A new year prompts many to gauge where they are along the journey and practice of ministry. It is a convenient time to take inventory. For example questions that we might ask of this past year are “what programs made in a difference for division, union, conference or local ministries?” “What leaders emerged with useful proposals and objectives?”

Looking forward to a new year in ministry and leadership, perhaps you are contemplating new possibilities that might include reading new books and meeting key individuals with mentoring in mind.

It is with encouragement that I share with you the following saying, “though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new end.”

The theme of this issue is Small Groups. If you are a novice to the process of small groups you will find the resource Community that is Christian an excellent guidebook. However, if you have already implemented small groups and have experienced them somewhat fizzling out, then ReGroup is what is called for. Best Small-Group Ideas is applicable at all stages of small groups. Featured also is a discipleship and small group resource in the Spanish language.

While relevant resources are critical, the first entry “And Now For A Change: Transformation in Groups” highlights the purpose of small groups: transformation and maturity in Christ. The article“Jesus, Method and Small Groups” differentiates between the entity and concept of small groups and discipleship while bringing implications to ministry and growing disciples.

A valuable stewardship tool is the Reading and Reading Study Guide for use in a small group context by Dr. Greg Ogden.

From the world field, Pastor Joseph Talipuan shares the experience of his stewardship leadership in the South Pacific Division in the On-on-One interview.

May the arrival of this New Year be one in which you experience and witness the miracle of growing and maturing in Christ. May your vision be influenced by the practicality of investing of yourself in the shaping and growing of disciples with intentional leadership in mind. May your seeds of service become reproducing and fruitful, that they might witness with great proclamation and demonstration the power of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God in life and deed. This is the witness of transformation.

A blessed new year to all?

Alongside you in His service,

Maria Ovando-Gibson

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January–March, 2009

Small Groups