I got to go to the zoo this week. The baby elephant was splashing in his wading pool, there was an
adorable baby monkey, some very awesome inside-out jellyfish, and of course my favorites, the fennec
foxes. It was crowded with kids of all ages and their parents and grandparents trying to keep up and
keep track. My own kids are grown and I don’t have grandkids….but I was there with a different sort of
I attend a small group at Lakes and this day we were enjoying one of our summer outings together. We
don’t try to meet weekly through the summer months because of the reality of the season’s busy schedules, but our very wise leader plans a special get together each month to keep us in touch with one another and continue that spirit of togetherness that we had developed over the winter and spring months when we met weekly for a more traditional Bible study time. Over those video lessons,
discussions, and prayer times we had gotten to know each other, to trust each other, and to care deeply
about each other…. and so it was a happy day to find ourselves admiring God’s creativity together as the
family, we’ve become by choice.
And for me, this is the heart of small groups. You can do a Bible study on your own. You can read a book alone. You can pray alone. You can even sit in a worship service and be very alone. But when you choose to do this together with a few other people that are seeking to grow in some of the same ways and places you are, it becomes a different, deeper, richer, experience. There’s a saying, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” that I find really true when it comes to small groups. Together our faith gets
stronger, our prayers go deeper, and our love for God and each other develops in ways we simply can’t
accomplish on our own. We learn to be a little more vulnerable, a little more compassionate. We learn
to risk a little more and reach out a little more, and we grow.
And when we find ourselves facing a day that is anything but a trip to the zoo, when we’re in a dark valley dealing with a medical diagnosis or the heartbreak of a child’s bad choices, when we are simply struggling to hold it all together in the busy, complex lives we all live, our small groups have our backs in ways our church congregation at large, or even our pastors, simply cannot. We know each other well enough to know the best ways to help and pray for each other. When I had to have surgery recently it
was the members of my small group who not only showed up with meals but knew what to make, who knew when to make me laugh and when to just let me talk, or even just be quiet with me. I know their prayers were far more specific and confident because they really knew me.
Knowing each other, caring for each other, spending time with each other. That makes my small group a
family to me. And just like other families, we welcome new members and relish getting to know them,
We’ll be starting back up in September with a weekly Bible study, and I can’t wait to see more of everyone and talk about both the fun stuff and the hard stuff. We’d love for you to join us, or any of the other groups, as our church launches the fall season. You can do life alone…. But it’s not the way God planned it. Small groups are where the church becomes family.
“So encourage one another, and build each other up..” (1 Thess. 5:11)
Watch the website, Facebook page, and in-church announcements for start dates and details on the
groups starting up mid-September!