Here’s a great story from an I am Second Expedition.
“Our team gathered in a home in rural India. We first shared about Malaria using the MalariaCube, and then split the group to do Second groups. One went to the back of the house and the people that remained in my group were four old women, none of whom could read. One of the young girls that could read translated and also participated.
“As I looked around the room, I thought to myself that maybe we should just find another house and a younger audience, as obviously these four “old women” wouldn’t understand. Because they were hard working women, we read the story of Martha and Mary. The four chatted among themselves and didn’t seem to be paying attention. I began feeling this effort was in vain. Each time as we asked follow-up questions about the story, the women chatted with each other – and chatted – and chatted. Oh boy – why bother?
“Despite my expectations, when we asked the old women how they would share what they’d learned, they responded that they had plenty of opportunities to connect with others while working in the field. Because they couldn’t read, I figured they’d only be able to tell part of story, and probably only once. That’s where I had it all wrong.
“The group hushed as one woman,(I call her and “Indian Martha,”) recounted the Bible story in great detail, adapting for their culture where appropriate and applying the story to their real lives. They may not read, but they had amazing listening and memory skills! It turns out all the chatter was simply them having discussions about the scripture, and there was no need to include me. WOW!
“God once again was glorified as He showed our team that the same Holy Spirit that lives in us, lives in each of these old women. I learned (again) to never underestimate the power of the Holy Spirit!” – Mary W.
“Pastor Gireesh was skeptical. Since he had never used I am Second methods before our team arrived, he wondered if it would work in the the villages there in India. But soon his doubt turned to delight!
“Each morning, our e3 Partners Expedition members, local believers, and interpreters met Pastor Pastor Gireesh and his wife, Shobha, along with their two sons, Aaron (14) and Asher (10), to participate in a Second group before we headed out for the day. I was on a team with 10-year old Asher. One day, when it came time for “Live and Tell,” Asher spoke up confidently announcing, “I am going to tell my friend about Jesus. I will use my mom’s phone and call him tonight.”
“The next morning, 10 year-old Asher led our I am Second group. After everyone finished sharing how they had lived out the commitments made the previous day, I asked Asher if he had called his friend. He boldy answered, “Yes! I called my friend and told him about Jesus.” Afterwards, the friend’s father got on the phone and thanked Asher for telling his son about Jesus – and asked for directions to their church. That Sunday, Asher’s friend came to church with his father and mother. All three prayed to receive Jesus that day! The father told Pastor Gireesh that he had long wanted to come to a church, but wasn’t sure how to go about it.
“Asher was obedient and kept his commitment. God was gracious and gave Pastor Gireesh a new family of believers to shepherd!
“Pastor Gireesh gushed about the spiritual growth of his own family as well, during the e3 expeditions and I am Second group meetings. He quoted Joshua 24:15 several times, ‘But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.’
“May we all be as faithful and bold as young Asher!”
Report from Daniel, a youth pastor in Little Elm, Texas.
When I was first asked to take over the student ministry in my church, our Senior Pastor told me “When the youth get activated, the whole church will get activated.” I didn’t completely understand how true that statement was until a couple of weeks ago.
In December 2011 we launched our first I am Second youth group. It didn’t take long for our students to get behind the groups. A few weeks after our first group launched, six students told me they wanted to take I am Second into their public schools. So in early 2012 we launched I am Second in our local Junior High and High School. Soon 35 new students had joined those school groups.
We now have 8 groups. Each group caters to different types of people. About 30 kids have joined our youth group because of groups our students are doing outside the church.
One group amazes me because they consistently have over 25 kids attending each week. This group has inspired the parents to get involved. Each week 4-6 of the parents team up to host the group and provide dinner.
The whole church is getting behind these youth groups. For example, the parents are wearing I am Second bracelets and t-shirts. Their impact is spreading, too, for now we are finalizing a strategy to launch I am Second groups for the men’s and women’s ministries. Several new families have come to our church because their kids started coming to one of the Second groups.
After we train more leaders, we plan to expand the groups in the schools. The schools have given us permission to put up banners during lunch to get more exposure for the Second groups. So we’ll have an official launch soon when these new leaders are ready.
