Ten Reasons for Small Groups

Ten Reasons for Small Groups

I used to be skeptical of small groups. I thought it was a bit too faddish, touchy-feely, and created Christian social clubs instead of fostering true discipleship. Maybe some small groups are guilty of these charges. However, on the whole, small groups are a valuable means of helping people in the church.

They go by different names—small groups, cell groups, care groups, discipleship, groups, grace groups, breakout groups. Whatever they are called, the basic idea is the same: a small gathering of people interested in spiritual growth. Here’s why small groups are important.

Small groups foster close relationships and integral community. The small group atmosphere is ready-made for building friendships. People talk more in small groups of people. People are quick to recognize needs, and help to meet them. The relationships formed within small groups form a strong fabric within a church. Relationships that are formed outside of the (sometimes artificial) setting of a church service, are relationships that will endure and strengthen over time.
Small groups provide a comfortable introduction for nonbelievers to the Christian faith. I’m skeptical that “inviting people to church” is the best means of evangelism. Most of us tend to fear relationship-forming, especially when it involves sharing our faith with someone. That is a natural and understandable fear. Inviting someone instead to a small group meeting provides a way to involve a believer directly into a community of believers—watching them live out their faith, listening to them pray, hearing them share God’s work in their life, and learning more about the Bible. The nonbeliever is more likely to ask questions, get answers, and form relationships with the believers. Small groups are a powerful missional tool, allowing for the greater spread of the gospel among nonbelievers in the community.
Small groups provide an ideal way to care for the needs of people within the church. When one believer in a small group is struggling financially, emotionally, spiritually, socially, etc., it is much easier for the members of the group to notice and provide help. The structure of a small group is essentially a community of believing friends. Friends should help one another, especially Christian friends.
Small groups provide a way for Christians to live out their faith instead of merely hearing more preaching or teaching. If Sunday morning is for listening, then the rest of the week is for living. Whether it’s discussing the Sunday sermon, talking about a spiritual battle, or simply praying for one another, small groups create a context for Christians to live out their faith in real life.
Small groups participate in focused prayer for one another. Prayer cannot be overrated, but it is often underpracticed. Small groups can better participate in prayer for one another. In one of my small group meetings, each of the people that were present took a few minutes to tell others about their particular challenges or concerns. Then, as soon as he was finished, the person right next to him took a minute or so to pray for him. Small groups make for great prayer meetings.
Small groups provide a comfortable atmosphere for openness. One thing I like about small groups is that we meet in homes. There are at least twenty-six references in the New Testament that talk about believers meeting in homes or being part of a household. (Not all are references in Acts: Romans 16:5Open in Logos Bible Software (if available); 1 Corinthians 16:19Open in Logos Bible Software (if available); Philemon 1:2Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)). Homes are usually comfortable places—places devoid of pews, PA systems, and stages. They are places where people can open up, listen, learn, and grow.
Small groups allow for mutual edification among believers. It’s easy to depend upon the professionals to give us our spiritual food. According to the Bible, God gives spiritual gifts to all believers, not just the guy who preaches on Sunday morning. These gifts are for the benefit of the whole church. Every Christian should minister to other Christians with his or her gifts. This happens most naturally, effectively, and purposefully in small groups. Plus, we start to realize that other believers face the same problems we do. Edification is at work.
Small groups encourage better learning. Listening to a sermon is a great way to learn the Word, but it is easy to become detached or daydream during a sermon. We become passive listeners. Not so in a small group. When a few people are together, every individual is expected to be involved and to participate. This active involvement is an effective way to learn better.
Small groups provide a source of encouragement and accountability. It’s easy to slip in and out of church unnoticed. It’s not just megachurches where this happens. In an average-sized church of 100 or 150, people may be coming each Sunday service, but not getting involved. These people may need accountability in their lives, encouragement in their walk with God, or help in some way. Small groups provide a way to better meet these needs.
Small groups help to cultivate leadership within the church. Someone has to lead a small group meeting, or at least facilitate the discussion. Unless your entire church is the small group (unlikely), there will need to be leaders other than the pastor. Thus, small groups give opportunities for leadership development within the church.
Does your church have small groups? If not, why not? Beginning a small group ministry may be one of the most beneficial things your ministry has ever done.

