Tag Archives: craig groeschel
My wife and I are trying (desperately) to teach both thankfulness and prayer to our two boys. My eldest son has a hard time with both of these (must take after his dad). After our family Bible story each evening we go around and pray and all we ask for now is that they say one thing they are thankful. Luke was thankful for being able to go to the park yesterday, but Jack said he didn’t have anything. After pressing him, he was thankful for “the day”.
Why is it so easy to feel entitled to things and take blessings for granted?
I know, sin. I think it also has to do with the fact that, as Craig Groeschel puts it, “we believe in God, but live as if he doesn’t exist.” Thankfulness is something that comes out of a heart that understands and appreciates the gift given. Prayer is an outpouring of our need and true belief in God. If we expect blessing and feel entitled, we won’t be thankful, and if are not thankful, we will probably not see a need for God, or need for prayer.
I fully point the finger at myself on both of these counts. Having grown up in the church, as well as in a middle-class home, I felt a certain amount of entitlement both spiritually and externally. I was like the elder son in the parable of the prodigal sons – I didn’t want the Father any more than the younger son, I just wanted him for what I was going to inherit and kept “slaving away”.
So what to do about my son’s (any my) lack of thankfulness and desire to pray? In his first session from The Christian Atheist, Craig Groeschel says that to know God better, seek him. If you seek him, he will reveal himself to you. It seems that going through the work of daily counting our blessings and setting aside specific time to pray will help. Another idea came from my pastor while teaching on Ephesians this weekend. Take yourself under the wing of a prayer mentor from the Bible. Look at Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians in chapter 1. Paul says, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.
Look how Paul prays, and use this prayer as a template of sorts. Pray that you would have a spirit of wisdom and revelation, that God would reveal himself to you. Pray that you would see the hope of who you are in Christ and what he has called us to be.
This is what I told Jack last night. That sin keeps us from being thankful, and when we are not thankful we listen to the snake (Satan). But when we are thankful, we listen to Jesus and defeat the snake.
…I don’t think so, but you can now download any individual session from any of 20 small group Bible studies now on ChristianBook.com. Download an entire study, or cherry pick different sessions from different studies and create your own study. Pick from best-selling small group studies like The Reason for God, When God’s People Pray, Surprised by Hope, The Christian Atheist, The Story, and others!
Each video download is available for purchase for only $2.99 and you get both mp4 and .mov formats (depending if you would like to play it on your mobile device or need high-definition, respectively). If you would like the corresponding participant’s guide session in PDF, that is bundled with many for $4.99 a session.
So head on over ChristianBook.com and see what’s available. Let us know which sessions you pick out and what you think of the experience!
Also be sure also to visit and subscribe to the Small Group Bible Study playlist on YouTube. There are nearly 100 full-length sessions available for free to view from authors and pastors like Bill Hybels, Andy Stanley, Craig Groeschel, and Timothy Keller.
Words which do not give the light of Christ increase the darkness. – Mother Teresa
One of the recent challenges that I have had is the implication of my words. A couple of weeks ago I read a great blog post from Michael Kelley about using your commute time to focus on a word to “bring home” from work. I have found this fantastic advice and been working on this, and have seen a difference in attitudes and behaviors in my family. A month ago, I watched the first session from Craig Groeschel’s new small group study and church campaign, Soul Detox. This first session deals with “lethal language”. Craig says that our words have the power to destroy or the power to build up.
“Whether you’re eighteen or eighty, you can probably recall the pain of someone’s harsh words scalding your soul. ’You’ll never amount to anything’; ‘You’re nothing like you’re brother’; ‘I never loved you’. As devastating as these words can be, they can be offset by words of truth, hope, and love. The right words at the right time can be helpful, healing, and life-transforming. Proverbs 18.21 says, ‘The tongue has the power of life and death.’ What you say can give life to you and to other people, or it can take it away.”
Be sure to visit and subscribe to the Small Group Bible Study playlist on YouTube. There are 100 full-length sessions available for free to view from authors and pastors like Bill Hybels, Andy Stanley, Craig Groeschel, and Rick Warren.
