All Hands On Deck: Shepherding

My friend Luke and I entered a two-man canoe race (a competition between East Texas Colleges) on some Bayou in western Louisiana. The only catch was that we entered in a one man canoe (the only boat we could find). We were doing great in the first minute of the race… right up until our boat began filling with water (One man canoe/Two Men). And in that moment, when the couch cushions we had been sitting on floated down stream, we thought our race and legacy were over. That is until another couple from our school offered to trade boats with us because they believed we had the potential to win the race. And in that moment we regained hope…

Right now, I can think of three marriages in this past year that nearly sunk. Like “bottom of the river about to sign the papers sunk.” But by God’s grace they didn’t. Why not? Because at their worst moment they had their Small Group Shepherds and members encouraging them and renewing their hope that God could help them finish the race. Each of these folks would give strong credit to their groups if you asked them.

This said, small groups are about so much more than marriage repair and rescue. They are about helping people experience life to the fullest as Jesus spoke of in John 10:10. They are about helping others have a great race in this life.

After picking off about ten different boats, some by questionable measures, Luke and I finished in 2nd place right behind another team from our school. LeTourneau University 1st and 2nd! Yehaw! And although we had the time of our lives, I like to think that there was something more lasting in the victory for the folks who helped create our opportunity for success by sharing their boat.

If you’re into helping others experience the life of Jesus more fully, you may want to find out more about what it means to shepherd or host a small group. It’s one thing to be in the race, it’s quite another to help others win…or at least come in second.

All Hands On Deck,

Josh Howlett

Community Pastor

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