What is Pinterst and what does it have to do with church?

What is Pinterst and what does it have to do with church?

GET PINNING
You’ve been hearing about it everywhere — Pinterest — but what is this crazy new website that has everyone buzzing? The simple answer is that Pinterest is a virtual inspiration board and people who are already “pinning” know that it’s far more than that. Let us walk you through the ins and outs of jumping on the Pinterest bandwagon.

What, exactly, is Pinterest?
You know when you’re browsing online and see something you love and don’t want to forget? What do you do — email it to yourself? Print it out and put it in a binder? Bookmark it on your computer? Now there’s a simple way to compile all of the great things you find online — from clothes to DIY home ideas to inspiration for your bathroom remodel, to how to pray with your kids or devotions for the family — on Pinterest

Pinterest is a website that allows you to “pin” things online, just as you would pin them on a real life bulletin board, but instead, Pinterest saves all of your pins on your account so that you can access them easily. Plus, you can follow friends on Pinterest and “repin” things that they have already pinned on your Pinterest boards or browse a live feed of items that are being pinned by strangers when you’re searching for inspiration.

Still feeling lost? Let’s walk through it.

How do I get started pinning?
The first thing you’ll need to do is get a Pinterest account. You can go to the Pinterest website and request an invite (yes, there’s currently a waiting list) or ask a friend who is already on Pinterest to send you an invite.

Pin It

Once you’re on, the next thing you’ll need is the “Pin It” button installed in your browser toolbar. This magic little button is what allows you to pin things online. Installing the button is very easy — when you’re in your Pinterest account, look to the upper right-hand corner and hover above “About,” then click on “Pin It Button” and follow the directions to drag the button into your toolbar.

Or instead of using the “Pin It” button, you can also copy and paste links from sites you like, and it will search for photos from that page, which you can then pin. You can also upload photos from your computer.

Pinterest on iPhoneWhat am I suppose to pin?
Here’s the great thing about Pinterest — you can pin anything you want! Everyone uses it for different things — from saving recipes that you want to make to saving articles that you want to reference later (we can, ahem, certainly suggest some you should pin!) to all of the shoes you’d love to add to your closet for spring — so Pinterest can easily be whatever you want it to be.

As you start pinning, create “Boards” that categorize your pins, making them easy for you to find later. Pinterest suggests some to get you started, but usually you’ll want to create your own to fit what you love to pin. It takes a while to get the hang of creating boards — they need to be the perfect combination of general and specific — but we promise that the more you pin, the better your boards will become.

Red thumbtack

Don’t worry, we didn’t forget about the “Repin” function on Pinterest! Once you’ve added friends to your Pinterest account — you follow them as you follow Facebook or Twitter friends — you will have a customized feed where you can see all of the fantastic things that they’re pinning too. See an idea you love? Just hover over that pin in the feed and click on the “Repin” button to add it to one of your boards.

Now check out the resources on GSLC’s Pinterst page and start pinning!

Lenten Small Groups

Lenten Small Groups

I used to be skeptical of small groups. I thought it was a bit too faddish, touchy-feely, and created Christian social clubs instead of fostering true discipleship. Maybe some small groups are guilty of these charges. However, on the whole, small groups are a valuable means of helping people in the church.

They go by different names—small groups, cell groups, care groups, discipleship, groups, grace groups, breakout groups. Whatever they are called, the basic idea is the same: a small gathering of people interested in spiritual growth. Here’s why small groups are important.

