Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Why I love, love, love small groups

For those of you who aren't familiar with our church, North Point Community Church, one of the church's number one goals (besides the obvious mission statement to lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ) is to get its members/attenders into small groups. See, when you go to a church as big as ours, it is easy to be as anonymous as you want. But, life change doesn't really occur as easily with anonymity. So, we form small groups. Official definition of a small group is a group of 6-8 individuals or 5-7 couples who meet together once a week to do Bible study and share their lives. The groups last 18 months-2 years and then divide to create more groups. The goal is to multiply constantly.

In reality, a small group becomes so much more. Since Thomas and I married 6 years ago, we have never not been in a small group. Or we've always been in a small group. However you say it, the fact is small group is a huge part of our marriage and the success of our relationship and family.

When Thomas and I returned from Jamaica we were fairly isolated. We had deteriorated relationships with family here, no strong friendships, and no real involvement in church. We had allowed ourselves to become an island and we knew that was not how we wanted to start our life together. So, our first Sunday back we went to church. Of course, we were the only ones there because we'd forgotten North Point doesn't hold services the 1st Sunday after Christmas, but the next week we came back and got started in a engaged/newlyweds group. Within a month we had joined a small group. And, unbelievably, the relationships we formed in that first year and in that first small group are some of our strongest relationships that we have with friends today. Since then we've been in several more small groups meeting awesome people and having the privilege to be a part of their lives.

Our current small group is no exception and maybe it is because of our age or stage of life, but we've had more go on in this group to bring us together than any other group we've been in. There have been the loss of jobs and loved ones. There have been new careers begun and new lives added to families throughout this group.

This past week as we've suffered our own loss in our family, we've been amazingly blessed by friends from small groups past and present. We've had love and generosity and prayer poured out on us from friends in ways we never could have predicted. It is wonderful to have friends who are there for you when the bottom drops out of your world.

I was talking to our small group coach this past week and was able to tell him how blessed we'd been by friends from both our first ever small group and our most recent small group. If I could give people just one bit of advice I would say join a small group, grow with people, and allow others to share your ups and downs. There are always other things to do and reasons not to make time to meet weekly with a group of men and women who also have a thousand things going on. But, the truth is, when something happens, good or bad, you'll be thankful you made the effort to "do life" with others. I know we are...

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