There is nothing more powerful than young people passionately telling others about what Jesus has done in their lives. Our Pastor was right. “When the youth get activated, the whole church will get activated.”
Chaplain Albert started an I am Second group in one of the pods (dorm rooms) at the Dawson State Jail in downtown Dallas, Texas. We were privileged and inspired to join them as he presented certificates to more than 25 brothers in Christ who had participated in 10 group sessions. In his humble orange jumper, one young inmate revealed, “Finally, I have something that my kids can be proud of their Dad for.” Tears welled in his eyes and his voice cracked with emotion. Hard time. Hard life. Hardened hearts penetrated by the grace of God.
Prison missionaries? Yes! Each is challenged to start their own I am Second groups as they are moved to other pods, and some to other prisons around Texas. The Spirit of the Lord will not be kept outside walls made by men. Pray for God to “grow them in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man.” (Luke 2:52)
My I am Second journey began at a NASCAR event. A big billboard truck with a T.V. screen was playing I am second films. Amidst the high-octane excitement they caught my attention and made my heart race for the Lord. I picked up some of the literature there and passed it along to my friends. Then, this past summer our church’s youth group went to camp where they too were introduced to I am Second. God was up to something.
Unexpectedly, I was laid off from my work as a millwork superintendent. I was praying that God would show me the green light to do what was next for me. That’s when I found the online group leader training for I am Second groups on the website and signed up. We had a great teacher and group of people in our sessions. The highlight for me was the “Live and Tell” at the end of each session. I was so supercharged when we went through the “My village” session that I made a list of 50 people that need Jesus. Actually, I talked to 66 people that week. If I was working, I’d never have had the time. Go God Go!
Earlier this year we started an I am Second group that kicked into overdrive and split into two groups by the third week. We invited the leaders of a teen and young adult bible study to our group and they caught on to the movement immediately. Now they lead a small army of young adults, as many as 45 people from high school age to their early 20’s, at a local fish camp. They’re identifying leaders to branch off and lay the track for more small groups. Go God Go!
God took the challenge of my job layoff and turned it into fuel for His race to the kingdom of Christ.
– Chris P.
Get Connected. I am Second small groups are designed to connect people with one another and with God through an authentic, action based discussion group. In an I am Second group you’ll be encouraged to discover your purpose in life through Jesus.
Newlyweds Sarah and Hugo attended Bible college together in Argentina. There, they learned of God’s love and character, growing closer to Him and to each other. With passion for the Lord and reaching others for Christ, the Liborio family became missionaries abroad in the Dominican Republic.
Hugo found the I am Second movement to be a powerful tool for sharing his faith and wore the wristband everyday. Though a young and healthy man, while home on leave he suffered an aneurysm during a pickup basketball game.
Unconscious and in critical condition, his wife fished out a simple black bracelet beneath the many hospital bands on Hugo’s wrist. In white writing was his lasting statement: “I am Second.” Wrought with grief Sarah thought,“maybe it was God speaking to me in a voice that I could be comforted by.” As her husband’s earthly body slipped away, she felt him reassure her, “If God needs my life… it’s O.K. because I am Second.”
The inside of Hugo’s wedding band is engraved with “I am Second.” Today Sarah shares what she calls “the I am Second night I had with Hugo.” Her loss becomes a legacy of gain as Jesus Christ is glorified and others are inspired to share, to connect – to become Second.
As she says, “No matter what the cost, I will serve God.”
In life, the One who is First gives purpose. In death, the One who is First gives comfort.
Sarah and Hugo’s story and his legacy of Second is celebrated in her book and website.
I am Second’s simple and powerful ministry is spreading like wildfire all over the world. Sam, an I am Second Expedition leader, takes us to Ruminahui, Ecuador, where he saw a shopkeeper’s life change right before his eyes:
“I went out with the medical missions team our first day of ministry. After caring daylong for people’s physical needs, dozens returned in the evening for a Yo Soy Segundo (I am Second) group. We circled up and began with the Bible story about Zacchaeus. The audience listened intently and responded well to the six discussion questions in the I am Second materials. When we inquired, ‘how will you apply what you have learned?’ one lady timidly raised her hand. This is her story.
