Sunday, November 16, 2008


Pushing the Limits at Fort Leavenworth

The small groups at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, are the stuff of legend. Every year, Tom Schmidt stands at the "Chapel" table in the processing lines to greet every new student at Command and General Staff College. He offers every one of these 1,000+ mid-career officers the opportunity to host a small-group Bible study as they enter their 10-month courses. Yes, every one. This leads to a lot of rejections, but enough of them say "yes" so that there are 40-50 small groups formed every year.

Tom has learned that you can do a lot with a little willingness to try. All he asks is that each one get a little bit of training and show a little initiative, and then let the Holy Spirit take over from there. Many (if not most) of his volunteers have virtually no experience leading small groups. Some aren't even Christians! But every year they see people come to Christ, deepen their commitments, refresh their marriages, and blossom into their God-given potential. Just by saying "yes" to Tom, and to God.

Because this is staff college, each year these officers graduate and go on to new assignments--many into combat zones. Tom holds "commissioning" ceremonies each year, where these officers are sent out, accepting the challenge to put what they learned at Fort Leavenworth into practice out in the "field", starting and leading new small groups all over the world.

So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.

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