Thursday, September 22, 2011

What is the "win" for Ridgeview Church?

This past Monday and Tuesday I served as a co-facilitator at a conference called Immersion 1. It is sponsored in part by the South Carolina Baptist Convention. It is held quarterly at Trinity Point Church in Easley under the direction of Pastor Michael Mohler. It is the same conference our leadership went through last Spring as we began our new direction in Growth Groups. We thought it was so important that we brought Pastor Mohler to lead our church retreat at Lookup Lodge this past May to teach these principles. I had a great time meeting and sharing with a great church from Missouri and the fine folks from Sans Souci Baptist in Greenville. People from all over the country attended (Florida, Alaska, Missouri, Oklahoma) and many denominations were represented. As we all gathered in our separate break out sessions, we talked about alignment. In developing a winning team, there must be alignment on what the goal or the win entails. Sadly, churches are filled with well meaning people who have different scorecards on what is  the win.

Since Ridgeview began, I have been confronted with different ways of what the win looks like. So, what is the win anyway? Jesus laid it out in Matthew 28, "Go and make disciples." The win is making disciples who in turn go and make disciples. From our earliest days one of things I believe we got right was focusing on small groups as our best vehicle to accomplish discipleship. After almost eight years at Ridgeview, I still see our small groups and the relationship environment they provide as being the most effective means of making disciples. We will never waver from that! Our Sunday morning worship gatherings are important and we work hard on that element, but we are seeing disciples made most effectively in our Growth Groups as we open God's Word and share the Bible stories each week. 

As we initiate our Fall semester this week, we have gone from three groups to five groups. We have a Growth Group meeting almost everyday of the week! We already have a Growth Group reaching out this week meeting a huge need a family in our community has. The core, the lifeblood, the heart of Ridgeview Church is in our small groups! As we come together each week sharing the Bible story, rebuilding that story, and applying what God is saying to us from His story, hearts are being changed! It is exciting to see God's people being mobilized to do what He's called us to do. 

Let me say for those who read this article who actively attend Ridgeview: if you are not involved in a Growth Group you are missing out on God's plan for your life. Jesus invested His entire ministry into twelve people, a small group. Before Jesus even went to the cross He said in John 17:4, "I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do." He made disciples who in turn would make more disciples.

Don't tarry, don't waste your life! Sign up for a Growth Group and make it a priority. Discipleship for a Christian is not optional and God expects us to do it with other believers. There is no discipleship outside of relationships. Hope to see you in a Growth Group this semester!

Pastor Tommy

P.S. My friends Brian Parker and Chad Hall from Trinity Point Church in Easley wanted to say hello to you and provide another encouragement to join a Growth Group today...

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