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Logo of Talking Points, 3rd Quarter 2020: Making Friends for God

10-An Exciting Way to Get Involved

Mark Howard Kameron DeVasher
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  • August 19, 2020
    5:30 AM
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I'm Cameron debater and I'm Mark Howard and this is talking points we're in our corner of making friends for God The joy of sharing in his mission what an exciting lesson it is in fact that's in the title let's say and exciting way to get involved so we're talking about small group ministry this weekend and all the reasons why that's such a good idea and such a Godly Play and so I'm excited about this lesson it's an exciting way to get involved that's the word for the day exciting Yes Well this was an interesting lesson. And those of you who use the handout you're going to notice that this ended up just being one half sheet. I was conflict over this lesson a little bit you know well over it why look at this in this lesson not because I have anything against small groups percent a. Small Group ministry has been one of these things that there's just a lot of opinion on it and sometimes it's you know it's presented as the. Like a novel idea or well just a not like the like the like the word is escaping me that is like the other hand it's the n.s.c. as if you're set up yes it's small groups that's going to do everything thank you Patsy it was it was right there but and I know we all use that word all the time but we're going to have a pandemic would be nice to have a panacea one that's right that's right and obviously you're right though that people will look at the problems of the church and anything is going to say you know is going to fix a small groups I have heard this in my ministry over and over in their benefits a small group of course we want to focus on that in this week's lesson. And we want to draw one thing I out of probably say here is that we have been noticing is when we when we're putting together the talking points and we're getting our key points out of the lesson one of the reasons that we draw out the points we do when you're teaching and it's maybe not something you think. It's in the forefront your mind all the time it kind of happens automatically from just experience with us is in teaching your your wanting to always present truth in many cases that means heading off error Yeah you know I don't even even. Error can sound real harsh but just wrong thinking even just skewed thinking they're ideas that people have about theological things that part of your job as a teacher is to is to clarify that we read that a price that Christ took the truth gems of truth out of the rubbish of error that they were in and a right in clear and you're right I've been thinking about that too we've been discussing this for a while about why it's so important to make things so clear and how do you make something clear Yeah it's to set it up against something that's false right to counter a point or something but it doesn't necessary to be like in opposition to that error here is this truth but it does help to if not opposition but to drugs to position right to put it next to say like I'm thinking of our talking points thing here like you can see by the way it's like some level but it may not be dead but it really quite tell by the naked eye but when you get a grip you put the grid lines on boom that lines right up or you can see this you but when you put out truth on its own it can have power of course but when you put it a little bit next to something that's a little off you like oh I can see the correction they're looking to the need of that correction help because you're you putting it juxtaposed next to something that's a little askew and that happens in any lesson that a teacher teaches and you know you're going to have those things and so. We've mentioned this before we're not immune to this is 7th Day Adventists and we have things that become a part of our thinking in fact it's often the case that bumper stickers and whole marquee sayings and things like that that we love so much become the basis of a theology you know like for example there's that there's that popular and it is a bumper sticker among other things that says I'm not perfect just forgiven Well if I had time to go into that that's a key saying but there's a lot of theological problems with there how about just let it go and let God And but we like the sound of it and then we quote it and then we build on it and then anything against that would be a violation of that new thing we just set up for many even 7th Day Adventists. There's more theology based on clichés like that then there is based on Scripture Well today we want to get into the scripture to get our theology is yes so we need to start with the word of prayer before we go any further with this and then let's walk through our main points of this kind of this lesson so let's 1st start with a word of prayer Heavenly Father thank you so much for this opportunity to study you know please bless our time together help the preparations that are being made even now for the Sabbath school classes to come this week to be beneficial and help the church to be edified as we seek to do your work for prayer in Jesus' name amen amen Now one of the reasons that. I think this was more of a challenge this week is that I don't really think the Bible says is much exclusively about small group ministry as a lesson I mean obviously trying to build a foundation but there are things I read in the lesson that just I felt didn't didn't make that point and I backtrack a little bit it's in. It's in Thursday's lesson that the very 1st read sections is read Acts 431 x. 1212 and Acts 201-719-2723 extension 2 then list all the different elements in these New Testament groups what activity is it are the groups involved in one when you read Acts 20 I mean the other 2 just talk about the groups coming in praying and that's fine but x. 20. Paul meets with the elders in f. assists but he talks about how his ministry was with the entire church in Ephesus So to call it like a small group meeting that just has