I spent Monday in Atlanta with a few other Z employees at a Catalyst One Day event. Throughout the day I heard Andy Stanley and Craig Groeschel speak on how to create and maintain positive, life-giving cultures in organizations. It was a fascinating day. I couldn’t help but think about my own church, Zondervan, and other orgs I’ve been a part of as they presented their material. Following is a quick list of some of my favorite nuggets of wisdom:
- Healthy cultures never happen by accident. They are created.
- The number on force that shapes your culture is your values.
- Determine honestly what your actions say you value. (This one really got my head spinning. I tried to imagine what my church looks like to a visitor, and especially, to a non-believer. What do they see when they come to our worship service for the first time? Are the core values of the church effectively being presented?)
- [Leaders need to regularly ask those in their org] What can I do to help you succeed in your role?
- Do you for one what you wish you could do for everyone. [I heard Andy say this in another context at Catalyst last fall and it blew my mind then.]
- Systematize top-down service.
Seesion 3 – Craig Groeschel
- Leaders have a limitless capacity for self-deception.
- Don’t delegate tasks, delegate authority.
Andy spoke on chapter 9 of his new book Deep & Wide: Creating Churches Unchurched People Love to Attend. He didn’t announce it that way from the stage, but I know that’s what it was. Here’s the first official Engaging Church teaser to go and check out this product. Seriously, it’s a book every pastor will need to read in the coming year.
I read a great article on reformation21 (HT:Challies) about Effective Group Bible Study. My main focus at Zondervan is to tell the world about our fabulous small group curriculum, so naturally I was interested in how to help people have an effective small group. Pastor William Boekestein, who wrote the article, has some great points about effective group study, but one that really rose to the surface for me was to keep the Bible first. Now this sounds like a given, but too often in our groups, we rely on the study material and use the Bible as extra credit work.
Scripture studies are almost always aided by a well-written guide. Some of the best guides are commentaries, especially those that began as a sermon series. Homiletical commentaries combine the best of careful exegesis and pastoral application.(1)One of the dangers, though, of using a study guide is that the Bible can become eclipsed by a lesser book. It is easy to subconsciously begin to treat the Bible as the “raw materials” and the study guide as the “finished product,” favoring the latter.To avoid misusing supplemental materials, make them the last part of your preparation for the group study. First, work through the scripture passage in focus. Ask questions about the text. Note observations and applications. Use the study questions to stimulate thought before turning to the “answers” in the commentary. In this way the commentary becomes a sounding board for your ideas and conclusions rather than a source book. The Bereans took such an approach. They “…received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true” (Acts 17:11).A related principle is that group discussions should be guided by Scripture not by personal opinion. This does not mean that a question or comment is inappropriate just because it is an opinion. It does mean that conclusions that are reached and counsel that is given should be biblically based.
Much of the curriculum we produce has been used as sermon material that was preached in the pastors church:
- Weird and The Christian Atheist by Craig Groeschel
- Guardrails and Taking Responsibility for Your Life by Andy Stanley
- The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson
- The Power of a Whisper and Just Walk Across the Room by Bill Hybels
- The Me I Want to Be by John Ortberg
- make sure everyone in your group brings a Bible to small group
- read all the recommended passages in the participant’s guides
- consider standing as you read Scripture as a reminder of the weight of it’s words
- before you share an opinion, know how you would back it up with Scripture
*Above I have linked the full first sessions for those curriculum. To see more full first sessions on YouTube, go to the curriculum playlist here: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL592D0CEC3F56A982
Have you ever watched a trailer for a movie and then watched the movie and realized that the trailer was either the best part of the movie, or that it told you nothing of the real plot of the movie? well, curriculum trailers are not like that, but sometimes watching the 90-120 second trailer isn’t just enough to know if you want to spend 4-12 weeks with an author, topic, or study.
