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Can a Small Group Use Facebook?

TwelveYes, in plenty of ways, but I’ve outlined eight of them in an article published on the Twelve blog, a site dedicated to an upcoming conference at which I’ll be speaking on a similar subject.

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The Fine Line Between Fear and Fun

Fear and FunMy wife headed for Vegas this past weekend, so I took a day off and headed with the kids over to our pool. I put my one-year-old son, Sam, in his frog suit and held him in the rather cold water. He had a blast, but whenever I would move around much or hold him away from me, he would get this great look on his face expressing two seemingly exclusive thoughts…

  1. I am so scared!
  2. This is so much fun!

Ever been there? That place where fear intermingles with fun is the reason we invented roller coasters, bungee jumping, and buffalo wings.

We’re just eight weeks from relocating to plant Grace Hills Church, and right now, I feel like we’re inching toward the border of fear and fun. How are we going to make it? What if people don’t come? What if this doesn’t work? Those are scary thoughts.

But we’re also having fun. We’re planning, praying, and dreaming about all the lives we hope to see changed by the gospel, which never gets old and never stops being fun.

The Scriptures are clear that we are to “fear not,” so I’m not saying being afraid of the unknown is a good thing. But I also want to say that at the border of fear and fun, God can often be found waiting on us to take the leap into the dark to test and prove His faithfulness.

Scared yet? Having fun yet? Good. Maybe this is just the place where God wants to rock your world in ways you never imagined!

photo source

Grace Hills Church Is Alive On the Web

And later this year, will be alive in the sense of a community of people gathering together to discover and deepen our relationship with Jesus. Someday, perhaps we’ll meet in some kind of building. But I’m far more concerned that we are actively and visibly present in the community to which God has called us to serve, being the church to northwest Arkansas. is now live, and will be tweaked, expanded, and redesigned many times over in the months and years to come. Take a peek…
Grace Hills Church, Bentonville, Northwest Arkansas

The site is built on WordPress. The design is a customized version of the Quantum theme, from ThemeTrust. We’re using MailChimp for email distribution, integrated with Gravity Forms for integration of email subscriptions with contact forms. Another must have is Yoast’s SEO plugin.

My goal is to produce a site that is easily integrated with social networks without being over-the-top, optimized for local keywords (which I’ll do more of later), and which serves as a simple, two-way communication device. Any feedback?

You Need to Know Mark Howell

Mark Howell

I once had a tradition of telling you whom you should know – leaders from whom I’m learning – and I’m reviving that practice today by recommending Mark Howell. Mark is one of our community contributors and I asked him to become one on the basis of his practical and helpful insights, plus a good recommendation from a few of our Small Groups Pastors at Saddleback.

I’m paying close attention to what Mark is writing and doing because I’m about to launch a church and small groups are probably the area where I need the most help. In Mark’s own words…

My name is Mark Howell and I’m the guy behind, and@markchowell.

I’m the the founder of, offering consulting and coaching services that help churches across North America launch, build and sustain healthy small group ministries.  I’m also the Community Life Pastor at Parkview Christian Church in Orland Park, Illinois (one of the 50 fastest growing churches for 7 of the last 8 years).

With over 25 years in ministry, I’ve served in a number of roles. In addition to planting a church, I’ve also served as an Associate Pastor on several teams and Small Group Pastor atWoodlands Church and Lake Avenue Church. With four years on the consulting staff atLifetogether and three more on my own, I’ve had the privilege of jump-starting, overhauling and fine-tuning ministries around the country. As a host and teacher for several 40 Days of Purpose Campaign Coaching initiatives with Purpose Driven I’ve had the opportunity to guide hundreds of churches through the church-wide campaign process.

I’m also a writer, contributing to the Pastor’s Ministry ToolboxSmallGroups.comSmall Group Trader and and blogging regularly at on a variety of topics including church growth, strategic development, leadership, alignment, and innovation.


If you’re looking to grow as a leader, a small group host, or a Pastor, follow Mark’s work!

Instagram Makes Photos Older and Better

Photos are fun. And they’re even more fun when you’re using the app for iphone. Here are a few recent snaps I’ve made and tweaked…