The most pivotal moments in my life involved a change of perspective. Perspective is the lens through which we see the world. Your perspective directly affects your relationships with God, others and even yourself!
Before knowing Jesus, I remember struggling to understand what the Bible was saying, but when I became a believer, I saw the truth in God’s Word and His wisdom began to penetrate my heart and mind. Jesus gave me a fresh perspective. This was the first of many to come because I soon realized there was a lot that I had to learn. There was a new way of living that was unfamiliar to me and it was my new-found spiritual family that modeled what it meant to walk by faith. My perspective has been under construction ever since.
We need to set our minds on things above and on things of the Spirit (Col 3:2; Rom 8:5b). But I’ll be the first to admit that I need help with this! In times of confusion, doubt or discouragement – it was the voices of spiritual friendships forged in small groups that reminded me of God’s truth and faithfulness. This is what I think Dietrich Bonhoeffer meant in his book, Life Together, when he wrote, “The Christian needs another Christian who speaks God’s Word to him. He needs him again and again when he becomes uncertain and discouraged, for by himself he cannot help himself without [contradicting] the truth…The Christ in his own heart is weaker than the Christ in the word of his brother; his own heart is uncertain, his brother’s is sure.” Thankfully, God works through His Word and the community of His people to renew our minds (Rom 12:2).
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The Lord uses other people to help us see things that we wouldn’t otherwise see if we locked in on viewing them through our own unchanging lens. For example, different perspectives on similar challenges can make all the difference in the world, especially when talking with somebody who has experience with something you’re going through or wanting to try. Break-through frequently comes with the feedback from another who sees the same thing you do, but from a different angle. (Prov 13:30, 15:22) This is one of the reasons why small group coaches are a gift as Veronica Hasbrouck wrote about in her recent post entitled, “Why Small Group Coaches?”
In the trenches of small group ministry, you need perspective-influencing conversations that will help you to think differently, see new possibilities, break-through barriers, awaken creativity and inspire hope. So what does this look like for you? When you ask questions and dialogue with other leaders, you’re opening a window to your heart so the light of God’s wisdom can shine in. How does this happen for you? Where is this space for you?
If you have either read Steve Gladen’s book “Planning Small Groups with Purpose” or attended an “Accelerate!” small group workshop, you can find a fresh perspective by joining the ongoing conversation in our new Communities of Purpose Forum. The C.O.P. Forum is a peer-to-peer learning environment that will influence your perspective on a range of different questions and topics related to starting or strengthening small groups in your church. Check out https://smallgroupnetwork.com/cop to learn more about COPs and how you can experience another dimension of what we mean when we say, “We’re better together!”