Discussion-based Lessons

Discussion-based lessons have groups talking and changing. We are changed more by what we say than what we hear. "Instead SPEAKING the truth (not just hearing the truth) we will grow." Ephesians 4.15 https://www.youtube.com/embed/lduldVUA8-4

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Loving God; Loving People

First, Jesus distinguished the first and second commandment. He said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as...

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Ten Characteristics of Secular People

George Hunter in his book How to Reach Secular People identifies “Ten Characteristics of Secular People.” They are as follows: They are essentially ignorant of basic Christianity. They are “ignostics”; that is, they are simply ignorant of biblical information. They...

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Can a church be TOO friendly?

About one out of seven guests told us, surprisingly, they did not return because the people were too friendly. Some noted that issue in the context of the stand-and-greet time, while others said it was an issue at all points in the church. “I came away worn out from...

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Top Nine Ways Churches Drive Away First-time Guests

Unfriendly church members. This response was anticipated. But the surprise was the number of respondents who included non-genuine friendliness in their answers. In other words, the guests perceived some of the church members were faking it. Unsafe and unclean...

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What is Heaven Like

Most human beings believe in an afterlife. And in most cases, this belief involves a good place and a bad place. If you’re a good person, and you embrace the right beliefs, you go to the good place. If you’re not, and you don’t, you go to the bad place. Seems simple...

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Eternity is Now in Session

I have a sign on the back wall of my office that I look at first thing every morning when I sit down at my desk. In large block letters, it echoes something my good friend Dallas Willard used to say: “Eternity Is Now in Session.” God is not waiting for eternity to...

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A simple solution to a better guest experience at church

 “Where’s the Beef?” In 1984 the hamburger chain Wendy’s introduced a commercial that became an instant classic. In the early releases, the commercial portrayed an elderly woman looking at a hamburger from a competitor of Wendy’s. The meat in the burger was...

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What is a Disciple?

It might sound boring, but at a fundamental level, God wants the exact same thing from you and me as He has wanted from every other person who names the name of Jesus as Lord: He wants us to truly follow Jesus. To be His disciples. That was, after all, the marching...

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Should your church stand and greet guests?

Nine out of ten guests do not like the stand-and-greet time in church services! What is that? Why are there such major differences between the preferences and opinions of the members and the preferences and opinions of the guests? The guests addressed this issue in...

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How to WOW guests at church

To be fair, in our study of first-time church guests, we heard from a number of them who had really pleasant experiences, and decided to return. Let’s look at the top ten responses from the perspective of the happy guest. Some of them are just the opposite of the ten...

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You are a missionary; live like one

Sent: The Fifth Habit I will journal throughout the week all the ways I alerted others to the universal reign of God through Christ. The final habit is to begin identifying yourself as a missionary —a sent one —by journaling the ways you’re alerting others to God’s...

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Prayer is the preacher’s life

PRAYER, in the preacher’s life, in the preacher’s study, in the preacher’s pulpit, must be a conspicuous and an all-impregnating force and an all-coloring ingredient. It must play no secondary part, be no mere coating. To him it is given to be with his Lord “all night...

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The Uncommon Common

God’s constant presence is ultimately what makes the insignificant become significant. If we look through the pages of Scripture, we find time and time again God invading the ordinary and then making the ordinary into something extraordinary. It’s not that the thing...

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How to turn off guests at church

But many church members and leaders are wrong. When we asked hundreds of guests about their experiences visiting churches, it was not a pretty picture. We asked specifically why they did not return to a particular church. Here were their top ten responses: The...

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Talking to God for men

The preacher must be preeminently a man of prayer. His heart must graduate in the school of prayer. In the school of prayer only can the heart learn to preach. No learning can make up for the failure to pray. No earnestness, no diligence, no study, no gifts will...

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Listening to the Spirit’s voice

The third habit I want you to foster is that of listening for the Spirit’s voice. I suggest you find at least one chunk of time, preferably at the beginning of each week, to stop and create space to commune with God. For many people, listening to the Holy Spirit is...

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Where has God been?

If you’re a Christian as I am, then you probably would acknowledge a belief in the pervasive and all-encompassing work of God. We would agree together that God is not passive but active, constantly moving and working in the world at all times. We say it, but do we...

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The preaching that kills

The preaching that kills may have insight and grasp of principles, may be scholarly and critical in taste, may have every minutia of the derivation and grammar of the letter, may be able to trim the letter into its perfect pattern, and illume it as Plato and Cicero...

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Learn Christ

The third habit I want you to foster is that of listening for the Spirit’s voice. I suggest you find at least one chunk of time, preferably at the beginning of each week, to stop and create space to commune with God. For many people, listening to the Holy Spirit is...

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Afraid of Insignificance?

I am afraid. There, I said it, and now it’s out there. But I need to clarify the statement. My biggest fear in life is not of sickness, financial hardship, public speaking, heights, or even spiders. My biggest fear is being ordinary. I am deathly afraid of being just...