Small groups foster close relationships and integral community. The small group atmosphere is ready-made for building friendships. People talk more in small groups of people. People are quick to recognize needs, and help to meet them. The relationships formed within small groups form a strong fabric within a church. Relationships that are formed outside of the (sometimes artificial) setting of a church service, are relationships that will endure and strengthen over time.
Small groups provide a comfortable introduction for nonbelievers to the Christian faith. I’m skeptical that “inviting people to church” is the best means of evangelism. Most of us tend to fear relationship-forming, especially when it involves sharing our faith with someone. That is a natural and understandable fear. Inviting someone instead to a small group meeting provides a way to involve a believer directly into a community of believers—watching them live out their faith, listening to them pray, hearing them share God’s work in their life, and learning more about the Bible. The nonbeliever is more likely to ask questions, get answers, and form relationships with the believers. Small groups are a powerful missional tool, allowing for the greater spread of the gospel among nonbelievers in the community.

Small groups provide an ideal way to care for the needs of people within the church. When one believer in a small group is struggling financially, emotionally, spiritually, socially, etc., it is much easier for the members of the group to notice and provide help. The structure of a small group is essentially a community of believing friends. Friends should help one another, especially Christian friends.

Small groups provide a way for Christians to live out their faith instead of merely hearing more preaching or teaching. If Sunday morning is for listening, then the rest of the week is for living. Whether it’s discussing the Sunday sermon, talking about a spiritual battle, or simply praying for one another, small groups create a context for Christians to live out their faith in real life.

Small groups participate in focused prayer for one another. Prayer cannot be overrated, but it is often underpracticed. Small groups can better participate in prayer for one another. In one of my small group meetings, each of the people that were present took a few minutes to tell others about their particular challenges or concerns. Then, as soon as he was finished, the person right next to him took a minute or so to pray for him.
Small groups make for great prayer meetings.

Small groups provide a comfortable atmosphere for openness. One thing I like about small groups is that we meet in homes. There are at least twenty-six references in the New Testament that talk about believers meeting in homes or being part of a household. (Not all are references in Acts: Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 16:19; Philemon 1:2). Homes are usually comfortable places—places devoid of pews, PA systems, and stages. They are places where people can open up, listen, learn, and grow.

Small groups allow for mutual edification among believers. It’s easy to depend upon the professionals to give us our spiritual food. According to the Bible, God gives spiritual gifts to all believers, not just the guy who preaches on Sunday morning. These gifts are for the benefit of the whole church. Every Christian should minister to other Christians with his or her gifts. This happens most naturally, effectively, and purposefully in small groups. Plus, we start to realize that other believers face the same problems we do. Edification is at work.

Small groups encourage better learning. Listening to a sermon is a great way to learn the Word, but it is easy to become detached or daydream during a sermon. We become passive listeners. Not so in a small group. When a few people are together, every individual is expected to be involved and to participate. This active involvement is an effective way to learn better.

Small groups provide a source of encouragement and accountability. It’s easy to slip in and out of church unnoticed. It’s not just megachurches where this happens. In an average-sized church of 100 or 150, people may be coming each Sunday service, but not getting involved. These people may need accountability in their lives, encouragement in their walk with God, or help in some way. Small groups provide a way to better meet these needs.

Small groups help to cultivate leadership within the church. Someone has to lead a small group meeting, or at least facilitate the discussion. Unless your entire church is the small group (unlikely), there will need to be leaders other than the pastor. Thus, small groups give opportunities for leadership development within the church.

Bishop Justman resigns

 CHICAGO (ELCA) — The Rev. James A. Justman, bishop of the East-Central Synod of Wisconsin of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), resigned as bishop of the synod effective Dec. 19, 2013. In a Dec. 20 letter to members of the synod, Justman wrote that it is his hope that “you know how much I have loved this calling, and how honored I have been to share in ministry and mission with you. For personal reasons, the timing is best for me to step away at this time.”
            Justman began a sabbatical following the October 2013 meeting of the ELCA Conference of Bishops, an advisory body of this church that includes 65 synod bishops, the presiding bishop and secretary. It was during his sabbatical and time of personal reflection that Justman came to the decision to resign.
            “God has poured blessings into my life through the experiences I have shared with you over the years,” he wrote. “My heart overflows with warm remembrances of you and how you have inspired my life with your faithfulness to the name of Jesus Christ.”
            Justman was elected in June 2012 to serve a third, six-year term as bishop of the ELCA East-Central Synod of Wisconsin. He was first elected in 2000 and re-elected in 2006. Born in Oshkosh, Wis., Justman graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and earned a Master of Divinity degree from Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa. Wartburg is one of eight ELCA seminaries. Ordained in 1983, Justman served as pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in Appleton, Wis., and Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Oshkosh prior to becoming synod bishop.
            “Bishop Justman served as the chair of the ELCA Bishops Formation Committee. He welcomed many new bishops into the Conference including me,” said the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, ELCA presiding bishop. “I ask for your prayers for Bishop Justman and his family and the people of the East-Central Synod of Wisconsin during this time of transition.” – See more at: http://elca.org/News-and-Events/7636#sthash.lGRZ0HyK.dpuf

