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Never Swim Alone

06.11.19 | Inspirational | by Hannah Buchanan

Never Swim Alone

    John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, believed in the buddy system so strongly that he urged those around him to form small groups, called band meetings, that met regularly to check in on the deep places of the soul.

    Did you know most drowning deaths occur when a person is swimming alone? A riptide can suck even the strongest swimmer out to sea. We're all susceptible to the pull. 

    During our sermon series, “Riptide,” we’ll look at the buddy system and why it's risky to swim through life alone. Scroll down for practical tips on how to find your buddy and make sure you're both swimming in safety!

    John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, believed in the buddy system so strongly that he urged those around him to form small groups, called band meetings, that met regularly to check in on the deep places of the soul.

    Together, in groups of three to five people of the same gender and marital status, these folks would ask a set of questions, free from judgment and condemnation. Here are the questions. (I'll warn you, these people got real fast.)

    1. What known sins have you committed since our last meeting?

    2. What temptations have you met with?

    3. How were you delivered?

    4. What have you thought, said, or done, of which you doubt whether it be sin or not?

    5. Have you nothing you desire to keep secret?

    Are you blushing? Does it seem forward to ask such personal questions of those around you? (Or to be asked such personal questions by those around you?) 

    Here's where you can start:

    Find your buddy.

    • Who do you already know who seems to be chasing after the same things in life that you desire? (This can be one person or more than one!) 

    • Take them out to lunch or coffee. Build your friendship by asking intentional questions. (See suggestions below.) 

    • If you feel comfortable, ask this person — or crew of people — if they'd like to meet regularly to check in about life. 

    • Don't know anyone who is chasing after the same things you want to? Save the date for our fall small group launch on September 24. We'll set you up! 

    Ask good questions. Then listen. 

    • Start with this one: How are you doing, really? John Wesley encouraged people to ask, "How is it with your soul?" Whichever you prefer, the point is to scratch below the surface.

    • Here's a pretty comprehensive list of additional questions you and your buddies can pull from. 

    What it looks like in practice.

    Two years ago, I felt a nudge to start a group. I'd become friends with two women who shared a similar passion for the local church and doing justice in the city — women who, like me, struggled to balance work, marriage and motherhood.

    They didn't know each other yet - but when I felt the nudge, I asked if they'd be open to meeting regularly. They both said, "Yes!" 

    We were all clear we didn't want more homework — nor did we need another Bible study where scripture was used as information instead of transformation. So, we decided this: We would meet every other week, before work, and we would only ask two questions:

         1. How is it with your soul?

         2. How can you grow closer to Jesus until we meet again? 

    We've been at it for two years, and these women have changed my life. Our time together doesn't replace my own personal time with God, but it sure does keep me honest about my personal time with God!

    They know me — and not just the shiny, healthy, holy version of me I can put on display. They know where I am weak, where I have been tempted, and what I long to keep hidden.

    I love them for holding safe space for me, for helping me read the waves and stay out of the riptide, and for pointing me toward Jesus, who beckons from the shore. 


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