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February 28, 2012

John Ortberg Encourages Small-Group Leaders

And lets us know all the effort is worth it.


As February ends, we've got a bit of cabin fever here at the offices of Christianity Today. We're a little antsy, our attention spans are growing shorter, and we need something to keep us going. So I figured you might, too.

In our Fall 2010 digizine, interviews John Ortberg in an article called "No, You're Not Crazy!" Ortberg shares his wisdom with small-group leaders, inspiring us to keep on. How do you feel that small groups as a whole have impacted the kingdom of God? What have they brought to churches, and to the Church?

Ortberg: I think it was Robert Wuthnow who said that the small-group movement is the biggest social revolution in America. In an era where people have become increasingly mobile, uprooted, and disconnected from family structures, I think small groups have become a huge vehicle for people to experience relationship, intimacy, and community. And in a lot of cases that comes to people who might not have it otherwise. If you had a chance to encourage a group of small-group leaders, what would you say?

Ortberg: I would say: "It's worth it." When I was at Willow Creek Community Church back in Chicago, a common message we delivered to people in ministry was, "You're not crazy." In those times when you think: Man, this is really hard. Nobody was talking tonight, or I've got a really difficult person in this group, or I'm feeling like I don't know how to lead a discussion—you never know when God is going to use a moment, a session, or a connection with somebody else. You never know when a person is going to show up with a broken heart, and God's going to choose you and your group to be a vessel of grace. You don't carry the outcome on your shoulders. But when you show up and offer a devoted spirit—it's worth it.

What do you do when you're feeling discouraged? What quotations, Scripture, or reminders motivate you to keep on? Share with us below.

Be sure to check out all our past digizines, and look out for a new one coming this July.

posted by Amy Jackson on February 28, 2012 2:21 PM

Related Tags: Digizine, Digizine excerpt, Encouragement, John Ortberg


Thanks for sharing this very encouraging article again! I'm passing it on to all our leaders.

Thanks, Mike!

When I am discouraged, I try to remember that it (success, results, etc.) doesn't depend on me or my feelings. It's all a result of grace and that in turn depends on the immutable character of a God who is great and awesome and who keeps His covenant of love with those who love Him and keep His commandments. (Nehemiah 1)

When discouraged I try to shift my focus from hoping in the temporal to hoping in the eternal.
'Why so downcast Oh my soul? Put your hope in God."

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