“I cannot believe that Sarah finally came last night! How did it go? Do you think she’ll come back again next in 2 weeks?”
This was one of the most fun phone calls I got to make as a small groups and discipleship pastor. It started a couple months earlier as the leaders of a small group I oversaw felt like God was calling them to begin inviting their co-workers to be a part of their group. It was exciting to see these two leaders trust God as they started to reach out in their workplaces.
The goal was to invite two co-workers each to come to their dinner, swing dance, and fellowship small group. It was an exciting group that would meet up every other week to share a meal together, invest in each others life, pray for one another, and of course do a little swing dancing.
We had talked about their desire to invest into some coworkers and through that conversation I had been given the names of 4 people to be praying for. Sarah was one of those names. None of the three of us knew what to expect, but we were choosing to trust God together that relationships would be formed, grow deeper, and that at least one of these four would come to their group to connect with others from our church.
I would check in on the couple dozen small groups I coached and oversaw using our Church Management Software. What was great about this was that it allowed me to see the people who were coming to each of the groups, and who had stopped coming.
This tool was invaluable for me as a leader in our church. It didn’t replace my personal engagement with these leaders. Rather it completely changed the way that I engaged with them. I made it a point to call my leaders at least twice a month to see how they were doing, to see if there were ways I could help, and to find out how to be praying for them.
By checking on their group online first I was able to know the high level view of what had gone on since our last conversation. I knew who had been there, and knew a few brief thoughts of theirs on how the event went.
So when I called to celebrate Sarah coming to small group I was already amped up. I made sure that I was filled in on the details, and could join them in celebrating God showing up in the midst of their friendship with Sarah. The squeal of delight on the other end of the phone told me that we were indeed celebrating together.
It is not that we wouldn’t have spoken again, but I wasn’t planning on calling her for another week and would have missed out on celebrating Sarah in the moment. I credit using a centralized tool for groups and events allowing me to participate, in some small way, in their moment.
This was one of the highlights that year. As a pastor there are few things that are more special than seeing someone step out in faith, in a new way, and getting to walk along side them. These faith-stretching experiences never end the same, but getting to be a part of their growth is why I love ministry.
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