It’s long been recognized that a workable small group system of spiritual accountability with leaders working together was the powerhouse of the Wesleyan movement.
Unfortunately, our systems of governance, our long-time habits and our challenge of often overwhelming pastoral care make a church-wide small group effort difficult.
In addition, as the Covid epidemic slowly moves into its next phase of careful and compassionate reopening, many churches are discovering that their leadership team has been weakened by death, fear and families leaving to be closer to relatives.
Before any congregation can hope to deal with the devastation of decades long decline, the critical challenge of a committed and spiritually focused leadership needs to be addressed.
This EASTER, as we take tentative steps into the new world of post-Covid, we have a great opportunity to interpret the Gospel for the 21st Century, to kindle spiritual fires in church leadership and to set congregations on a renewed path of neighborhood relevancy and spiritual outreach.
1st step: Gather any and all of your people who would like to learn about the power of the Wesleyan small groups as soon as possible. Begin to dream together what it would mean to have spiritually focussed, “Small Groups Church” (...as opposed to a Church “with small groups.”)
Please Noter: Most church ministries already operate in small group/"passionate" way. It’s not a large step to add a common focus of “empowered ministry within the context of spiritual discovery and growth.” (see www.rezfamilies.com for details)
2nd Step: Rethink the upcoming Easter and Eastertide messages around the Gospel Jesus preached regarding the Realm/Kingdom of Heaven that Christ announced in Mark 1:14-15, Matt. 4:17, Luke 4:21, John 1:10-14 and Paul said Phil 3:20, “Our citizenship is in heaven."
Despite all the lack of trust in the institutional church, people are still willing and hungry to consider "Heaven” and its importance in our current world of swirling crises.
Discover how we are gifted with "living on the porch of Heaven already" and how the daily presence of the Holy Spirit makes this possible.
Begin to read and re-read together the New/Christian Testament with opened eyes that see "the Realm/Kingdom of God” as the living presence of God, Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit enthusiastically infusing everything around us.
Share the challenge for all to wake up to God’s life changing power and unconditional love, providing forgiveness and accountable spiritual growth as those "citizens of Heaven."
3rd step: Reach out to your “walkable neighborhood” close by your church location and rebuild the life and vitality of the congregation. You can make great inroads even with two or four leaders if they are trained now, as you prepare for Easter!
Support and prepare them to assemble new "Eastertide" small groups based on the various ministries and passions God has already placed on their hearts.
Encourage them to reach out and inviting all the lonely people who are now spiritually homeless because of all that is swirling around them. Don't limit yourself to just those who show up at church activities.
Create opportunities and activities for connection and relationships around their fears, anxieties, needs and hopes. These can be Picnics, Ice Cream Socials, Financial Management Seminars and Police Neighborhood Watch Trainings.
Inform them of these neighborhood gatherings through social media and hand distributed “door hanger” media.
Make it clear that your congregation is as close as an easy walk, and that you have faced what they have faced, and that you are organizing to provide comfort, healing, and real world action to address the challenges they face.
All this along with a clear and step by step path to discipleship for those interested in finding out all about Jesus the Christ that you live with daily.
And we're here to help, coach and even join you in presenting this opportunity.
For more details, please see the many opportunities at www.agapejourneys.com and small group ideas at www.rezfamilies.com.
Joanne and I organized Agapé Journey ministries to support, coach and share with you in this journey of rebuilding the church.
With forty-seven years of experience in churches of all sizes, we’ve learned that many church activities involve people, but leave them spiritually unchanged.
Our post-Covid season is giving us a chance to recalibrate the purpose of what it means to be “church”. It’s an opportunity to rediscover the power of the Wesleyan movement and encourage the gifts God is giving to all the people around you in rebuilding Christian life.
Please call or contact Joanne or me at: 661-717-0162 or
We’re looking forward to a rebirth in the church that proclaims “Every Morning is Easter morning!”