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Where great preaching is made

The real sermon is made in the closet. The man—God’s man—is made in the closet. His life and his profoundest convictions were born in his secret communion with God. The burdened and tearful agony of his spirit, his weightiest and sweetest messages were got when alone...

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The Myth of the Welcoming Church

Therein lies the problem with most churches. Churches perceive they are a friendly church because the members are friendly to one another. But they don’t think about walking in the shoes of first-time guests. They don’t look at their facilities, their parking, their...

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Becoming a welcoming church

His name is Ryan. I met Ryan in a consultation for a church where we focused on the guest experience. We had a one-hour in-person interview with him. And he let us have it! Ryan had almost no church background. But I could tell he was really searching. So he did...

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Searching for Significance

The truth is that we will all spend 90 percent of our time here on earth just doing life. Just being ordinary. If this were a self-help book, I might follow that realistic, slightly de-motivating statement up with something like: “Break out of the ordinary. Pursue...

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Thom Rainer on Hospitality

The Bible has many verses on hospitality. For example, Paul wrote to the church at Rome and to Timothy and Titus about the matter. To the church at Rome, he simply said, “. . . pursue hospitality” (Rom. 12:13). And Paul told Timothy that leaders in the church must be...

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Hospitality in the early church

Back to cranky old Emperor Julian. Remember that one of his pet peeves about the Christians was their practice of a surprising form of hospitality. He complained to his officials that one of the Christians’ methods for “perverting” the empire was their so-called...

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Is life boring?

Once upon a time, there was an ordinary man. Every day, his alarm clock went off. On good days, he would reach over, turn off the alarm, get up, and go to the gym. On the other days, he would hit the snooze button. Upon returning from the YMCA (or waking up after...

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What is God doing today?

As the writer of Hebrews asserted, Christ calls his witnesses to present God’s message of hope despite all opposition (Hebrews 12:3). Today we face an articulate and assertive army of anti-theists who are deeply embedded in our academic institutions and who trumpet...

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What makes great preaching great?

The preacher’s sharpest and strongest preaching should be to himself. His most difficult, delicate, laborious, and thorough work must be with himself. The training of the twelve was the great, difficult, and enduring work of Christ. Preachers are not sermon makers,...

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What does it mean to bless someone?

The first habit I want you to consider embracing is that of blessing others. In fact, I’d like you to bless three people each week —at least one of whom is a member of your church and at least one of whom is not. The third can be from either category. The term “to...

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The key to great preaching

The man makes the preacher. God must make the man. The messenger is, if possible, more than the message. The preacher is more than the sermon. The preacher makes the sermon. As the life-giving milk from the mother’s bosom is but the mother’s life, so all the preacher...

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I will bless three people each week

I will explain more fully what is involved in each of these habits in the following chapters, but let me make the point here that each habit is designed to release a certain value in the life of the person who practices them. If you bless three people every week,...

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Men of Prayer

What the Church needs to-day is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use—men of prayer, men mighty in prayer. The Holy Ghost does not flow through methods, but through men. He does not come on...

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What one meal can do

Open your table. Even more, open your circle. Be certain to invite not just the affluent and successful, “but when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed” (Luke 14:13–14 NIV). The Greek word for hospitality...

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Power through Prayer

WE are constantly on a stretch, if not on a strain, to devise new methods, new plans, new organizations to advance the Church and secure enlargement and efficiency for the gospel. This trend of the day has a tendency to lose sight of the man or sink the man in the...

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Missional habits

Whereas we often see our faith being exhibited in action, there’s also a strong case to be made for suggesting it can flow in the other direction, too. That is, our actions can shape our faith. As Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not...

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Leaders answer the question: why?

The third component to a convincing vision is the reason something must be done now. You have to present people with a reason for your vision. You have to answer the questions: Why must we do this? Why must we do this now? Nehemiah’s reason was wrapped up in this...

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How the early church grew

This twofold approach literally transformed the Roman Empire. While evangelists and apologists such as Peter and Paul were proclaiming the gospel and defending its integrity in an era of polytheism and pagan superstition, hundreds of thousands of ordinary believers...

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How to muzzle a talker

It is a sin to bore people with the gospel

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Sunday School University

For nearly thirty years, Dr. Bill Tolar and Dr. Brian Harbour have helped thousands of Sunday School teachers prepare their lessons by means of video.  Each week, they  provide an insightful walk through this week's scriptures and provide concrete Bible-to-life application points for you to make with your class this Sunday.  Their video lesson previews are available for both the Life and Explore Series materials. We have arranged a special one-month free trial of their videos for anyone who mentions joshhunt.com.  Click here for more information or to get your free trial.

Josh Hunt believes in the power of the small group ministry in your church. And, his belief is contagious. In his new book, Make Your Group Grow, Josh presents sound application to easy to understand research that will benefit every size and style of church. Your groups and leadership will benefit from this book.

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