to do with the people there was a stretch for maybe a bit of a stretch and so I'm just and that's in a gauge exactly it's not to say that the Bible doesn't talk about small groups of the need for organized small companies to do work for the Lord but we want to make sure that everything we do is drive directly from the Bible and maybe we should go over our 3 points as an overview before we dive into this and do this specifically So here's the 3 points that I walked away from this week point number one small groups can be an effective way to minister Notice it says can be and will talk about that sometimes it can be a hindrance I drug do that from Monday and Tuesday lessons. Point number 2. Focus on ministry is essential to small group health yes and then Point number 3 the Sabbath school is the original small group came in and those are 3 points that will get into Number 4 we do that I want to read I'm going to read all of Sabbath afternoons 3 paragraphs there because it sets the tone for where the lesson is really trying to point the lesson is really trying to make someone has said there is strength in numbers in a sense that is true have you ever noticed that you are far more motivated to exercise if you are doing it with a group of people than if you have to exercise on each day many people join health clubs gym as an exercise facilities because they believe that they will exercise more and enjoy it better if they are exercising with other people. In a similar way God has created us for fellowship we are social beings and as we exercise it is true with many things in life we do better if we have a social support system this is especially true in spiritual matters and I think you know that's a well said throughout the Bible small groups are highlighted as one of God's methods of strengthening our faith increasing our knowledge of His word deepening our prayer life and equipping us to witness the Father Son Holy Spirit participated in a small group ministry Jesus established his small group of disciples and the Apostle Paul traveled the Roman world with his small group of evangelistic companions during this week's study we will focus on the biblical basis for small groups and you will discover an exciting way to get involved so it's talking about small ministry and I'm good with all most of that the Father Son Holy Spirit again that was a little stretch for me. With it anyway I'm not going to go there I'm not going to but let's talk about the benefits of small group ministry our key point number one is small groups can be an effective way to minister and one of the reasons for that is I'm drawing this from Monday's lesson it makes the work more manageable and you might want to comment on Exodus 18 a lesson brings that up on Mondays lesson Exodus 18 they take us to 20 from verses 21 to 25 well you do way the story is of the children of Israel as they are leaving their enslavement in Egypt you know obviously the book of exit is the coming out right under the leadership of Moses and as you are well aware that the trip to the promised land was not intended to take 40 years the Lord had a very simple plan for them take it out of Egypt across the Red Sea go to. Mount Sinai to receive the law of God and head off into the Promised Land Right right and x. is chapter 18 of course is just before they get to melt Sinai Chapter 19 make it about that I Chapter 20 give them the law and here they are a very large you got to understand that. Here when they went into Egypt they were very Only 7 to you so people went and but when they came out of Egypt just a couple 100 years later you got a whole sermon on this I'm trying to break into I'm not I'm not going to make the thing The point is that this huge group of people with a mix multitude everything that Ms White says over a couple 1000000 people and how do you manage that it's a logistics issue right and so. And we read in how Moses set to judge the people and every day he would wake up and the people would just line up in front of him and his father in law witness this working Jethro's falling off and he said what you're doing is not good Ok In fact let's pick it up in verse 17 so mother Moses father less said to him the thing that you do is not good both you and these people who are with you will surely wear yourselves out for this thing is too much for you you are not able to form it by yourself now what he was doing was immoral or unethical it just didn't work well it wasn't practicable so that advice given in verse 19 listen out of my voice I will give you counsel and God will be with you stand before God for the people so that you may bring the difficulties to God Now his specific advice is found in verse 20 you shout teach them the statutes of the laws are one and show them the way in which they must walk right so prescribe certain behaviors and attitudes right and the 3rd thing the work they must do now if I were the Sabbath school teacher this week I would take my class and say Now compare verse 20 with what Moses was already doing in verse 16 because what he says there when they have a difficulty they come to me and I judge between one another and I make known the statues of God and His laws he was doing 2 out of those 3 things well already but the one thing he wasn't doing was teaching the people how to work for themselves then verse 21 moreover you shall select from all the people able men such as fear God minute truth hating covetousness and play such and with them to be rulers of thousands rulers $100.00 rulers of fifties and rulers of tens so that the work that Moses was doing was to be delegated out through a structure an organized body of smaller and smaller groups so that everyone had a place inside of a group that they could have some accountability and responsibility to carry right with the mission so this was one way of making the work more manageable and time permitting this doesn't just be to small groups to speak speaks to pastoral dependency it's right to hold her to framework a check for days. It is not how it was if you look at the New Testament church that's right so you have this way of making the work more manageable and we see this in Exodus but we also