Connection and Queso: The true value of joining a small group
Small Group Launch
September 24 | Great Hall | 7:00 pm
The Small Group Launch is an opportunity for you to find your people! This big church feels much smaller when we are truly known by a few. On this night you will meet your new small group and hear from our GroupLife team on what it means to be in a small group and how the church wants to support you as you grow in community with others.
In September 2018, I was nervous and excited to meet with my new small group. I brought chips and queso from Diggs. I figured if you bring food with you, it would make a meeting seem warmer.
Not a single person touched my chips and queso.
As we sat in a formal circle with our brand new small group curriculum made by HPUMC, we slowly went around telling bits and pieces about our lives. It was stiff. Truthfully, it was awkward for the first few meetings until the middle of the curriculum on “share your story” night. None of us had prepared to share anything and just hoped someone would start.
Thankfully someone did.
Someone spoke up and gave us their real story. Not a story about all of their highlight moments, but a story filled with great moments and heartbreaking ones. Then another person shared. Then another. We started to bond over things other than where we went to college or where the best spin class was. We started to bond over things that were sacred things. We started to see our little awkward and formal circle as a place of safety and rest.
Everything changed for us when we decided to put effort into making our group our own.
First someone invited us all to carve pumpkins. Then another person hosted a Friendsgiving, and then suddenly our formal circle in the church became lounging on each other’s couches and learning to love one another’s pets. I started to realize that God was creating a real community in my life that I desperately wanted and definitely needed.
We all needed it.
There are still moments and weeks where we have low attendance, we struggle to skip the Bachelorette for Bible Study, or where we are just too tired to go. Yet in the end, we all are committed to this group and pushing one another spiritually. These are the women that showed up when my father passed. These are the women who cheered me on when I finished my Masters. These are the women who go to dog parks with me. These are the women that love me like God loves me and who push me to love God.
I need that. They need that. You need that.
We all want this sort of group in our life, but it is incredibly intimidating to do the work to find it. A life of faith always requires some work though. As Methodists, we believe that the story of Jesus Christ is a social Gospel — one that involves each and every one of us.
Our encounter with the divine should not always be alone. We don’t always get into the small details of theology, but when we do, we can see the beauty of knowing one another. Our baptism is a vow we make or our parents make for us. Yet our congregation also makes those vows on our behalf! When we take Communion, we say we believe in the “saints Communion.” We believe that we are communing with Christ as well as Christians past and present.
In order to experience the fullness of God, we need to experience those made in the image of God. Your future life group, your current life group, your past life group, whoever it may be, they have the power to reveal God to you. You just have to give them the chance. This faith is social, it begs us to share one another, to know one another, and to care for one another.
Those three things — sharing, knowing, and caring — they’re intimidating. It is hard to let people in when you have probably been disappointed in the past. But the richness in letting people in far outweighs the fear. Your first meeting will be weird. Push on anyway. Move forward. Keep fighting for this group of people each made in the image of God, each made to love, and each made to learn about God.
And eventually, that awkward formal circle where no one touches your chips and queso will become some of your favorite people.
The beauty of my life group is that I know it is a sacred space — a space where we come together not just to talk about the Bachelor, but to challenge one another. It is a commitment to be honest and open. God will build this in your life group, you just have to try.