Better Together

Where did you spend the summer? I was fortunate to spend mine in California/Nevada doing the LA, San Francisco and Las Vegas triangle. It was a trip of a lifetime that I will never forget.

One of the highlights was the opportunity to visit Saddleback Church in Orange County. Since I’ve been a fan of Rick Warren for a long time, this was a modern-day pilgrimage for me.

Saddleback is a mega church by any standards. It’s a wonderful campus of landscaped grounds and different venues (or tent pavilions), which share the message from the main auditorium (pictured above) but have individual worship styles in each tent.

The children’s building is amazing: the network of classrooms and modern facilities are above and beyond anything I have seen or could’ve dreamed in a church.

Welcomers were dotted around the campus offering ice-water bottles with the latest campaign wording: Better Together.

Fully appreciating the dangers of isolation in a mega church, Saddleback has a hugely active small group network emphasizing the need to live our lives together and with divine purpose.

Steve Gladen is the pastor of Small Groups at Saddleback and has published a book this year called Leading Small Groups with Purpose.

If you are leading or thinking of leading a small group you might want to check it out.

I found it a goldmine of inspirational ideas, clearly arising from years of experience. It made me smile, cry and cringe as I recognized my own shortcomings and failures in leading a group.

I give thanks for the blessed refreshment of holidays and for the opportunity to look afresh at my small group, its structure, format, members and their unique giftings and issues. I pray that we all would be truly better together this coming year.
If you are not a member of a small group: why not join one this autumn; if there isn’t one nearby, September is a great time to start one!

If you’re already leading, be encouraged in Steve Gladen’s book’s final words:

“You matter to God and leading and building health in your small group is an incredible and eternal privilege.”