Here is a little known secret about me: I don’t attend a LIFEgroup. What is a LIFEgroup? Well it is what we call our church small groups/community groups/whatever rad term your hip church culture uses. For us, our mission in everything we do is about giving life to others. Pointing others to Jesus in a one time deal is super cool, but we value walking through the other days in a person’s life as well. We are in this thing together and we strive to point people to Jesus beyond that one salvation moment/baptism. It is a lifetime journey.
To do life together we have LIFEgroups that meet throughout the week and are composed of like people in each group. They do a bible study or work through passages of scripture together every week.
Almost two years ago a group started for young adults. I went to the group expecting it to be another thing on my busy schedule. But I was wrong. I didn’t just find an additional line for my planner. I found community and friendship. We’re a group of women in varying stages of life- some married, some single- with different careers- college students, grant writers, teachers. But we are unified in our pursuit to know God and have a relationship with Him. I expected to survive a study with them, but I never expected to so enjoy their company. Over time we’ve grown to a place that these are the women you turn to in crisis and when life gets hard.
Last week a friend of mine died after battling cancer, my sister had the flu, and a family member was in the hospital undergoing testing. I never doubted for a moment or worried over who I would turn to for prayer. The women in my LIFEgroup immediately responded with such love and encouragement. All together our group is walking through family members battling cancer or disease, job changes, and sickness, but we are walking through it together. As we met tonight I couldn’t help but think about why I love and value each of these women. Watching them walk through their calling as Christian wives, singles, career professionals, and college students. I admire each of them for their strength, grit and determination, sense of humor, wisdom, and their love for the Lord. Truth is, we are all very different, but we all line up in our pursuit for a real relationship with a God who loves us.
So no, I don’t attend a LIFEgroup. I’m not a bystander of a LIFEgroup. I am part of a LIFEgroup. I am a participant in a LIFEgroup. I am a member of a LIFEgroup. I belong to a community of people who do life together. They are my friends, my people, and we are in each other’s corner.
Please don’t hide from the life-giving change to grow with other people. You weren’t meant to do life alone. Here’s three pieces of advice from my experience:
- Show up. It’s okay to be nervous and be new, but you won’t ever belong if you don’t show up first. So be there. Think of it as a gym membership for your spirit. You gotta go in a sign up and then start working out.
- Say something. Let the people in your group get to know you. They don’t have to see the skeletons just yet, but maybe try adding to the conversation around you. You won’t feel like a member unless you engage. That spirit gym you joined? Well, you just started to get to know the people exercising around you. Maybe y’all will do a Zumba class together!
- Be open. Now that you’ve said something you’ve got to keep showing up and talking. Soon you’ll find out that you have things in common with these people. Spirit gym: you’re a walking advertisement for this facility. Look at the results of all you’ve achieved!