Sunday, March 28, 2004

I've been going to church on Sundays earlier than usual for the past few weeks. I usually get there a little past 9am and do some reading... it's been helpful, especially recently. My mind's just been all over the place. Matt and I got together at Borders this past Wednesday. Among other things, he asked if I'd be up for becoming our small group leader. He stepping down this summer, because of reasons I won't talk about here, but they're related to other things that I've been thinking about. Basically it boils down to my favorite Brent principle: "People suck". And there's been some messy stuff going on lately. Matt's been a real champ, I might add... I don't envy his position, and he's held up the way any man should under the circumstances.

I told him I wasn't going to consider being small group leader yet, not because of the stuff Matt's had to deal with (apparently whoever takes over next won't be inheriting Matt's situation... the powers that be will see to that), but because I was still in a mode of transition. I mean, all I have is a temp job at NetLearning. So I told him nope, not in my current situation, because I might still be gone in a couple of months. Well, the next day, Raymond comes up to me and tells me they're trying to get a new testing position approved at NetLearning, and he's gonna have me do the stuff related to that position after I'm done helping Dave on the network diagnostic thingy (yeah my language is real technical, can you tell?). Once the position is approved, they'll post it, get resumes, but most likely the guy who gets the job will be the one who's been doing it already, namely, me. So I'm thinking, ok a few months from now I might have a permanent job. Still too late to take over from Matt in summer.

The next day, Ray's talking to Dave and he tells him we're looking at about 20 more days I and Dave will be working together, and then I'll be moved to the new thing, and after that maybe in a few weeks it'll be permanent. Ok so it's been upgraded to a couple of months is what I'm thinking. Then today, Sunday morning, I bump into Ray at church and we talk to Gretchen Paxton for a bit after that, say hi to her parents who are visiting, and Ray says to them I'm working a temp job now but we're looking to get me into something permanent in a couple of weeks. I'm going 'man whatever negotiating technique I'm using must be working great'. And of course my technique involved saying absolutely nothing about it at all. The whole thing is pretty much being placed on my lap. Hey! No complaints there!

What this means, though, is I'm going to have to tell Matt some time soon that, yes I'm probably going to be in a position to lead small group. I guess the question is whether or not I ought to. It might not seem like a big deal to some people, but the way I look at it is this: The closest thing to a small group leader described in Scripture is, really, a pastor. There's no other equivalent, at least scripturally. Some folks say the closest thing is actually Jesus, and the twelve were his little small group. Well, that's fine except if I was ever in a small group with twelve other guys, I'd get out of there... that's one frikkin' large small group.

So a small group leader is probably a pastor, of sorts. And what's the description of a pastor in scripture?

"Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task. Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil's trap.
Deacons, likewise, are to be men worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons. "

That's from 1 Timothy 3. Obviously we have to make allowances here... most of the guys at YAMs aren't married, and there aren't enough of em to go around fascilitating all the small groups there. But the principle laid out in this passage is clear: The guy in charge must have his house in order. "If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?". And in the case of single guys, I guess he must know how to manage his own life. Yahoos need not apply.

Now, obviously, Matt wouldn't ask me to do this if he thought I was a yahoo. He cares about the folks in our small group, and he's not about to do anything he'd think would be damaging. I look at what God has to say about folks in that position, though, and I'm thinking, if this is something I'm gonna do, I'm going to have to just grow up. No more 5-hour MU-ing sessions. No more hiding in my litttle pc hole on weekends. No more thinking around in circles and feeling sorry for myself.

Well, I've got some time to consider all this... Fellowship does require small group leaders to be church members, and that means taking a membership class, and then there's a leadership class after that. Even if I do decide to give this a shot, mayhaps I'll be sifted out by the process :p. I don't know. I just don't know.

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