The Value of Observing

By: Eddie Mosley

In my over 30 years of ministry, I have never read about the practice of observing.  It is something we probably do naturally in leadership without realizing it. For example, when eating lunch on Sunday afternoon you look at your spouse and ask, “Did you notice how Beth responded during the discussion on loving your boss as Jesus loves the church,” or on your drive home from your neighborhood small group and you ask, “Were you reading the body language of Steve when we were discussing failure?”
Observing is an important habit for sports, work, parenting, marriage, etc; but it is not a common topic written about or discussed in training. While some may consider it an art, it “is a community discipline that has a particular importance in small group life.”[1] In the middle of Biblical Foundations for Small Group Ministry by Gareth Weldon Icenogle I discovered an entire chapter on observing.
“When Jesus was with the Twelve, he was deeply aware of their feelings, moods, reactions and intentions.”[2] Jesus used his observations to enhance his teaching, coaching, confronting and guiding.
In order to communicate truth in a life-altering, applicable way (goal of biblical community) we as teachers and leaders should be aware of what is going on in the lives and minds of our group members during group time. By noting what is happening in the group’s life, interpreting what this behavior means, and making needed changes “on the spot” to improve our success in communicating the truth.
“Israel wandered in the wilderness for forty years because the people refused to become self-aware of their dysfunctional group dynamics.” Life transformational teaching is more than information distribution in one- or two-hour time blocks. Because of the limited amount of time we have in groups we must be more aware of what is happening in people’s lives; that requires extra effort during the week to communicate, listen, grab coffee, play golf, shop, etc. in order to observe.
Be encouraged to observe more intentionally and intently this week. Give group members time to talk, discuss and ponder the scriptures and principles. Pause during Bible study and let the Holy Spirit show you what is happening in the room. Pray for spiritual discernment on how to lead with what you have observed.

[1] Icenogle, Gareth Weldon, Biblical Foundations for Small Group Ministry, (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1994), 186-197
[2] All quotes are from the above text.


  • don’t forget to email us pics from your group activities, events, and study

  • continue to pray for your lost and searching friends, neighbors, and co-workers

Who is Eddie Mosley? Part 3

By Eddie Mosley

Groups are a primary vehicle for Gospel Transformation in the lives of our people. We want people to be changed by Jesus and use groups to do that. (Acts 2:42ff.) How have you been changed by Jesus and how have you seen others changed by Jesus?
Being changed by Jesus is a life-long process. Just about the time we think we have it together, He shows us something new that He is working on. The process of being changed by Jesus (Discipleship), I believe, begins with a conversation as we share our lives and stories with others through neighborhood, passions, work, or interests. These conversations allow us the opportunity to build relationships; through those relationships, as they deepen, transparency happens as we begin to reveal more about ourselves in a community of one person, three people, or ten people. And I think that’s where discipleship happens, when we build this sort of transparency through relationships which began with a conversation.
I have a story in my life of my neighbor who was a good guy, but he didn’t know Christ as his personal Savior, nor did his wife. They’re a little bit older than I am but I continued to invest in them, almost daily, over our back fence as we chatted about grilling, swimming pools, or mowing the yard. We would do BBQs together and have conversations about what we did for a living, our hobbies and interests. Over a matter of 3-4 years of investing and building relationship through a lot of conversations, he began to share some personal things that I was able to pray for, and I was able to share with him some of the things from my life journey. I think the discipleship that happened in my life over those years was to be more patient and to celebrate the little steps I saw him taking toward Christ.
We were finally able to get him and his wife to come to our small group. The first couple of times, they were hesitant to speak. They didn’t have relationships with people in our group; therefore, the transparency was not going to happen. But I think some discipleship happened as other people shared their stories and their journeys. Over a matter of a few years they gave their lives to Christ and I had the pleasure of baptizing both of them as our group celebrated together.
The discipleship continued as they continued to come to group and I shared the load of leadership by asking them to help lead parts of the group meetings. Over time they even led the Bible study in our group. And then came the perfect storm: they were excited about the group, had experience in leading Bible study, and I had to step out due to a surgery.  The group never missed a beat. This couple, with the help of others in the group, made sure the Bible study and community did not suffer due to my absence.
There are a lot of years in this story of being changed by Jesus for this particular couple in my life. But through those years of having a conversation, building a relationship, being transparent as I allowed others to be transparent without being judgmental, I had the pleasure of seeing two adults believe and follow Jesus, be changed by Jesus, and then see them live on mission with Jesus.
I look forward to seeing this experience continuing to be lived out and multiplied exponentially in all the Brentwood LIFE Groups and hear individual stories of God’s transformation coming in people’s lives.

Eddie Mosley is the Adult Minister–Groups, Brentwood Campus, Brentwood Baptist Church.