Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Small Group Materials

From time to time I will attempt to share with you some sources of truly significant small group Bible study materials. Nothing helps build strong, Christ-centered relationships more effectively than becoming a part of a small group. Every significant and growing fellowship of believers relies on small groups to provide intimacy and fellowship among the members of a larger body.

This time, I want to shine a spotlight on the magnificent ministry of David and Karen Mains and Mainstay Ministries. Just point your web browser to www.sundaysolutions.com.

On that site you will find a host of helpful materials. Many of these materials have been packaged as “50-Day Spiritual Adventures.” While the Adventures are designed for an entire church to use, they also make truly effective materials for use by small groups. Check ‘em out; you’ll be glad you did!

In the spirit of full disclosure, I should explain further.

I grew up in a Bible-believing church. I prayed to receive Jesus as my Savior at the ripe old age of nine, in 1956. During high school, I served actively in Youth for Christ. I graduated from a most excellent Christian liberal arts college, Houghton College.

And yet, here I was in the summer of 1975: spiritually stagnant, terribly discouraged, gravely disappointed, and deeply troubled by the shallowness of many of the Christian leaders with whom I had come into contact. So, in the midst of this period of severe spiritual draught, I began to pray earnestly that God would bring a truly godly man into my life. I prayed faithfully and fervently, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year.

In October, 1978, I received word at the Christian radio station where I served as a volunteer, WIHS-fm, that Rev. David R. Mains of The Chapel of the Air radio broadcast would speak at the annual radio station appreciation banquet. And, Rev. Mains would also speak at the Sunday morning worship service at my church. Knowing that I worked at the radio station, someone from my church asked if my wife and I would host Rev. Mains during his weekend visit.

That weekend changed my life forever.

As Rev. Mains began to speak at the radio station banquet, I hush fell across the several hundred people gathered in that high school auditorium. I sensed a deep electricity punctuate his words. Virtually instantly I knew that maybe, just maybe, God had finally answered my prayers.

During the time Rev. Mains spent in our home that weekend, I found someone who was much more interested in learning about me than he was in telling me about himself. In a truly uncharacteristic manner, compared to many, many other Christian media personalities that I had met, Rev. Mains exhibited a spirit of true humility, seasoned with great grace.

As he prepared to board a Chicago-bound airplane on Sunday afternoon, he quietly sat with me in the boarding area and shared some key principles he was using in his own spiritual development. He encouraged me to write to him.

Over the ensuing 30 years (31 years this October), David Mains has poured many, many hours of loving concern into my life. He has given me the opportunity to work with him and his staff. He has introduced me to many other key individuals. Most importantly, he has modeled for me what it means to wholeheartedly commit one’s life to serving God.

He opened his home to me, where his wife, Karen, a noted Christian author, and his children, all welcomed me and extended wonderful hospitality.

So, you see, I have experienced first hand many of the truths that the “50-Day Spiritual Adventures” help believers experience in their own lives. I wholeheartedly and enthusiastically urge you to choose one of the 50-Day Adventures and begin to use it for your small group. If you are not presently participating in a small group, why not start one. Pick a date and time and invite some of your friends to join you for a couple of hours of Bible study and prayer.

You and your friends truly can make Hebrews 10:23-25 come alive in your hearts and minds.
Copyright © 2009 by Dean K. Wilson. All Rights Reserved.