see Jesus incorporating the same idea in the New Testament Absolutely and we don't have time to walk through the pastels but in Mark chapter 6 you read about the feeding of the 5000 votes right and a lot of times when we think of the feeding of the 5000 I mean just off the top your head you're probably thinking yeah you know Jesus just basically blessed the any any just passed food out here but that's not what happened is that's right no if you look at Chapter 6 you can see verse 30 whiskey verse 39 Then he commanded them of course he being Jesus commanded them his disciples yes to make Vilma the group of 5000 all sit down and notice this in groups on the green grass Well well the points like to make what I preach this which I'm looking as if you guys with John this is in ranks are some right what it adds to it the next part there so they sat down in ranks in hundreds and in fifties but the idea being if Jesus simply want to people as well he could do that very easily so that if you wanted to make the disciples do it they could just say sit but he did more than that he wanted to organize them and Mrs White draws out the why would they organize the people before heading up because this would take some time getting $5000.00 plus women children just sit down and organized groups with ranks in order why. Because he was about to distribute the food in the picture I always had in my mind is that Jesus prayed this miracle happen some way we don't know how and the disciples just kind of waded through the crowd willy nilly just handing out bread and fish and refreshments and everybody just eventually got fed but then the question is why organize them yeah and this is why draws this very clearly that the the reason that they were organized was so that everyone could play a part in the distribution in the service to others to teach the lesson that in the body of Christ everyone has a part to play that's right that's what it says and does every Just page 369 says Christ received from the father he imparted to the disciples they imparted to the multitude in the people to one another and if you think about the 1st 2nd is it possible that large group of people that. A good number of them never came in direct contact with Jesus or even the disciples but we're all fed That's right she adds that and the people to one another there's a personal individual ministry that can be facilitated in those smaller groups so we see you know point number one small groups can be an effective way to minister it makes the work more manageable right and it's an effective way to incorporate the talents of everyone that's why everyone was involved in the feeding of the 5000 everybody was put in an inn and so in the Book of Exodus when you have captains of you know you have been tens didn't do everything for the 10 they delegated but regardless of the size of the church especially though if you've ever been in a small church you realize that you may have to wear more than one hat everybody's got to pitch in if it's going to work no larger congregations you can kind of coast along but the smaller the group gets the more personally accountable every member has to be to the work if it's going to be successful Well the lesson Tuesday is a lesson basically just goes over 1st Corinthians 12 and how you know the different gifts and talents in the church and so that's just you know the small group is a way of incorporating that and there's a quote by Ellen White. 3 4th paragraph down from testimonies volume 7 she says the formation of small companies as a basis knows this as a basis of Christian effort has been presented to me by one who cannot air and then she qualifies if there is a large number in the church that the members be formed into small companies etc etc So even here are some qualifiers which we're going to see as we move forward to small groups can be an effective way. In We're going to see this some of our churches already are small groups I mean it may surprise some of our viewers what we've got churches here in Michigan and not just a few that have. 10 or 20 members. Who are definitely doubled or less but even the smaller in the yeah I've been to church recently they just have 5 attending so I'm just in it doesn't equal health right the power doesn't automatically come with the small numbers but it's the mission of that in the organization of that and I want to pick up on something as we transition to aren't Point number 2 our focus on ministry is essential to small group health if every time we see those in the example of Old Testament they were organized for service right to help do the work in March after 6 when God Christ organizes them if so they can print to partake in the mission even the quote that you just read the formation of small companies as a what a basis of Christian effort yes not just a basis of Christian society or church you know involvement but it's it's always in the context of service and outreach and participation in the work for the Lord where small groups really fires all pistons right that's right and that's what it says on the bottom of Thursday's lesson the last paragraph there says the focus of all effective small groups is witness and service same a small group ministry will soon die out if its focus is in we're in not outward and that's an excellent point to be made because you know the lesson brings up. In different places the how small groups are safe havens and it is a place for people to express their problems in what I've seen this has happened this way is is that a lot of churches there are small groups dwindle into self-help groups and and counseling groups and they think that's the means of strengthening and nurturing and so it's a it's a it's a nurturing ministry and so again the key point here is focus on ministry is essential for a small group health small groups are not a magic we healthy because they are small groups and we talked about this number one a lot. Our churches are small groups yes no and they're not healthy a small group can provide opportunity for gossip and criticism right if you lose that mission focus that outward focus that inward a lot of the churches have that kind of a small