Elisabeth and I experienced what we are sure is a new season of blessing last night. For the last few months our church has prepared to launch small groups (connection groups). Last night we began this journey with three other couples.
For so many years Elisabeth and I have experienced small groups in a different way. As a Youth Pastor I always had a small group of young men that I was leading (and often Elisabeth had a group of gals). We are both gifted in leadership in this style of small group (discipling a group for years). The other small groups we have been a part of/led have always been as a part of the launch of a new ministry and not necessarily for the true purpose of small group. We launched the “youth marrieds” in one church, simply because we needed fellowship with people in our age/stage in life. This was truly a blessing, but seriously, getting a bunch of young marrieds together with no mentoring is sort of like asking a bunch of four year olds together and tell them to learn to drive…with no adult help. Though the group did provide great fellowship, wisdom may not have been at a premium?
In a couple churches we began the “college/career” ministry through leading a small group as well. These were great, we were the mentors in these groups and though it did provide some fellowship, more often than not we were called upon to lead and not receive.
Well, last night, we gathered with these three other couples… two couples in the group are in the “next stage” of life from us (they have grown kids and both couples are in at least their late 40’s to mid 50’s) and then the third couple (besides us) is in a similar stage to us (mid to late 30’s I’d guess… yep, I didn’t ask, see I have matured). This couple has one young son as well.
What a blessing it is to be a part of a group where the focus is going to be fellowship and Biblical application. We are certainly going to be in the Word, but more in response to the teaching of the previous Sunday and how we have interacted with those passages. Our focus will be in prayer, accountability, application and loving God and each other well. I’m excited how this plays out and how we “do life” together!
A really cool and appropriately challenging goal of ours is to be purposeful in splitting the group next season (we don’t know when that will be, but we think 12-18 months). We want to see growth in the group and get to the point where our group must become two! May we love so well that we understand that this is needed and may we never settle on being a holy huddle!
I’m excited for this new season and am very much looking forward to growing close to these three other couples (and the new folk who will certainly join us in the months to come).