I am in a men’s group that meets every two weeks. Actually I am two men’s groups, one meets every over Tuesday for breakfast. I have been in that group for almost 8 years. My other men’s group meets every other Saturday morning.
My Saturday morning group has been together for about 7 months. We had breakfast this morning and just talked and laughed. I really enjoy meeting with these guys. We are getting to know each other and have been praying for each other. I have already seen a change in a few of the guys and have built meaningful relationships with these five other guys.
As I think about the groups that I am in, I am thankful that I know these guys. I know that if I need help or am going through a rough time that all of these guys would be there for me. I try to do the same for them. That is what group life is about. It is building lasting friendships, encouraging each other, caring for each other, serving each other, having fun together and being available to support each other when needed.
I really look forward to my Tuesday mornings and Saturday mornings because of these guys. If you are not in a group I really encourage you to get connected in a group and give it a chance. Take the time to build relationships, it is worth it.
This Saturday marks the second month of Angel Food Ministries. Once again we will distribute frozen and non-perishable food to hundreds of people. The neat thing is anyone can participate. There is no minimum income levels, so anyone that wants to save some money can join in. I don’t know about you, but I like saving money.
For Vikki and I it has caused us to cook more meals at home, which means more leftovers for lunch and other meals. We all spend money on food every month, Angel Food allows you to save money, plan your meals and help the church. You help the church by ordering, because $1.00 from every order goes into our Helps Fund.
On Saturday night is Group Link. This is an environment for people wanting to check out or get into small groups here at NewPointe. We have around 100 people registered. After this weekend we should have close to 100 active small groups at NewPointe. That represents around 1,000 people in community.
Vikki and I are excited about starting our new group and adding a few new couples. Our small group has been a lot of fun over the last couple of years. We have developed friendships and grown relationally and spiritually.
I believe we are designed to be in community. When we are isolated just in our immediate family we don’t function like God designed us. We find it harder to trust people, to serve people and to love. You see, on our own we become an easy target for the enemy. We are isolated and can easily fall into sin, loneliness, depression and hopelessness. But if we are connected in a community where we build relationships, learn about the Bible, pray together, care for each other, have fun together and serve together, then we are stronger. It does not mean we won’t struggle or fall into temptation or hopelessness, but it means we don’t have to face that alone. We have friends that can pray for us, listen to us, help us and just be with us if needed.
If you are not in a small group, I encourage you to start to pray that God will provide a way for you to experience community. Pray that God will open an opportunity and then for courage to go ahead and jump in.
On Monday night my small group got together to help some ladies move. Carol and her mother Marie called the church looking for help to move from Sugarcreek to Walnut Creek. I checked with my small group and they all could make it on Monday night.
This is the third time we have helped someone move. We have also done numerous other serving projects together, such as drywalling, replacing windows, and other general repairs. Serving together has brought us closer together. Our group has been together for almost two years and we will be starting two groups in September. I am excited about meeting some new people and serving with them.
Helping Carol & Marie was very rewarding. Carol served in the military for 21 years, but was in an accident that caused her to not be able to continue. She moved here to take care of her mother. We showed up with four pickup trucks and started hauling things away. The neighbors even came out to see what was going on. The manager of the old apartment gave me her card and thanked me for helping out.
They were both very grateful for the help and Carol even made a donation to the church’s Helps fund. The reward you feel after helping someone in need is worth the effort of giving time and energy. The church is God’s plan to reach the world and show them His love. I hope we did that in a small way on Monday night.
Many of you have heard about Group Link. We do this event four times a year to help people connect in community. On Saturday night I went to Group Link as a small group leader(I am starting a new men’s group). It was a great experience for me and I think for the others attending as well. There were around 50 people there and we had a lot of fun. John Bunn and Celeste Honigford did a great job hosting. As I talked with the folks there I realized how much people desire to get connected and build friendships. I am reminded how much small groups have helped me in my spiritual journey. I have been in several men’s groups over the years and have made some great long lasting friendships. I am excited about the new friendships I will be developing this year with other men and other couples. I look forward to Sunday nights of hanging out with my couples group. We laugh a lot and eat together. We share stories about our lives, children, pets and jobs. It is so easy to get distracted and busy with our lives and forget about building community with other people. Some times it is difficult to have community within our own families. The question to ask is what is making us busy? We make time for what is important to us, and I have discovered that community is vitally important. When we isolate ourselves we tend to not grow. We also miss out on incredible ministry opportunities. It is amazing how God uses community to minister and care for people. That encouraging word, knowing someone cares and will listen and having people on your side is a tremendous advantage in this world we live in.
So if you have been thinking about getting connected in a small group I encourage you to take the risk, take the plunge and see how God will work in your life.