Angela Huckbody joins GSLC Staff

Angela Huckbody joins GSLC Staff

We are very pleased to announce that Angela (“Angie”) Huckbody will be joining the Good Shepherd team as the Parish Administrator! Angie has been an active church member for nearly 28 years serving in many ways, including Sunday School teacher, talented musician and vocalist, member of
various committees, Preschool advocate/supporter and member of the call committee that brought us Pastor Kemp.

Outside of her church work, Angie has worked in numerous capacities for the Wausau School District since 1997. She also owns her own health/wellness supplements business, enjoys face-painting for children’s events and loves to spend time with family.

Angie and her family (husband Greg, children Ethan, Corey, Chelsea, and son-in-law Brad) proudly call the Riverview neighborhood home. She brings a strong spiritual understanding, desire for growing the congregation, and excellent customer service, compassion, and
organizational skills to the Parish Administrator role. She also looks forward to fulfilling a call to help others and to sharing her passion of awareness regarding issues of oppression. She has many ideas to help unite congregational members in calls to action around community (perhaps even global!) support.

Under the Holy Spirit’s guidance (and with help from others of theEarthly world), Angie embarks on her new career path at Good Shepherd on Monday, December 9, 2013. Please join us in congratulating Angie and welcoming her to the Good Shepherd team!

bulletin announcements for 11.10

bulletin announcements for 11.10

General Announcements
THANK YOU VETERANS! We wish to give thanks this day for all who have served in our United
States military both abroad and domestic today. We are grateful for your service to this country.

OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD Pack a shoebox, make a huge difference. Check out the display in the narthex and learn how you can make a difference in the life of a child this
Christmas season.

FEAST OF LIFE November 17 will be a big day in the life of the congregation. The choirs will present The Feast of Life during worship. Following the 10:30 am worship we will have a
potluck banquet. (Please bring a dish to pass) Bring a non-perishable food item to donate to the
food pantry.

BLOOD DRIVE The next Good Shepherd Blood Drive will be Thursday, November 14 from 1-6 pm in the Fellowship Hall. Please consider donating this fall!

FALL DECOR REQUESTED Harvest napkins, gourds and other harvest decorations are needed for the church by November 14. !

FRESH FRUIT SALE. Apples, oranges, grapefruit, pears and pineapple are available in single as well as mixed boxes. Orders may be placed starting on Sunday, November 10 – December 3. Please plan to include your payment with your order. Pick up is on Wednesday, December 18 from 9 am – noon and 5:30 – 7:30 pm. !

THANKSGIVING EVE WORSHIP & SOCIAL Wednesday, November 27 at 7 pm. Join the
community of Good Shepherd for worship followed by a pie social. If you would be willing to
donate a pie, please contact the church office.

Food Packing Update

Food Packing Update

Due to unusual circumstances, First English Lutheran Church will NOT be hosting the Kids Against Hunger Food Packing Event scheduled for this Saturday, October 12. The location has been changed to St. John Lutheran Church in Mosinee.
Times of shifts have not changed, only the location.

http://goo.gl/maps/VIOko

this is a link to St. John’s. Please copy and paste into your browser and start at the directions of following Hwy 153 off of Hwy 51/39

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call Director of Faith Formation Andrew Moscinski at 920 268 8170.

There are open spots available if you have not yet registered. The cost is $15 per person to off set costs of supplies to the supporting congregations.