Learning from leaders while on Sabbatical

My first trip for my sabbatical was to the St. Louis area to visit with Jason Zellmer and Jason Meyer from Peine Ridge Church in Wentzville, MO.  The second visit took me to Community Bible Church in Nashville, TN where I talked with lead pastor, Byron Yawn and also visited friends from Liberate 2015, Arnie & Marci Preheim. Both of these trips were valuable as I learned several things from each location.  Here are a few things I learned:
  • SIMPLE-At Peine Ridge Church, their philosophy of ministry is simple.  They do a few things and seek to do them well.  For example, they do not have Sunday School or age segregated small groups.  This leads to the second things I observed and learned.
  • ALL AGES TOGETHER-Peine Ridge does not separate parents from kids very often.  They do have a ministry for children 5 and under during the worship time.  I was interested in visiting a Peine Family gathering and was both surprised and impressed.  I would make the assumption of keeping kids and adults together would not work.  The kids would be distracting.  And these Peine Family groups are not quiet, but they do work.  At Peine Families each family unit (there are young couples without kids who attend) brings food for a meal together to begin the evening.  This is followed by a story for the children and prayer.  After the kids story/prayer, the children can either stay with the adults or go and play in the basement or outside (supervised by a rotation of adults). Then the adults have a lesson together where they ask questions or go deeper into the Bible passage from the previous Sunday.  They close their time with prayer together and dismiss. 
  • SANCTIFIED LIFE-One of the quotes that sticks with me from my visit with Byron was something he said about how their church understands sanctification.  He said they see the "sanctified life = grateful life." Why do we do things in the Christian life?  Not out of fear, guilt, shame, or punishment.  But instead we DO because of what Christ has DONE for us.  We do this not to keep God happy or earn favor, but because we are grateful or thankful for all Jesus DID for us. 
  • MINISTRY FOCUSED ON JESUS-I attended a men's breakfast on Saturday morning before heading back to Kansas.  The typical men's breakfast goes like this: eat, hear how you are failing as a man, husband, or father, share tips for how to do better or do more, and then pray and go home. This men's breakfast had great food and was followed by a great teaching by Byron Yawn on the "Sanctification Debate".  He provided a great handout with helpful information about the history and contemporary debate on the topic.
I am thankful for a great visit at both of these churches. I learned much more than I have shared here but these are a few highlights.  I enjoyed visiting with individuals, families and hosts at each of these locations.  Thank you to all who gave of their time to host, provide a meal, or share from your experiences!

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