教會的 Taste of Small Groups 四週的課程中，當牧師問誰想要當 small group leader ，可以到她那報名先拿訓練手冊回家研讀，之後牧師個別安排 interview 時間，再決定是否接受申請。據我所知教會在全美最有知名的就是 Leadership ，為什麼一個35年歷史的教會，可以躍升到全美前幾名數一數二的知名大教會，是其來有自的。
今年轉到新教會，從不認識任何人開始，參加教會的上課訓練、變成教會的member、進而做教會服事、接受small group leader 訓練，這些過程都是環環相扣、缺一不可，有如一顆小種子從發芽到生根、一路很快的成長，沒浪費時間去等待什麼。
拿到二本訓練教材~ Leading Life-Changing Small Groups、Making Small Groups Work和一片 The Global Leadership Summit 2001 John Ortberg 演講 Relational Intelligence CD，牧師說這片CD約 40 分鐘可以重覆聽很多次，John 講的很好笑，內容大概是做一個領導人必須知道的，如多聽少講等，每次在開車的時候聽都有不同的感受。等到讀完這些教材，還有上課及聚會可以幫助我繼續成長。
除了單身團契，到現在還不明白神的旨意，絕大部份都是離婚的“單身”人士參加，整個團契變成離婚後心理諮商診療室，團契 Leader 自己也離婚不久變成單親爸爸，自己帶一個小女兒，當然不覺得離婚這些話題可能不太適合在團契永無止盡的討論下去，組員有70%的時間都在談論前妻、前夫、小孩的教養，而不是將重點放在聖經研讀，讓組員更能得著神的話語及成長，以上這些現象讓我感到很無力。
John Ortberg 演講中有個故事，讓我深受感動，在網路上也找到這篇文章，原始作者查不出來。是的，我會保留我的叉子，因為最好的還沒出現。
KEEP YOUR FORK
There was a woman who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and had been given three months to live.
So as she was getting her things “in order", she contacted her pastor and had him come to her house to discuss certain aspects of her final wishes.
She told him which songs she wanted sung at the service, what scriptures she would like read, and what outfit she wanted to be buried in.
The woman also requested to be buried with her favorite Bible. Everything was in order and the pastor was preparing to leave when the woman suddenly remembered something very important to her.
“There’s one more thing," she said excitedly.
“What’s that?"came the pastor’s reply.
“This is very important," the woman continued. “I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand."
The pastor stood looking at the woman, not knowing quite what to say.
“That surprises you, doesn’t it?" the woman asked.
“Well, to be honest, I’m puzzled by the request," said the pastor.
The woman explained. “In all my years of attending church socials and potluck dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say, ‘Keep your fork.’ It was my favorite part because I knew that something better was coming…like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie. Something wonderful, and with substance!"
“So, I just want people to see me there in the casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder, “What’s with the fork?"
Then, I want you to tell them:
“Keep your fork….The best is yet to come". The pastor’s eyes welled up with tears of joy as he hugged the woman good-bye.
He knew this would be one of the last times he would see her before her death. But he also knew that the woman had a better grasp of heaven than he did.
She KNEW that something better was coming. At the funeral people were walking by the woman’s casket and they saw the pretty dress she was wearing and her favorite Bible and the fork placed in her right hand.
Over and over, the pastor heard the question,
“What’s with the fork?"
And over and over he smiled.
During his message, the pastor told the people of the conversation he had with the woman shortly before she died.
He also told them about the fork and about what it symbolized to her. The pastor told the people how he could not stop thinking about the fork and told them that they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it either.
He was right.
So the next time you reach down for your fork, let it remind you oh so gently, that the best is yet to come.