Brothers and Sisters, I wanted to pass along to you some of my observations of our recent small group leaders meeting. The Leadership Team encourages everyone in the community to participate in small relational group that “fits” into the parameters of our lives. Different needs—different groups For example, many folks come to the Lucchetti/Flanagan home meeting because it meets on Sundays, 4:00 - 5:30 PM when we don’t have our regular prayer meeting. Maybe this works for us because most of us are on the older side, making this easy to remember! And there is a convenience factor too - no additional night out.
The small group leaders have agreed to meet twice per year, to check in with one another, to share what’s happening in their group and to learn from each other. What impressed me during our recent meeting was the variety of group activities, and the number of folks who participate.
For example, there’s a men’s group that is into biking, as in bicycling! Most of the brothers enjoy biking, even occasionally allowing their wives to come along! Being together for over five years, they not only relate well together, and find friendship and support in their relationships but also regularly pray for each other, covering work challenges, personal issues and home front concerns.
Then there is a group for those who have overcome various addictive behaviors; this group keeps the focus on Christ and loving one another, providing support to stay free.
There are groups for parents, supporting one another in their parenting venture, and addressing those with special relational challenges on the home front.
There’s a women’s tea gathering, where in addition to their tea together, they look to invite others into their circle to offer mutual support and care for them. Anybody for some tea?
Then there are those who meet early Friday morning at the Community Office, to pray and to study the Word together.
The group that meets at my home worships together; we keep in touch with each other for prayer as well as any practical needs that we can meet. We also usually have some study focus. For example, we are now beginning Neal Lozano’s The Older Brother Returns. By the way, we will be meeting at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church on Washtenaw for the winter season. This provides us easy same-floor access with always a shoveled parking lot.
There are one or two other small groups. Overall, I was impressed with the diversity and scope of our small groups, how each serves the needs of its members. They are elements of vitality and joy, and a brotherhood and sisterhood supporting our life in Christ together. I am thankful for this element of our community life.
Improving ’calamity-resistance’ In light of the recent prophetic words about coming calamities and darkness, I think it wise we stay connected with each other. There are any number of personal and wider national events that we will better face when we are in supportive relationships rather than on our own.
In tough times, I think we will all find it helpful to become a little closer with a little more time on our knees as we are reminded how we need the Lord, and that He alone is our refuge and strength. I think our recent Prayer Conference was just in time with its intercession focus! Certainly the Scriptures encourage this too. I am reminded of Acts 2.42: And they devoted themselves to the prayers, the breaking of the bread, to the teaching and to the fellowship! Hasn’t the Lord provided well for us?
When the Lord was speaking to us about coming calamities, He also spoke to us about keeping our eyes fixed on Him, living our lives authentically for Jesus, and loving God and neighbor. Our small groups can help us to do just that!
Widening our hearts A final mark of our small groups is their openness. We want to keep them open to new members as much as possible. If you would like to learn more about small groups, or if you think you’d like to join one, give Phil a call at the Community Office.
We recently celebrated our 41st Anniversary together. We read the community’s Covenant. And we were reminded to “...not neglect to meet together...” (Heb. 10.25). Brothers and Sisters, God intended these elements of our life to enable and empower us to walk with Him faithfully. I would like to invite any not engaged in a small group to do so.
Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His steadfast love endures forever!