group for for ages right Tess know the net interact we talked about it you look up take the dictionary and look up the word click I've heard people say oh I don't like that you're just too many clicks in it all a click is a small group it's just a small group with a different focus that's right so I just want to be clear that just having small groups and unless somebody is making sure the small groups are Ministry minded they could actually do more harm to the church than good and that's again not to say that there isn't a place for nurture and accountability and checking into each other and making sure you know those are all good things but if it only stays there if that becomes the reason for existence it will exist too much longer it's going to have a big problem ahead That's right so I included a couple state you know that we've talked about this for I don't know if we've shared it in the talking points but this concept of nurture is very misunderstood this is one of those yes teaching moments yes because nurture people will say listen I know we need to do outreach in this whole cortisone witnessing and people say that we've got to nurture our own and there's a misunderstanding about how to nurture the church the idea is that if we focus on each other and we coddle one another in we listen to each other's problems that's going to nurture or help us grow and let me even back up and say nurturing the word nurture means to help something grow I've asked classes I've taught before what kind of things do you nurture in the 2 top answers are babies and plants things you expect and need to grow in and nurturing a baby and nurturing a plant is your doing what you can to help it grow now with that in mind listen to what inspiration tells us helps us grow spiritually This is from the Christian Service page 69 it says Let ministers teach church members that in order to grow in spirituality this is spiritual nurture. They must carry the burden they the members must carry the burden that the Lord has laid upon them the burden of leading souls into the truth in the last working they the members will have the cooperation of heavenly angels and will obtain an experience that will increase their faith and give them a strong hold on God and notice that nurture comes not from focusing inwardly but it's as I seek to lead as it others into the truth that's how we are news spiritually knows this from test most ministers number 232 similar to what you were just talking about the time you devote to imparting constantly those who understand the message of warning will not give one time of the strength that is 110th of the strength which they would receive in taking hold of the work to communicate life to perishing souls so if ministers are always pouring into the members it members are always pouring into each other in the small group if it all becomes self focused and self centered lo and behold we're not going to get the nurture we have anticipated would come from that very minister actually going to be dwindling in our faith that's right and you know I could and I'm sure there are viewers who disagree but I'm going to tell you from my pastoral experience and I'm looking at 2 decades now I've watched this time and again I've watched small groups who say I don't agree with that pastor and we're just going to build each other up and we're going to focus on each other and we're going to and those things dwindle and turn into train wrecks oftentimes they turn into criticizing sections and a sessions rather end and the people end up being the bitterest enemies who are in the small groups and I'm not saying that's an automatic right it's going to happen but the point is that. Focus on ministry is essential to small group health it's not that they're there there shouldn't be those other elements the safe haven in the fellowship but it has to happen in the context of ministry that's what keeps the small group right and we've heard so many at least well you know you'll never find it Biblically you'll never find the biblical small group they're just getting together and hands out right and each new node meals together and plays board games together and they never do any ministry believe it Acts chapter 2 when they all share together right it's always there praying for each other getting censorious studying and there were in the Bible always always in those take cases talk about how the church increased because they would as it always lead to hide the growth of the church and so when I was growing by I always heard about man the church is just a social club yet when I come into ministry here people saying you know any more of social when the more we have reality is we actually build up our community by being side by side in labor for Christ when my brother Jim talks about the use the 1st term being spiritually social. Because again you can build friendships on different levels but you want to build spiritual friendships Yes and the social is is find it is Christians especially living in light of the 2nd coming of Jesus we want those social relationships to be wrapped up with who we are spiritually. Anyway so small groups can be effective way to minister for sure and the focus on ministry is essential to small group health we see that the biblical model point number 3 Sabbath school is the original small group and all God's people said. That's a reality of it it's small groups have been the latest and greatest new cutting edge thing we're going to years of you know again I say that because that's you know I've been in church about 2025 years and I was out of the church and have small group small group small groups where it's like it's this new novel you know it's. But they've been around for a while yes and it would be remiss of us we would be bare legged in our duty in the Sabbath school department and I talked about the uniforms of savvy schools the small group and let me tell you the well and let's clarify to go not just 7 schools because our 7 schools aren't functioning that way anymore no that was the original Yann for 7 school what you're going to touch on this right is what we're trying to get to in our in our conference right and that that