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Have a heart for discipleship? Need guidance and wisdom on what it looks like in a post-Christian culture? You're not alone. Join pastor Oliver Hersey, as he hosts relevant and thoughtful conversations with seasoned ministry practitioners on how to make disciples and build communities that transform lives. Email the podcast at discipleship@smallgroups.com.
 
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show series
 
How did the early church fathers practice discipleship? What can we learn from them and apply to our lives today?In this episode, Oliver Hersey explores those questions with Pete Scazzero, author of Emotionally Healthy Discipleship: Moving from Shallow Christianity to Deep Transformation In addition to studying the early church Scazzero also studie…
 
How can the church come alongside people after the pandemic? In this episode, Oliver Hersey and Kelsey Bowse explore that question with Nicky Gumbel, Vicar at Holy Trinity Brompton (HTB) in London, England. He’s also the pioneer of Alpha, a program that started in 1977 that helps people explore questions of faith in fifteen sessions. He left his le…
 
How can you live a life that’s deeply formed in Christ? In this episode, Oliver Hersey explores that question with Rich Villodas, author of “The Deeply Formed Life: Five Transformative Values to Root Us in the Way of Jesus.” He is also the lead pastor of New Life Fellowship, a multi-racial church in Queens, New York. He wrote the book out of pastor…
 
How can you model your small groups after Levi’s house? In this episode, Oliver Hersey tells the story of Jesus calling Levi, or Matthew, the tax collector to follow Him. Many Christian scholars believe that Levi also wrote the gospel of Matthew, and witnessed the Ascension of Jesus, according to the Oxford Bible Commentary the Gospels. “After this…
 
Why is singing an important part of worship? Kristyn Getty and her husband, Keith wrote a book entitled “Sing: How Worship Transforms Your Life, Family and Church” that explores this question, in light of the Christian faith. They’re both known as modern hymn writers, and global ambassadors for the genre. Kristyn and Keith are best known for the mo…
 
How can you participate in the mission of God? In this episode, Oliver Hersey and Dr. Christopher Wright, author of The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible's Grand Narrative discuss prayer, scripture reading, and theological study as ways to enter into God's mission. Dr. Wright said “we need to be men and women of mission. We need to see that we ar…
 
How can you live in the tension of the ‘now, and not yet?’ Oliver Hersey and J.R. Briggs, author of The Sacred Overlap - Learning to Live in the Space In Between reflect on the mystery of the Christian life, as it relates to prayer, community and difficult questions we wrestle with. Briggs said “If you think about the overlapped life – it’s kind of…
 
How can you ‘take off your mask off’ to be fully known? Oliver Hersey and John Lynch, author of “On My Worst Day: The Narrative changes When Redemption Enters In” explore that question. “It’s up to us as leaders, to be able to believe who are in Christ, to be able to know what I am telling is real. And I’m not wearing an idealized mask. That is the…
 
How can you participate in the divine life? Oliver Hersey and Dr. Cherith Fee Nordling, Associate Professor at the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies at Regent College explore this question, in light of the Trinity. She said “He is still incarnate, embodied, busy and is happy to invite us to be part of things.” Her students are blown aw…
 
What defines Progressive Christianity? In this episode, Oliver Hersey and producer, Kelsey Bowse explore that question with Alisa Childers, author of Another Gospel: A Lifelong Christian Seeks Truth in Response to Progressive Christianity. She was also a member of ZOEgirl, a Christian band that toured from 1999-2013, with bands like Natalie Grant, …
 
How do you care for your soul? Mindy Caliguire, is the co-founder and President of Soul Care, a spiritual formation ministry that exists to increase “soul health” in the church. Her and her husband, Jeff have also consulted with non-profits like Salvation Army and large church networks, to reinvigorate people’s lives and souls. In this episode, Oli…
 
What does healthy church leadership look like? In this episode, Oliver Hersey and Scot McKnight explore this question through the lens of good, or “tov” discipleship. He wrote A Church Called Tov: Forming a Goodness Culture That Resists Abuses of Power and Promotes Healing with his daughter, Laura Barringer. They saw mega-churches around them becom…
 
Can your faith become a habit in a spiritual wilderness? Jen Pollock Michel, author of A Habit Called Faith: 40 Days in the Bible to Find and Follow Jesus argues that faith is a vital spiritual practice in the Christian life. In this conversation, Oliver Hersey and Kelsey Bowse talk to her about faith and fasting in the sacred season of Lent. She s…
 
How do you know if you’re worshiping an idol? In this episode, Oliver Hersey and Dr. Christopher Wright, author of Here Are Your Gods: Faithful Discipleship in Idolatrous Times explore this question. Idols existed in ancient cultures, and now exist in a different form: as sports stadiums, national symbols, or even as political figures (the presiden…
 
How can you strengthen your marriage? Nicky Gumbel, Vicar at Holy Trinity Brompton (HTB) in London, England says “there’s no marriage that can’t be improved.” In this episode, Oliver Hersey and Kelsey Bowse discuss the joys and trials of marriage with Nicky. He’s also the pioneer of Alpha, a program that started in 1977 helps people explore questio…
 
How can you pique interest in small groups at your church? In this episode, Oliver Hersey and Bill Search explore what it takes to invite people into small groups in 2021. For people who aren’t backed by large small group ministries – Bill suggests blooming where you’re planted. You can start by faithfully leading until you see more fruitfulness an…
 
What is your ministry context for small groups? Depending on your church, and the cultural norms where you live, small groups will look different. In this episode, Oliver Hersey and Bill Search, contributors at smallgroups.com talk about types of small groups, and what elements make up a healthy small group. Bill said “Small groups, almost all of t…
 