‘I have a small store in my house. I sell eggs, rice, beans and things like that. Some people I don’t like. I am embarrassed to admit this but I sometimes put my finger on the scale. That way they don’t get a full measure. I am so ashamed. I am no better than the man in this story, Zacchaeus. I want God to forgive me and I want to go and find these people to tell them what I have done. The next time they come I will give them more than they pay for.’
She cried through her testimony, as did we. This new sister in Christ truly understood this simple biblical example of Jesus’ love and forgiveness and understood how to apply it in her life.”
Want to see life change in your friends and family like this? No matter what part of the country (or the world) you are in, we’re here to help you! Check out our online training and learn how easy it is to lead a Second group. Click here for more info.
If you’re signed up for our monthly newsletters or check the facebook page with any regularity you’ve no doubt heard about I Am Second Lead Labs. You probably understand the general idea- learn how to lead an I Am Second small group.
So what’s the big deal. There are tons of resources you can access to learn how to be a leader. What’s the difference?
Here’s the deal: Lead Labs are the the training that turns I Am Second from “cool” to “tool.” Because they’re so different from your typical Bible study, you really can’t grasp it until you’re a part of one. And really, not until you’re a part of one that’s being led using the Discuss and Discover model. This is where a Lead Lab comes in.
You get to experience exactly what a group should be like- discussion based, Bible focused, and with commitments to change the way you’re living or thinking and to pass on what you’ve learned to someone else. Once you’ve been a part of one during the Lead Lab, you’ll know exactly what your or your church’s groups need to look like in order to maximize reproducibility. Read what Tom Bassford, an I Am Second city leader, had to say:
The Lead Lab is an invaluable part of the I am Second effort in a city. They do a great job of describing the scope of I Am Second and most importantly, demonstrating how churches and individuals can use it as an effective TOOL to share Christ with others.
You’ll spend about four hours learning the reasons behind the leadership style and how to best help people come to an understanding of Biblical truths by looking at Scripture together. You’ll find out why it’s vitaly important to make some kind of measurable application during each group meeting and how group members can begin discipling others immediately when they’re sharing what they’ve just learned. And maybe more importantly, why it’s vital that the group hold itself accountable to its individual commitments. It really is a revolutionary way of looking at small groups. Lead Labs are going on all across the country.
Upcoming Lead Labs:
Apr 29-30 in Tyler, TX (time TBD).
May 15 in Charlotte, NC from 3-8pm (dinner included).
If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the review the I Am Second small group materials received over at SimpleChurch Journal. They have a great blog about living missionally and how the church can benefit from getting down to the basics.
Here are some excerpts:
They incorporate many of the principles that we have found key to starting healthy groups that can reach out to others to start new groups.
New believers are encouraged immediately to begin praying for their “village,” or sphere of influence, and to reach out with compassion towards them.
We appreciate the encouragement and are glad to be working toward the same goals. Be sure to share your experience with the I Am Second small group materials on their blog and here for that matter! What’s your experience been?
With the Super Bowl just around the corner, we’ve got a great opportunity to reach out to our friends and neighbors! To help connect people to a meaningful community where Jesus will be shared, we have some resources available at I Am Second that could be just what you need. Get people together to watch the Super Bowl and find out who is interested in spiritual things. Use our Kickoff Event Planner to plan the party as well as the follow-up after the party. These free tools are available at www.iamsecond.com/kickoff.
The new “Champions” discussion guide and DVD will be coming out soon! This is going to be a great tool for sports enthusiasts or FCA groups. Talk about great athlete’s stories like Sam Bradford, Josh Hamilton, or Tony Dungy and learn about true success. Go deeper by using the “Film Discussion Guide”- an evangelistic Bible study designed to facilitate discussions about the Gospel and its relevance. Use “What’s First” to learn how to identify people in your sphere of influence and how to share your own story with them. Watch a training film to learn more about using these resources at http://www.iamsecond.com/groups. At I Am Second, we want to equip you to share your faith and bring hope to those around you!