April Biblical Studies Carnival

For the April Biblical Studies Carnival I am featuring some articles and blog posts I found around the internet based on the four interests of this blog: Bible, theology, small groups, and leadership. I hope you learn and enjoy these posts as much as I did the past month. 






If you want to host a future carnival, email Phil Long (plong42 at or direct message him on Twitter (@plong42) to volunteer. 




How to Assimilate New People into Small Groups

The regular part of a healthy and growing church means that new people need to be assimilated into existing small groups that the church has. As Small Groups Pastor at Rocky Hill Community Church we refer new people to groups every week! Below are some tips about how to assimilate new people into small groups. 


A. Quick Review of our “LIFE” LIFEGroup Culture at our Church


Our church calls our small groups “LIFE” groups. The L.I.F.E. each stands for a core value.

  • L = Learning – Instilling the Word of God.
  • I = Including – Assimilating new people.
  • F = Fellowshipping – Experiencing biblical fellowship.
  • E = Equipping – Preparing people to minister.

2. Four Practical Aspects to RHCC’s LIFEGroups

There are a few practical things we want each group to do as a way to maintain a healthy small groups.

  • Apprentice – Training new facilitator leaders. We want every group to have a facilitator and an apprentice or co-leader.
  • Empty Chair – Committed to outreach. Keep an empty chair visible as a reminder for the group to pray for the lost and unsaved person.
  • Unifying Question – Complimenting weekend worship, not replacing. This is a question we have the groups ask before the begin the meeting to tie the small group lesson into the big church sermon from the weekend.
  • Serving – Working together to serve our church and community. We want every group to serve once a year either inside our church or doing outreach.

3. Why Do Small Groups?


Defining Postmodernity in a Postmodern World

Postmodernity is the period of time after the enlightenment which describes a new way of thinking about, looking at, and interpreting the world.[ref]Glenn Kreider, “Historical Overview of Christian Theology: The Modern Period, c. 1700-The Present” (lecture, Dallas Theological Seminary, Dallas, TX, 2004).[/ref]

Defining Postmodernity in a Postmodern World

Photo Credit: breyeschow

Postmodernists (I use the word “postmodernist” as a way to describe a person adhering to and living in the time of postmodernity) believe there is no external[ref]Kreider, “Historical Overview of Christian Theology.”[/ref] source of authority because truth, logic, and reason are subjective,[4] not objective. 


3 Tips for Searching for a Seminary

For more than a year my wife and I have ventured on a journey to explore seminaries and see what is available for me to study. Our journeys took us to Dallas (TX), Pasadena (CA), Portland (OR), back to Dallas, to Virginia Beach (VA), and to Wilmore (KY).

pic of two roads

Flickr Photo Credit: CraigCloutier

Throughout our search for a seminary I have discerned three tips that a prospective seminary student needs to practice in order to make the correct decision. These three tips were very helpful to me when looking at seminaries, and I hope they can be helpful to you too.


Book review of More Ready Than You Realize by Brian McLaren

Recently I finished reading the book, More Ready Than You Realize by Brian McLaren. As a Christian man who is hopes to be a good witness (and respectful) to non-Christians, this book was very beneficial to me.

Beginning to read, More Ready Than You Realize is exciting to me because I like the idea of evangelism being less about an “event” and more about a “process.” I think the main reason I am excited to learn more about evangelism being a process is because I came to know and follow Jesus through a four year process. I was the product of “good evangelists” like those McLaren defines as, “people who engage others in good conversation about important topics such as faith, values, hope, meaning, purpose, goodness, beauty, truth, life after death, life before death, and God” (pg 16). That describes the process that I was engaged in for four years before I finally became a Christian and it is encouraging to see that McLaren encourages others to be that way too.


My Story of Being Discipled

It was a spring afternoon when I shared with two men my vision for the work that I wanted to do in the future.

I shared with them my desire to serve leaders through writing books and teaching. Shortly after that day, one of the two men privately approached me and shared that he saw some leadership giftedness in me, and he wanted to coach me to help maximize my effectiveness as a leader. I gratefully accepted his offer knowing little about the drastic change that was about to take place in my professional and spiritual life.


My Sense of Call

The purpose of my life is to be a leading servant who spreads God’s love around the world.


I do that by serving and helping leaders. That sense of call for ministry comes from when I attended a training on how to lead small groups at our church. I was originally at that training because I wanted to create a small group of guys who would study leadership from the Bible and spend time getting to know each other.

I wanted to create a group of Christian guys who have leadership potential and want to lead. While at that small group training I felt God tell me, “Christopher, I want you to go to make leaders of everyday men and women.” Before this happened I already had a good feel for my sense of calling. I had been involved in leading a volunteer based program for five years, and I had personally seen the difference that good leadership has on a program. Therefore I was at the small group training to learn to train leaders, and what God shared with me was a tremendous encouragement that I was walking along the correct path.


Why I Like Quiet Time

One of my favorite parts of the day are the hours from 4:30 AM to 6 AM. 


Because that’s my quiet time.

What’s my quiet time look like?  It means I get to have some time by myself to enjoy a cup of coffee, journal, read my bible, pray, and do any important tasks I “must do” for the day.  Those two hours are the best part of my day because they are time for myself and time for God.


What I Learned from English 1A

In preparation for completing my degree in Christian Ministry and Leadership at Fresno Pacific University (FPU), I took an English 1A class last fall.  English 1A is a basic reading and composition class.

Many a friend found it ironic that someone who has penned a book and over 570 blog posts would need to take a basic English class.  But, I needed the class for FPU, so I took it.

English 1A was taught by Rob Sledge, a professor I had taken twice while attending California State University, Stanislaus.  Rob is a great guy, and when I saw he was teaching the class I needed to take for FPU, I registered as soon as possible.


Taking a Day Off

Last year I realized that I needed to begin taking one day off a week.  At the time I was working very hard seven days a week, often going many months without taking a day off to rest and relax.  At the time I was a single bachelor with very little family in the area where I lived, so I didn’t really have anyone I would rather spend time with instead of working.  I had work and some friends, but not much else.

At the time I was working eight hours a day at United Way until 5 PM, then I would transition into “A Day of Hope mode” where I would work for the next three hours on fundraising letters, recruiting volunteers, our e-newsletter and social media we had going.  Then, on Saturdays I would often do a fundraiser car wash for A Day of Hope and then Sunday was catch up day on administrative work.