form a small group small group ministry etc and in the Sabbath school you have 3 distinct things you don't find other aspects of the church work 1st of all you have that focus on the mission which you have take a mission offering you have the world mission reports through like you know. Ideally right if we were doing it all as we were intended to do but you would he have those missions spotlight video presentations you'd hear reports from missionaries on the front lines and have a mission focus you have that large foundation of Bible study and prayer way back when mission and we'd be sharing our purpose right mission which would just be global mission it would be locally than just personal mission going on necessarily and watching what other people are do is imagine if every Sabbath school group had a mission and they reported on it every individuals out seeking solace in the testimony was about individual class Yes you have mission spotlight for the church but when your class is in there it's really multiple in your class you're talking about what you should that right and then every individual sport I like here's some literature you can share here's attacked and maybe even the person you brought him in right so you get that mission and it doesn't have to be exhaustive take the whole time but man that could be a central feature of every Sabbath School Number 2 you have that devotional time of Bible study and prayer that is unparalleled in any other and you could say well I go to church and I hear a sermon but let me tell you friend studying the Sabbath school lesson in the bible study that comes through that is very different than listening to a sermon yes right because there's this is time for dialogue you know the lesson ahead of time you've been preparing you've been thinking the Holy Spirit's been leading all week long for this conversation is very different in the sermon you live in an image we talked about the small group where you're able to share concerns and right and it's poor. Personable every right in it which leads to the 3rd thing that you have that small group fellowship even if a curved 102-0300 members every small group I mean every Sabbath school group ideally is a small group where they can like friends if you miss church in a church that has 300 members maybe somebody will notice by promise you if you are church with Sabbath school group of 8 members or something they'll know the minute you're not there if you're late they'll check in and you not because they're nosy enough because they're picky they care about your rights you going to get the nurture you get the outreach mission focus you can the people study feature it's a beautiful moving members I'm sure thinking well wait a minute I mean we you can't really do you know you talk about the importance of ministry you can't really do ministry because we only meet on Saturday morning well that's the other misconception go back to the Book of Acts you notice that they were church more than just on the Sabbath day they were in their homes they were during the week they were encouraging their work if they had phones they'd be using to talk to each other the that there's a network a society so you're saying that a local church 7 school class good actually. Fellowship outside of class not only they'd have them but they should i would say that yes and why couldn't you invite people and I say I probably shouldn't say it this way but I've repeated Lee said that we need to stop inviting people to church in by that I mean when you start inviting people to satisfy all because Sabbath school has that family kind of atmosphere that small group society where they can be themselves more you can have a shared fellowship have dynamic of dialogue then you can really dive into Bible study more why don't we invite people to us have a school groups why don't we have a little business cards advertising and invite our neighbors and friends and relatives or whatever anyway I get excited talking about this exciting way to get involved but the small group is one of God's methods his organizational tools for working the the mission that he's given us and we recognize that early on his 7th day adventists and developed it into 7 schools and our 7 schools unfortunately have gotten away from that and now people say hey let's do something new so let's start a small group and and all the while we've got this small group we're getting young people love it and the 7 schools are still languishing languishing or dying instead of us utilizing what we already have in place and making the Sabbath schools worth something come to a med and oftentimes it feel like we're always seeking to reinvent the wheel and we just are neglecting to drive the car the Lord has already built for us so we're not saying anything against the novelty of 6 mile groups we're building up small groups and saying Praise the Lord now we're just saying it's not a novel it's not a novel at all right if you want to think it is that's mine but it's been waiting here along the so use it Amen so we would encourage everyone to be part of a small group if their whole church is a small group get involved if you're sad get involved but be part of that small group ministry where you can have the nurture of Christian fellowship a Bible study element that we all need and especially that out read. Mission focus the Lord has given so we can share our faith effectively and by God's grace hasten the coming of Jesus a man you want to close with a word of prayer for spliffs let's pray Father in Heaven again we are just thankful for the privilege we have of knowing you and Jesus Christ whom you have sent Lord the privilege we have of ministering to others and we thank you for our churches and our Sabbath schools in the potential we have to minister together and and former bands of Christian workers I pray Lord that you will be with our viewers in the south as well classes across this conference and beyond as they are considering ways that they can better utilize a small group ministry to reach people for your kingdom again Lord we thank you for listening hearing in answering.

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