worship —
Tasha Via –
Andrew Courtright –
ShowMeTheMooneys! –
Leaving Salem, Blog of Ronnie McBrayer –
Jason Coker –
From Knowledge to Wisdom –
Home Brewed Christianity –
Dispossessed –
Dandelion Seeds –
David Brodsky’s Blog- “Flip the tape Deck” –
Chaordic Journey –
Renee Martin –
Bob Kuhn –
Living with Freaks:
Real Worship –
Fervent Worship –
Julie Ferwerda Blog – http://www.JulieFerwerda.com
What’s With Christina?! –
Irreligious Canuck –
This day on the journey –
Live and Move: Thoughts on Authentic Christianity –
Spiritual Journey With God –

Dries Conje – / /
Journey with Others –
On Now to the Third Level –
Christine Moers –
Breaking Point –
Hand to the Plough –
Jon Reid –
Weblight –
D. L. Webster –
Searching for the Whole-Hearted Life –