This is the third post in a series based on an article from Thom Rainer called, Five Obstacles Facing Small Groups.
“The third obstacle to small communities is when they become a reflection of past practices. Churches with a strong history and tradition can be closed to deeper discussions and questions. They have done groups a certain way for years. The way is safe. The connection is important. Group life is a tool of God for His purposes, not an institutional expectation. Groups provide the opportunity to live life on life.”
There are few things that can stand in the way of “what God has for us next” more than “the way we have always done it”.
A discipline we in the church have neglected to nurture is the discipline of honoring tradition without being enslaved to it. The way we have always done things is important. It got us where we are now. But what is more important is the confident knowledge that God has something greater in store for us, and that it will require flexibility.
I am happy to say that my sense of PSBC is that the majority of the people are indeed flexible. I have been overwhelmed by the heart and commitment of the people in this church to see God’s Kingdom grow. But we are all human, and we must resist the temptation to be comfortable in what is known. I struggle with it.
That is why it is so important to understand the core values that make Sunday School so meaningful. Things like: a desire to grow, serving others, reaching out together, taking care of one another, and studying God’s Word. If these things sound familiar…they should. These are the core values we have agreed on that make Sunday School W.O.R.K.
A commitment to these values helps us preserve the most important things about small group life, even as we boldly face a future that will require flexibility. We must find security in the right things, not the easy things. I hope all this talk about change doesn’t scare you. I do not believe in change for the sake of change. But I do believe in changing when it is necessary to be obedient in making room for the growth God has for us. Change doesn’t always mean reckless risk. Healthy change requires strategic, calculated, well communicated risk. That takes time, and prayer.
It is important to understand that Sunday School is a tool of God to accomplish discipleship. It is an end to a means, it is not the end in itself. WE are committed as a church to strengthening families. We believe that the church is the family of God. And while we work to build up strong individual families, we believe that building up the Sunday School is how we will build up our collective family of faith.
I am so excited about where God is leading us. There is a sense of expectation and excitement here every weekend. We must hold tightly to God and the values He has established so that we can wisely move forward. Unless the Lord builds a house, it’s workers labor in vain. Build it Lord, and use me as you see fit!
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