Pursuing The One

Pursuing The One

 

Focus on the one… We have a saying at Renovation that we are committed to reaching the one with the hope of Jesus. The one represents the person that is close to you but far from Jesus.  In the well-known parable in Luke 15: 4-7,  Jesus conveys His heart for the one. “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” In this passage, we are able to see Jesus heart for the one. Jesus pursuit of the one does not neglect or minimize His love for the 99. Rather, examples of his love for those who are far from Himself.  The one is not an exclusive singular term, rather represents everyone who is far from God. We are able to see how Jesus is always pursuing the ones that are far from Himself.

As a worshiper, pastor and leader, loving the one is my aim. To constantly surround me with those that are far from God. When we pursue the one, we are committing to loving them unconditionally without the affirmation of their sins or alienation because of their sins. Pursuing the one means we love them unconditionally. Loving them no matter what their stance is on what we believe. Over the past several months, I have been wrestling with how to continue to love the one even when their lifestyle or beliefs are contrary to Gods word? I believe this is an issue that the church must wrestle with today more than ever before. My conviction is that as the church we must radically improve how we love those who disagree with us while not neglecting speaking biblical truth into their lives.  Rosaria Butterfield says, “it’s a violence to have our words be stronger than our deeds.

 HOW TO LIVE THE ONE LIKE JESUS: Here are 3 truths I am learning about how to love the one like Jesus.

 

I MUST TO BECOME FRIENDS of THEM,  NOT SCOUT THEM:

A sports scout canvases the country for the next rising talent. Looking for someone they can invest in to get something from them. They have an agenda in their relationship. This is not to suggest that scouts are bad. Not at all, this is just the nature of their job. I firmly believe that our agenda should not be to change someone, rather, to love them as Jesus loves them and allow the Holy Spirit and God’s word to change them. Our neighbors do not need us to “fix them”, they need someone to be a light in their dark world.

I MUST AVOID STIGMATIZING THEIR SINS ABOVE MY SINS:

It’s easy to separate or even elevate sins based on ever-changing cultural opinions. Romans 3:23 is a great reminder for me that my sins equally set us apart from God as anyone else. “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Even my most seemingly trivial sin (if there was such a thing), would be enough to set me apart from God for eternity. If it was not for the grace of God. We must avoid the language of, “how could they”, “I would never” or “I can’t imagine” less we remind ourselves that without the unmerited love of God we too would be left to our own ways.

I MUST SPEAK ABOUT REPENTANCE WITH FERVENTNESS AND LOVE:

The most loving thing I can do with my one is to love them enough to show them that Jesus has a better way and encourage them to live in God’s best. Here is where it gets difficult; then I must continue to love them even if they don’t agree.

Undoubted there are countless groups of people who have been scared by the out of context and unbiblical banter that has taken place around the topic of repentance. The call to repentance was ever meant to be a billboard slogan, a sandwich sign at a grand opening or yelled through a megaphone at a group of people. Rightly understood, repentance is a call to acknowledged Jesus lordship over your own and to commit to living in it.

Romans 2:4 has been a wealth of conviction and encouragement for me over the past several weeks, “God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance.” Paul is addressing the hypocrites of the Christian faith. He draws our attention to how people change. It’s by the undeserving, unmerited kindness of God. Paul highlights that God’s justness and kindness are not polar opposites. Instead, they complement one another.

My job is to love those who are far from God, even when they do not agree with my beliefs. To continue confessing my own sins to God and leaning on the grace of God for my life and in love, point those that are close to me to God’s better plan for them.

Who is your one?

WHAT IS A LIFEGROUP COACH?

WHAT IS A LIFEGROUP COACH?

By: Jake Ferguson

Coaching has as many styles as there are coaches.  If the old cliché, “There is more than one way to skin a cat,” has any truth; it has truth in coaching.  It is recognized that coaches will lead and mentor LifeGroup Leaders according to personality, life experience, and unique relationships with God.  The relationships that the coach builds over time with their Leaders and Hosts will pave a way for spiritual growth and biblical fellowship.

What is a Coach and what does a Coach do?  In short, a coach is a leader whose intentional investment in the lives of other leaders encourages them to do and be better; better not just in their leadership role…but better, period.  A Coach calls out the best in a leader.  The relationship between Coach and leader is the engine that God uses to drive the leader to reach their God given purposes.

A coaching relationship is successful when the coach invests in the leader in such a way that the leader feels cared for and able to accomplish the task.  Four things that a Coach must keep in mind when mentoring a LifeGroup Leader and Host:

  1. They EQUIP the leader and host

2. They SERVE the leader and host

3. They SHEPHERD those under their care

4. And they further RECRUIT more leaders and hosts through relational development

SIMILAR BUT NOT THE SAME

SIMILAR BUT NOT THE SAME

By: Megan Saurman

Leading, mentoring and coaching. All these words seem to carry the same similar theme… moving people in a direction, aiming to reach a goal, implementing wisdom to help another person or group be successful. How each of these words accomplish that end result though is very unique.

If you are praying about what role is right for you and if you can be more than one of these in the same season lets explore their differences and the way each one works in its own method.

You can absolutely be all of these at the same time, you can be a LifeGroup Leader and a LifeGroup Coach simultaneously  – the key is to know how much you can take on and still be highly effective, and to pray about who in your sphere of influence needs you to be which role in their life.

Leading a LifeGroup means you provide a clear vision for your LifeGroup. You are growing a certain amount of people in God’s word, towards Next Steps in their faith. Your main priority is to love them where they are at, and help them be successful in reaching new levels in their faith and relationship with God. Cover them with support, and help them stay focused while their relationship with God is becoming deeper and more consistent.

