Scott’s Thoughts – Sun, Oct 29, 2023

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(Apologies for links that make getting back to this ST post a slightly frustrating process. We’re annoyed, too. We try to avoid that, but it’s beyond our control.)

Update re Life Groups Inductive Bible Study, I Mean Discussion Guide, I Mean Both

A Few Misc Items of Note

How Engagement and Growth Actually Work at FCC
Update re Life Groups Inductive Bible Study, I Mean Discussion Guide, I Mean Both
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Long story short, there are now two versions of our weekly sermon-based Life Group Discussion Guide. One is the ever-changing Inductive Bible Study, which can be found at and in the Sermon Guide (on Home tab on the app) and which is intended to be a guide for Life Group discussion. The other is the newer “Life Group Discussion Guide” in the Worship Guide each Sunday, which reflects a more thematically focused way to facilitate discussion. Choose one. Choose elements of both. Whatever you do, please make sure to work through the thematic gist of the sermon content in a way that leads to application, for the sake of those in your Life Group and for the unity of the body. Creating a culture in one’s group of submission to God’s Word is one of the most important things you can do for your peoples’ spiritual growth. (And also don’t miss out on having your people in your group pray for one another. Did you know that studies of small groups in churches show that the most important element for long-term health in a small group is prayer!? Don’t skip it.)
A Few Misc Items of Note
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  • Good Ol’ Fashioned Potluck & Prayer is Tonight! — Whether this morning is your first ever FCC visit or you lost count 20 years ago, come join us to eat together, meet some new folks, hear about a recent missions or ministry wins, and spend a few minutes sharing in prayer together. Tonight, 5:30-7p at every campus, more detail here.
  • See/Manage Your Giving Online — Whether you give online or offline, you can see it online. See this previous ST post for more.
  • Brown Bags & Bibles — Just a heads up that we’ve recently covered and are now rolling out a number of important and helpful resources, all available on the under “Watch” or at
    • Human Sexuality, Homosexuality, Elders’ Position Paper (Episodes 79-83)
    • The Holiness of God, by R. C. Sproul (Episodes 87-92)
    • Complementarianism & Egalitarianism (Episodes 93-99): Male-Female Equality and Male Headship; Biblical Masculinity/Femininity; Elders’ Paper on “Complementarianism and the Role of Women in the Church”; Answering Objections; Panel Discussion with Key Female Leaders Within FCC
    • Have the Charismatic Gifts Ceased? (Episodes 100-102)
    • Mere Christianity, by C. S. Lewis (Episdoes 103+)
  • Noah Nasekos Hiking the Appalachian Trail in Order to Preach the Gospel — Don’t miss today’s H7 Story about Noah’s plans.
  • Myra Ettenborough‘s Story of Being a Next Steps Helper — Another recent and super cool H7 Story worth your time.
Our Mission and Why Engagement and Growth Work as they do at FCC
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Ever since March 2020, when our attendance temporarily went down to zero, we had to start all over again, and a few of us felt like, “Welp, there goes 15 years of hard work,” we’ve been experiencing what every church that is still alive has been: massive people churn. At least that’s what I’ve been calling it. It’s when, as we currently have, well over half of us is brand new within the last 3 years and people are far more frequently coming and going, and coming and going again, and again, and often, again and again. No exaggeration at all. Lack of community connection is a serious struggle for just about everyone nowadays. (For a number of things we’ve since learned, especially as it relates to our multisite vision, click here.)

I’m bringing up people churn because it creates all sorts of challenges for everyone in the church body—whether newbies, veterans, vols, leaders, or paid staff. Said plainly, and in a way that incorporates most of the (frankly, good) challenges associated with constant transience and the majority of people being new: every single person who is part of us has a personal history, and therefore, a particular vision, for what a church is, how it works, how to be involved, what to expect, what ministries to support, *yada, yada, yada,* all the way down to every possible specific and particular method or preference imaginable!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not bringing this up to squash discussion. Not at all. In fact, I absolutely love explaining why we do what we do and what we don’t do, (and usually, people around me get tired of hearing it.) So, please don’t mistake what I’m saying as a plea that you don’t ask questions. Please ask questions. Generally, we’re ready for them, quite willing to give open and honest answers, and it’s important to have those conversations when so many people are new.

But this occasionally needs to be said: Our non-negotiable first priority is to be good at making disciple makers.

As a result, there are 3 main practical implications and 1 question I want to highlight.
  • Just because you don’t see it yet doesn’t meant it isn’t already there. — For example, when people wonder why we don’t do a group/ministry for a particular need or demographic that they care about or with which they may have experience, we often say something like, ‘We don’t do that for a few main reasons. One, we already do too many programs and the more we add, the less we achieve our main goal of Helping People Find and Follow Jesus (i.e., making disciple makers) who are actually good at caring for the souls of people around them in a way that builds long-term flourishing of the Kingdom and our local community. Terribly few churches are actually good at producing spiritual producers and we want to be one of those few. And two, because that actually happens in re:generation, where we not only work through and address those issues in the context of biblical community, but it also teaches our people a deeply Christ-and-gospel-centered vision for spiritual growth is in a way that undoes patterns of unhealthy thinking. This becomes our churchwide vocabulary for caring for peoples’ souls and is part of our training for leadership of any group of people other than oneself. And three, because the process of re:gen helps undo unhealthy patterns of living and thinking that we… I’m consistently amazed at how many of our people—even those who have been around for years—act as if we’re going to do something differently than we’ve been literally communicating in our Next Steps class as well as our communications outputs.
  • If you don’t buy in to “The Big 3,” you will eventually become disconnected. — We are designed, from the ground up, to reinforce the Biblical habits of Engage in worship, Serve on the team, and Connect in a small group. You may not want to. You may think there are better ways. You may have experienced different methods in different churches. But this is how we are designed, and we’ve thrown all our eggs in The Big 3 basket. If you are only occasionally engaged in worship, and you aren’t serving or connecting, you should not expect something we tell you that you shouldn’t expect. I know it sounds harsh, but it’s true. We aren’t designed to accommodate another vision. We’re designed to produce producers.
  • We transform culture by transforming individual people where we have relationships with them. — While there are many good things we could be doing as a church, nothing is more important and more fruitful for the sake of the world around us than making disciples, period. If we aren’t doing job one well, then who cares what we are doing? If you want to have a positive effect on the world, buy into the local church. Listen y’all… Changed hearts and minds that are about Jesus’ sacrificial love for the world is the only way to develop those around us to be long-term community producers.
  • Are you a disciple maker? — I’m just gonna let this sit there for you to answer with the Lord in prayer. If you’re not making disciples (who make disciples, as if there is such a thing as an unfruitful disciple in the Scriptures), then what is it about Jesus’ command to do so that you aren’t understanding?
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