Posted by: Justin Wallace | May 17, 2010

Rear View Mirror :: pt1 ::

Here at HOCM for the next 4 Monday’s we’re going to present a series of posts called Rear View Mirror.

I’ve asked 3 of my friends to share their reflections on this past school year. I’ve asked them to share 3 things they’ve learned this past year. I hope you enjoy and please feel free to share what you’ve learned as well in the comment section.

Here are the 3 things I learned this past school year ::

1. Face-to-face conflict resolution

I’m sure you are like me…you’ve receive an angry email or facebook message. These messages have a way of boiling my blood. They keep me up at night. The best way I can describe what these messages do to me is this…touching the red and black sides of jumper cables together. These messages spark something in me. I read way to much into them. I disect each and every phrase.

And then…you know what we do…we make the mistake of responding with an email or facebook message.

I have done this so many times. It never accomplishes what I thought it would. It always sparks more anger, confusion, misunderstanding and division.

My wife challenged me this past school year to not respond with an email or facebook message ever again.

I took her up on the challenge. I’ve decided that I will not respond to an angry or frustrated email or facebook message with another email or facebook message.

My response will always be to ask for a face-t0-face meeting. Face-to-face conflict resolution actually works. It sparks a conversation rather than the two sides trying to interpret what the other tried to say.

2. Group Discipleship

For the past 6 years I have worked strictly in the world of one-on-one discipleship. I love one-on-one discipleship  relationships. I think they are a must. They change lives.

I have some individuals who I have been in a discipleship relationship with for 3-4 years. I have seen life-change take place right before my eyes.

But…this past year I started wrestling with group discipleship. Wondering if the philosophy of group discipleship would nurture more community.

So, I took 4 guys who I had been discipling individually and started a discipleship group. It was a 6 week course. We studied a book on leadership by Henri Nouwen called In the Name of Jesus. There were very strict guidelines. You must come prepared. You must be on time. You must share your story with the group at the end. These were the guidelines. The guys jumped on board and we started a new journey TOGETHER.

It was an amazing 6 weeks. Great conversations. Great questions. Great community.

I don’t think that Group Discipleship should replace one-on-one discipleship or Community Groups/Bible Studies/Small Groups. I think it’s another option.

I think it could be a great option for a group of up and coming leaders.

It could be a great option for a group of people that are intimidated by the one-on-one setting.

It could be a great option for a group of fringe people to get plugged in.

I have challenged my team to have at least one discipleship group next year. A group of 3 or 4 individuals who are committed to one another for a set period of time.

3. Structure is needed

This spring we had our best season of Community Groups (these are our small groups/bible studies).

Why?

Because we gave our leaders structure.

We have so many leaders that have never led a Bible Study. They have never come up with questions about the Bible. They have never led a discussion about God.

We give them a group of people and say go for it.

They flop. They struggle. They give up. They get frustrated.

So, this spring we created a Bible Study that every group would go through. We, the staff, created questions and conversations starters. We gave our leaders structure and they flourished.

We gave them a blueprint and they built amazing community.

Attendance at Community Groups was consistent. Our leaders felt empowered and not overwhelmed. The conversations were on topic with a purpose.

I’m a free spirit guy…so too much structure scares me. I want to do it on my own and I think everyone else should too. But, that’s not how it works. New leaders need structure so that they can learn the ropes.

We says this at Impact…We want to set our leaders up for success.

This past semester I learned that some structure sets them up for success.

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Responses

  1. I like it! I especially liked your reflections on face to face conflict. I know EXACTLY what you were describing there…and your wife (and mine) is very wise.


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