However, the first session is a good indicator of what the rest of the curriculum will be like, so we are making the first sessions of our video-based curriculum available for free on YouTube. As of today we have 17 different full sessions loaded on a playlist and will be adding more and more until they are all available.
Watch curriculum sessions from bestselling authors like John Ortberg, Bill Hybels, Jim Cymbala, Craig Groeschel, Andy Stanley, Lysa TerKeurst, and others. Then, if you like what you see, you can visit Amazon, CBD.com, BN.com or your local retailer and get the DVD and Participant’s Guides for yourself or your small group.
This is the first of a series of posts containing conversations that we recently had with some of the senior pastors featured in our new book – A Multi-site Church Road Trip. In each post you will gain additional insights by getting updates about the featured church and hearing the heart of the leader.
First up – Craig Groeschel, LifeChurch.tv.
Q: Craig, you and the team at LifeChurch.tv have really pioneered the most effective model of using what we call a shared communicator in the Multi-site Church Road Trip. Beyond your excellent communication skills, what are some of the primary reasons it works for you to be the primary teaching pastor and directional leader for a campus that is literally a couple of time zones away?
A: Greg, first of all, I’m actually doing less teaching now than in the past. We are working hard to develop more speakers on our team and effectively using guest speakers. Even with this shift, we still generally have one communicator broadcast to all the campuses. Having only one person preparing a message, frees the other pastors to spend more time shepherding people and leading their teams. Rather than being the directional leaders for the extended campus, we’re also allowing our campuses more autonomy to make decisions in their community.
Q: You have developed a model for connection with LifeChurch.tv that has three tiers – Open, Network and United. Why “qualifies” a church to become a part of the tightest affiliation – United?
A: Far more churches are becoming a Network Church rather than a United Church. As of today, we have 74 Network Churches. These are totally separate 501c-3s that use our weekly teaching. (Many also use our kids curriculum and worship all at no charge.) Churches who are part of the LifeChurch.tv Network are reporting great responses and stories of changed lives from their members and attendees. In order for a United partnership to occur, we’re looking for a unique set of circumstances where we can do more together than apart. Only in rare situations is it worth uniting since merging churches can be painful, and there are so many effective ways to partner.
Q: It is not news that you, and other pastors of large multi-site churches, are sometimes accused of building your own kingdom … of limiting the leadership potential of others because of your “celebrity status”. When you get these calls and emails, how do you respond?
A: People may say that, but I rarely hear it. Truthfully, we believe that we are building great leaders and don’t pay a lot of attention to uninformed criticisms.
Q: What is new about the multi-site ministry at LifeChurch.tv since we last talked?
A: We continue to become more passionate about serving the broader body of Christ. Rather than simply focusing on building more campuses, we are focusing on building the Church at large. On our personal learning curve, we have learned that our multi site strategy works better in medium sized and larger campuses. We haven’t learned to do multi-site at small campuses well. We’re trying to learn from others who do church in small venues effectively.
Q:What have I not asked that I should have?
A: You didn’t ask me what I’m pumped about! I’m pumped to see generosity and Kingdom mindedness in churches across the world. So many anointed Christian leaders are working together. I honestly believe that together we can make a significant difference in the world! I’m also very excited about what God is doing through church online. This is a fantastic tool to take the message of Christ to people who might not experience it otherwise. I’m excited about all the different ministries God is blessing.
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s conversation with Dave Browning, author of Deliberate Simplicity and lead pastor at Christ the King Community Church. You will get the behind-the-scenes scoop on International Campuses – the multi-site church gone global!
We would love to have us help spread the word about Multi-site Church Road Trip. We have developed a free online resource – Multi-site Church Toolkit: Launch Analysis that we will send to anyone who completes one of the following.
- Buys a copy of the book
- Posts this tweet – Get a copy of Multi-site Church Road Trip Now at http://bit.ly/2KZlzO
- Posts a comment on this blog or creates a post on your own blog.
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Once you have completed one of the items above send an email to email@example.com indicating where you purchased the book or made your post and we will send you the free resource.
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