Why joining a small group was one of the best decisions I’ve made
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My wife and I joined our small group in early February of 2018. It’s often difficult to see God’s work but I truly do believe God brought us together with these 8 other wonderful people. I can’t find a better explanation for the heart and connection we’ve developed with each other over the past few months. And through that connection and our time together, our community, our church and our faith has grown.
To be completely honest though, all of us were a little unsure at first. Some of us were nervous, others had tried it before and it didn’t work out, and I signed up simply because it was something my wife wanted to do. I didn’t think I knew enough scripture or was a good enough Christian to join a church group. But I think that’s what some people miss out on. No matter what we know or how we feel, faith in Christ transcends our understanding and will help put us on the right path.
Looking back, I can say it was one of the best decisions we made in our first year of marriage. I sometimes kick myself, wishing we had joined sooner, but I remember that God has bigger plans and this truly worked out at the right time, with the right people. It was through the work of the church, the community, and this little family we’ve created that have helped us work towards our goal, to the mission of the church: to bring us closer to God.
What is interesting though is in our group, not everyone had officially joined the church, or been baptized.
But in the past two months that has changed. Three of our members have now officially joined the church through word and through their own holy baptisms at Starting Point, which our group had the privilege to witness. While I know many, myself included, were baptized young, there is something remarkable to be said about those who have found their way through their own calling.
I think there’s beauty in the ways we are called to faith, how everything works out. Each member of our group may have started on a different path from one another, but we found each other, just as the Lord found us. We went to our friend’s baptisms because we knew what it meant to join in the covenant, and we wanted to be witnesses to such an important choice and moment in their life. Our faith is cultivated through shared experience and it’s why witnessing moments, like these baptisms, are so important.
As Christians, we’re called to love one another and I believe that also means being present for one another. To be witnesses for life’s moments and, when it comes to acts of faith, to pledge our support.
It was incredibly powerful to witness these new friends profess their faith before God and join in this covenant and I hope for them they felt the love and support that we brought with us. It’s our responsibility now that myself and our group, as witness to the progress and affirmation of our friend’s faith, continue to nurture that faith and by helping them we strengthen our faith as well.
I like to think that each of us has our personal relationship with God, but it's through this community and action that we learn and that we strengthen that bond. Even with the love that is offered to us through our God, it’s not hard to feel lost our alone in our faith. If we just stop and listen to where our hearts our called, we can find ourselves surround by those who would support us, brought together by God. And now that our friends have made their covenant with God, so are we called to make a covenant with them.
To guide and help one another in our faith, as a family and as a community.
I truly believe the importance of community in the church, whether it be through large gatherings or through the gatherings of a small group. There have been so many moments, large and small that we’ve shared and witnessed together. In just a few short months we’ve witnessed three baptisms, had three weddings and now our first baby on the way. We’ve been there for the high moments and the low moments, celebration and sadness, all together with the love and support of our shared faith and friendship. It’s these moments that truly speak to the power of community and faith that we are brought together as one.
It’s been an incredibly big year for each of us, and while our lives bring about change or hardship and we can’t always be together, I believe the love and connections between us grow ever stronger and that we may always find comfort in each other, and in doing so our God. While our journeys in faith may be different or new, I’m humbled and blessed it is with a church and group that embodies the love of Christ, that my friends, and myself, have found our way.