Mentoring within a LifeGroup, which is part of the LifeGroup Leader’s role, is when you identify someone within your LifeGroup who has potential and interest in being a leader and you begin raising them up by not only leading them but also sharing your wisdom, life experiences, and your personal methods of growing closer to God and in God’s word. Intentionally take them along side you and tell them how you have been taught, share with them the positives and negatives of your own life experiences, and how to start being leaders themselves by slowly allowing them to participate in co leading with you.

Coaching a LifeGroup is a separate dynamic all together. The reason you can be a Coach and a LifeGroup Leader at the same time is because you will be coaching a different LifeGroup than the one you are leading. Coaching a LifeGroup means your role will be a listening ear to other LifeGroup Leaders and you will ask them a series of questions that draw an answer from within them, which will teach them to recount their observations, be objectionable about situations and learn to problem solve using the wisdom they themselves have learned. Yes, there be occasional times that you will have to offer your own advice, opinion, and fresh ideas to the situation.The best way to effectively coach is to be a sound board for the LifeGroup Leader you have been placed with, and to draw answers out of them so they learn to be a more effective leader who raises up more effective leaders.

EVERYONE NEEDS A COACH

EVERYONE NEEDS A COACH

By: Megan Saurman

Everyone. LifeGroup Leaders included. Coaches teach, train, and encourage others towards a certain direction. If you are a Leader then why do you need someone Coaching you? Because being on top can be lonely, and because as a LifeGroup Leader who doles out constant clarity, encouragement, wisdom and vision to your LifeGroup Members, you equally need someone pouring all those strengths right back into your life. 
As a LifeGroup Leader, should a Coach be your only source of receiving instruction, training and encouragement? No, but they are one of the only sources available that are simply there for you without asking anything in return. Here are 3 ways that you can benefit as a LifeGroup Leader by having a Coach in your corner: 
  • LifeGroup Leaders need to be refreshed on the vision and calling of being a Leader. Honestly, not all days do we as Leaders wake up motivated, not weighed down by life’s circumstances, ready to enthusiastically pour into other people. Coaches are meant to be there when we feel off track to help us continue to press on towards growing others, bring to mind why we live in biblical community, and to pray for us when our lives need some encouragement. Their enthusiasm is contagious on the days we need it most. 
  • Coaches have the playbook. Sometimes even as a Leader you may run into a situation within your LifeGroup where you could use a second opinion, a fresh set of eyes, and a pipeline to church leadership. Coaches are there for you to run situations by, to be confidential and objectionable in tough situations, and to share wisdom on how to handle things that may be out of your comfort zone, they also know when it’s time for church leadership to be advised. 
  • The main priority for a Coach is you. They care about how you are spiritually growing, if you are taking enough Sabbath rest time, they care if you are successful as a LifeGroup Leader, if you have victories throughout the week, and they want to pray for you when struggles arise. Their calling as a Coach isn’t a job, its not a task, you are not on their to-do list, you are their ministry, and they want nothing less than to bless you. 
WHY LIFEGROUPS ARE ESSENTIAL FOR A GROWING CHURCH

WHY LIFEGROUPS ARE ESSENTIAL FOR A GROWING CHURCH

By: Jake Ferguson

Many would agree, LifeGroups within the church foster growth and community on a much deeper level than that of any given Sunday.  Just as any great house, the essential ingredient to its standing is its foundation.  Or, the accuracy of a bullet, rests upon the proficiency of its marksman.  The same is true for growing churches; that relationships are lived out in the context of biblical community to raise up disciples who make disciples.

If you were to ask 100 people what they thought about LifeGroups and why they are essential, you may find yourself 100 different responses.  LifeGroups do have varying goals and objectives, but most groups—if not all—contribute to the achievement of one or more of the following objectives:

The Development of Spiritual Maturity

Fellowship Among Members

Ministry Within and Outside the Group

A LifeGroup by itself is not the main contributor of the growth of a church or its members.  It is the community of believers within the group who extend the Gospel to one another inside and outside of the group to maintain and advance Christ’s Kingdom.

The three objectives listed above, faithfully lived out, and extended towards others are the qualities and traits that make LifeGroups so essential to the growth of the church.  Spiritual maturity among members of each group in conjunction with biblical fellowship will lead to ministry within and outside of the group environment.  LifeGroups are not a self-contained bubble of believers that repel everything on the outside, but instead, a family who comes together to reach others in a way that resembles that of Christ and His earthly ministry and to faithfully live out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20).

Every Sunday we hear a wonderful message that challenges each listener in his or her own walk with the Lord.  Families are being loved on, new attendees are being welcomed and encouraged to be placed in their sweet spot, people are responding in faith by the moving of the Holy Spirit, and various ministries are reaching lost souls and growing disciples.  But all these things do not happen just on a Sunday morning: they’re happening in people’s homes during LifeGroup!  LifeGroups also help to equip and prepare believers to grow in their discipleship process.  Whether a believer has been saved for a month or fifty years, doing life together in biblical community and fellowship can sharpen anyone through every step of the way in their walk with Christ.  Spiritual maturity, fellowship with believers, and ministering to others is a heavy responsibility that all Christians are commanded to take part in.  It is essential for the church.  The church is the bride of Christ and we are to be His disciples by being the hands and feet of the Great Commission.

LifeGroups help members of the church to be loved into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ, equipping them for the mission at hand, pleasing and glorifying to God, to GO in the community, our nation, and to the ends of the world.

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