By Rick Howerton and Bruce Raley
Welcome to the new Groups Ministry: Conversations on Group Practices ministry site. We are thrilled to have this opportunity to connect with you on an ongoing basis. As you might imagine, we believe that Acts 2:42 –47 is a guide for church life as well as group life. It reads:
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to the prayers. Then fear came over everyone, and many wonders and signs were being performed through the apostles. Now all the believers were together and held all things in common. They sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as anyone had a need. Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple complex, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with a joyful and humble attitude, praising God and having favor with all the people. And every day the Lord added to them those who were being saved.”
When groups and group members are devoted to the Word of God, relationships that are authentic partnerships based on God’s relational directives, remembering and being challenged by Jesus death and resurrection, sincere, passionate praying, and meeting together consistently, the church and will be all God intended her to be.
Each day it will be our goal to give you some guidance that will be useful to you as we work together to create groups that make disciples that make disciples.
Rick Howerton is the small groups and discipleship specialist at LifeWay Church Resources. He has authored many small group Bible studies, is a highly sought after trainer and speaker, and is the author of Destination Community: Small Group Ministry Manual as well as the revolutionary book, A Different Kind of Tribe: Embracing the New Small Group Dynamic. Rick’s deepest passion and his goal in life is to see, “a biblical small group within walking distance of every person on the planet making disciples that make disciples.
Bruce Raley has served as director of Church Education Ministry with LifeWay Christian Resources since May 2006. This followed a 10-year ministry as teaching pastor at First Baptist Church of Panama City, Fla., and a 13-year ministry at Walnut Street Baptist Church in Jonesboro, Ark. Both churches experienced significant growth during his tenures. In the past eight years, he has personally trained more 1100 new church education ministry leaders through a training conference called BETA. He has a passion to help churches reach people and see them mature through the creation of new Bible study groups. A native of Arkansas, he enjoys hunting, fishing and traveling with his wife Donna.