Sunday, November 29, 2009

x's and o's

I'm a sports nut. My fandom unfortunately is not matched by my skill. When I played sports in high school, I may not have been able to hit the open three, but I could dissect the defense like no other. When playing in the secondary in football, I could read the quarterback's eyes, the way the line was formed, and the direction the backs were leaning and I could tell you exactly what play was coming. But if the play was a hand off to a big bruising fullback, I'd be lucky to get him down if he made it that far.

This problem also stretches to other areas of my life: my mind races faster than any of my natural abilities. When it comes to ministry, I'm always thinking of the whats and hows and seldom am able to put everything on my mind into practice. Part of it is a desire to have the perfect plan, the perfect results and a paralyzing insecurity that keeps me from acting out of fear of being imperfect.

One of the ways I try to overcome this is by digging deeply into things and learning as much as I can. I figure if I have enough tools in my toolbox, I can fix anything. The latest such obsession is in small groups. I've gone through a couple of iterations this year, have had schedules and focus changed, had people come and go, and am facing the new year hoping to chart out a course for my own spiritual growth and the growth of those in my group.

I've used study series from Living on the Edge, study notes from the Serendipity Bible, and my own Bible knowledge to come up with lessons. I just finished Sticky Church by Larry Osborne and my Evangelist gave me a copy of Purpose Driven Church by you-know-who as a follow-up. An elder in Atlanta is looking into doing lessons online, while Living on the Edge offers their R12 curriculum online as well. Now I just found this book from a post on Michael Hyatt's blog. All that, and I'm still open to suggestions.

Is there a perfect model for small groups and discipleship? As long as we're still imperfect people, the answer is no. I like the illustration my Evangelist recently gave during a lesson. "[with respect to church functions/activities] following the direction of the Holy Spirit is like surfing. You go out on the water and wait and wait for the perfect wave. You can't get up too soon and you can't wait too long or you won't be able to ride it. You can't ride just any wave either. So sometimes you wait for what seems like forever while other times it seems you don't have to wait at all. And when you finally do get on that perfect wave, you can only ride it so long before you reach shore and then you have to go back out and wait some more." I'm waiting for my perfect wave, so to speak, but I need the wisdom to not ride it too long.

"Many are the plans in a man's heart,
but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails." (Proverbs 19:21)

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