A year ago we challenged our Legacy Small Groups to act with one another the way they’d like to see the entire congregation act. We believe that what happens in our Small Groups will, eventually, over time, permeate our whole church family. So we started this past Small Groups cycle with this question: What if the whole church acted like my Small Group?
What if everybody at Legacy showed up for assemblies and church functions as consistently as I do for Small Groups? What if everybody at Legacy participated in church events as much as I do Small Groups? What if everybody at Legacy showed the same amount of grace and love to one another as is shared within our Small Group? What if the brothers and sisters at Legacy were as quick to understand and forgive? What if all of us at Legacy placed the same emphasis on hospital visits, delivering meals, helping others financially, and integrating visitors and new members just like we do it in my Small Group? What if Legacy worshiped and studied and prayed just like we do in my Small Group? What if Legacy looked exactly like my Small Group? Would that be a good thing or a bad thing?
In order to keep moving from simply doing church to actually and radically being church, we need to act individually and in small groups the way we’d like the whole congregation to act.
I’m so proud of my Small Group.
One year ago we met in David and Shanna’s living room and gave the upcoming twelve months to our God. We asked him to join us and move us and shape us through our Small Group. Carrie-Anne and I already had a great relationship with David & Shanna. But we really didn’t know anybody else in the room. I’d had only short, casual conversations with Doug & Phyllis. I knew Kirk, but I knew nothing of the great loss he’s suffered in his life. I’d shaken hands with Steve probably seven million times and talked with him about the Rangers for two years. But I didn’t know who he was. I didn’t know Brian and Julie and their five kids or Michael and Christy and their four kids at all. (Why would anybody with all those children sign up for a group that already had so many kids?) But through our shared experiences this year, I have come to love every one of them like family. Like real family.
Our group loved and served and blessed and encouraged one another through two surgeries, an aging parent moving in, Cowboys wins and losses, communion bread that tasted like old pretzels, job changes, birthdays, and the tragic death of a niece. We also worked together to rescue David from a sure trip to the state prison. We sang “Days of Elijah” and “Awesome God” exactly 52 times in our 52 meetings. We shared 52 meals in five different homes and everybody brought something every week. We all took turns holding the kids and fixing plates and cleaning up afterward. We hugged and laughed and cried and wrestled with our God and his will for our lives.
And we brought in and loved and served a middle-school teacher who’s going through an incredibly horrible divorce right now. She’s letting us take care of her and her four children in the name of our Savior. We’re ministering to them through the sufficiency and competency of Christ. She’s become a member at Legacy and is doing her best to trust our God to deliver her through this dark valley.
I’m so proud of our group.
Last night we finalized our plans to become two groups for this next cycle in order to take what we’ve experienced by the grace of God to others at Legacy who haven’t tasted it yet. We’ve become four sets of co-leaders now instead of two. And we’re praying that our Father will use us in mighty ways to benefit his people and his Kingdom.
What if everybody at Legacy looked and acted just like your Small Group?
They will. Eventually.