What should the church look like today? Sean Brakey, Pastor and Elder at We Are Church argues that if you can run an Airbnb, you can probably run a church too. That’s why “simple gatherings,” the sixth core practice of We Are Church is so important for making disciples. This allows for laypeople to rise up, and serve in leadership roles. “We want t…
 
How can celebrating Advent shape our desires this year? In part two of this conversation, Oliver Hersey talks to Dr. Paul Gutacker, Executive Director of the Brazos Fellows. They explore how celebrating Advent can bring hope to the tense atmosphere of 2020. They also explore how millenials feel about church today, and what may draw them back into t…
 
How can you create a culture of discipleship at your church? Spoiler alert: you don't need a multi-million dollar budget to do it. In this episode, Oliver Hersey talks to Sean Brakey, Pastor and Elder at "We Are Church" in San Francisco, CA. He also serves as a Director for Crazy Love Ministries. They discuss Sean's journey from being a youth pasto…
 
How do you form lifelong habits of discipleship? Oliver Hersey explores this question with Dr. Paul Gutacker, Executive Director of the Brazos Fellows, a nine-month fellowship for college graduates in Waco, Texas who also also teaches history at Baylor University. They explore key habits of discipleship including theological training, spiritual dis…
 
How can you find peace in a world that feeds on fear? Singer and songwriter, Josh Garrels reflects on ways to find peace with our host, Oliver Hersey and guest co-host, Kelsey Bowse. He created the album Peace To All Who Enter Here, with classic hymns and worship songs in quarantine. His role models for peace are St. Francis of Assisi, founder of t…
 
How do make peace a reality in your life? Singer and songwriter, Josh Garrels reflects on the idea of peace with Host, Oliver Hersey and guest co-host, Kelsey Bowse. He created the album Peace To All Who Enter Here, with classic hymns and worship songs in quarantine. Lately, he's found peace in obscure places: in a car on a morning drive, in his ga…
 
How can you love your neighbor who is different than you? Oliver Hersey explores this question with Latasha Morrison, author of Be the Bridge: Pursuing God’s Heart for Racial Reconciliation, a New York Times best selling book. She is known for being a bridge builder, and is passionate about racial reconciliation. Latasha has equipped more than 1,00…
 
How can small group leaders combat Zoom fatigue? Oliver Hersey explores that question with Ryan Hartwig, Courtney Davis and Jason Sniff, authors of Leading Small Groups That Thrive: 5 Shift to Take Your Group to the Next Level. They gathered data from churches, to learn how much small groups impacted people's spiritual growth. Ryan offered creative…
 
How do we bring our emotions before the Lord? In this episode, singer and songwriter Sandra McCracken explores that question with our host, Oliver Hersey. They talk about Psalm 89, the inspiration for her new single “I Will Sing,” from the album Patient Kingdom, slated to release in October, 2020. The Psalms, and God’s steadfastness are resounding …
 
What role should worship and the Psalms play in discipleship? In this episode, singer and songwriter Sandra McCracken explores that question with our host, Oliver Hersey. They talk about her new album Patient Kingdom, slated to release in October, 2020. Her new single “I Will Sing,” is based on Psalm 89 which Sandra wrote with Leslie Jordan, who al…
 
How can small groups facilitate spiritual growth? Oliver Hersey explores that question with Ryan Hartwig, Courtney Davis and Jason Sniff, authors of Leading Small Groups That Thrive: 5 Shift to Take Your Group to the Next Level.. They gathered data from churches, to learn how much small groups impacted people's spiritual growth. For example, small …
 
How can ministry leaders create space for people to encounter Jesus? Oliver Hersey and Jeff Klein, outreach pastor from the Chicago area explore this question. It's all about people having memorable encounters with the person of Jesus. This helps pave the way for authentic spiritual growth in your family, ministry or church context. Jeff clears up …
 
What does it mean to be a disciple on mission? Oliver Hersey and Jeff Klein, Pastor of Outreach at Elmhurst Christian Reformed Church explore this question. Consider the triangle of discipleship which has three essential parts: up, in and out. Focusing "in" is often the easiest part of discipleship. But we have to go "out" in the world, to be on mi…
 
People sometimes get scared when they hear the “the D word.” In this episode, Oliver Hersey and Bill Search, smallgroups.com contributor define discipleship, tracing its origins to Jerome, an early church father who translated the Bible from Hebrew and Greek into Latin in 405. This is where the word “discipulus” emerged ⁠— the Latin word for discip…
 
Why is discipleship so important to the Christian faith? In this episode, our host Oliver Hersey and Bill Search, smallgroups.com contributor explore this question. 1 John 2:6 says “Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” Discipleship is about "walking the walk" by following Jesus's patterns and teachings. W…
 
Have you ever felt lost or like you're at a spiritual cross roads? Our guest, Leah Darrow, a former contestant on America's Next Top Model can relate with that. In this episode, Oliver Hersey and Kelsey Collister, who produces this podcast talk to her about her reversion to Christianity. It includes three key moments: making a hard decision as a fi…
 
What can we learn from the Samaritan Woman at the Well about being vulnerable? In this episode, Oliver Hersey is joined by Leah Darrow, author and international speaker, and Kelsey Collister, who produces this podcast. Leah reflects on John chapter four, where Jesus encounters the Woman at the Well. Leah points to vs. 4 “And he had to pass through …
 
Have you wondered what spiritual disciplines look like while you're sheltered in place? In this episode, podcast host Oliver Hersey, talks to Josh Stringer, Pastor of Discipleship at College Church and Eric Solomon, Pastoral Resident at College Church about how they're leaning into spiritual disciplines during this COVID-19 crisis. Learn more about…
 
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