Pastor’s Ponderings

To the church of God as found among the Waynesville United Methodist Church, called to be saints together with those in every place who call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!

It was risky… but it was worth it.

First off, before I go much deeper into my devotional this week there are four people that deserve a standing ovation. They risked a crazy thought that came across my mind during several recent interactions. Jim Byers, Jeff Gravitt, Nate Lemke, and Emily Sharp shared with me some of the risk that came from Sunday’s service. If anyone had reacted negatively to the small group setting, surely they could have received the first volley in that fire. So–Thank you to those volunteers who put themselves forward to tell their faith stories so that others might have an opportunity to practice telling theirs.

Secondly, Wow… just wow. You’re responsiveness to this was overwhelming. Some chose not to participate, but far more of you joined in a small group than we had expected (we had enough participation to have created a fifth group for the adults). We’ve also received several heartfelt responses about how this was something that was needed for personal growth in discipleship.

That being said, it is scary to take a risk. I should know, up until Sunday morning I was hesitant to send everyone off into small groups. Yet, I could not think of another way to create the environment necessary so that the most people could share about their relationship with Christ. So I did it, with the encouragement of those who felt it was time to try something radical and several God moments too numerous to recount here– I took the risk, stepped out of my comfort zone, and asked you to step out of your’s to end our Sunday morning worship. (And with the exception of one group whose leader shall go nameless– everyone was released by 11:20.)

Here is what we learned: We have amazing stories to tell about Jesus Christ. Some of us are more comfortable in smaller groups telling them than in larger groups, and some of us would prefer 1-to-1 conversations. We have not had a lot of opportunity within the church to practice telling out stories in a small group setting. Many of us are thirsty for more small group opportunities so that we could participate in them.

With that learning my commitment is that by the start of the next school year, we’ll have a vast library of small group studies for anyone to choose from. We’ll have a simple means of starting a small group study called “Grab – Gather – Grow” that includes a simple framework to get going — you don’t need to “teach” in order to lead a small group study, let the video resources do that. Anyone interested in getting a head start now, can contact me any time. We have other resources we can consider now as avenues for small group study and growth.

Until then, Go and tell your story of Jesus, it might just be the most important thing you ever say to someone.

Jason Sharp