C.O.P. stands for Communities of Purpose. These are peer-to-peer learning groups made up of small group point people who have either read Steve Gladen’s book “Planning Small Groups with Purpose” or attended an “Accelerate!” small group workshop. Members of a C.O.P. gather monthly & can meet either virtually or physically for fellowship, to share ideas and for accountability in executing their small group ministry planner taken from the book or the “Accelerate!” workshop!
As a small group point person it is easy to become isolated and stand alone. Connecting regularly with a C.O.P. will keep you encouraged, focused and accountable to follow through! Your colleagues will also be there to help you stay upright through the rogue winds and storms of ministry when you face challenges, discouragement or the devil trying to toss you around. Pastor Rick says, "I grew up in northern California near the giant redwoods. Redwood trees have shallow roots. They withstand the wind by intertwining roots and holding each other up. What a perfect picture of fellowship! We spread out, we intertwine, and we hold each other up. This is what a C.O.P. can do for you!"
Following is a powerful story from Brian Naess and Steve Curran explaining how their Community of Purpose impacted their lives and ministries. First, from Brian, Pastor of Outreach and Assimilation at Violet Baptist Church in Violet, Ohio:
“One of the most valuable parts of the “Accelerate!” conference is connecting with accountability groups [C.O.P.]. We commit to meeting once a month for a year. These times have been invaluable for me to carry out what I learned. Even more than that, I have gained an incredible friend, Steve Curran, from Georgia of all places, to do ministry together. We have just completed our year commitment and have decided to continue meeting."
From Steve, Life Groups Team Leader at Compassion Christian Church in Savanah, Georgia:
"I have been in a small group ministry for a number of years and had a ministry plan firmly in place. I came away from “Accelerate!” with new clarity of vision for small groups at my church. Every bit of that was worth the trip, but the added and unexpected bonuses are the new relationships. We were each paired with an accountability partner [in a C.O.P.], and we committed to praying for and remaining in contact with that person on a monthly basis. My partner Brian Naess, is an incredible encourager, a great sounding board, and a godly man who has become a true friend. Although Brian and I have passed our one-year mark, we still talk every month. He has helped me stay the course and run my race well. The practical tools from “Accelerate!,” as well as my friendship with Brian, have really accelerated my ministry."