Picture the following scenario: you are sitting around chatting with some friends when you state that over the last week you have really been struggling with how you had handled a situation with your children and could not get it out of your mind. Everyone in the group just looks at you, and then the person next to you changes the subject by talking about last night’s big basketball game. This scenario is all too common in friend circles and small group communities. We don’t like to talk about the hard stuff. We all just want to be “fine” and keep it surface level. But there can be real healing and bonds formed when your try a different way.
Community at King of Glory
This spring I started leading a community group at King of Glory. This group consists of people between the ages of 20 to 40, that are all at different life stages. Some are single, some are married, and some are married with multiple kids. I have had some leading experience in the past, so this adventure was not new to me, but what I realized is that I still was anxious about leading. I wanted to make sure my co-leader and I were leading in a way that would make people feel comfortable, that would challenge them in their daily lives, and that would ultimately be beneficial to their spiritual life and not detrimental. While those things alone can cause enough anxiety, I was also really worried that we would be able to grow into a group that can honestly share struggles and encourage each other through that.
This is what it is all about
Well, we are now in our ninth week meeting as a community group and last week we had one of the best weeks that made me want to shout, “now this is what it is all about”. At every group we watch a short video, answer some thought provoking questions about what we just watched, then split into smaller groups of about five to six people for prayer around a specific question. This last week we were posed with the question: “What is something that you are struggling with that you thought you had conquered?”
When this question was presented I thought to myself, “okay, here we go. This is where we can either be a huge encouragement to someone or a huge discouragement.” As members shared honestly what some of the struggles they were facing were, I couldn’t help but have a proud parent moment as other members followed up with each person sharing how they also struggled with the same thing and what they were doing to try and get through that struggle. Then one member starts talking about how they have struggled with depression in the past. And with tears streaming down their face, they confess they feel they are back in it. Okay folks, if you have ever wondered how to tell if your community group is healthy or unhealthy, the reactions to situations like this are a huge tell all. As a leader, I knew immediately what we needed to do, but will admit that for a split second I thought, “how is everyone going to react when I say we need to lay hands on our friend and pray over them?”
Together We Belong
As I stood up and asked the individual if they would mind moving into the center of the room so we could pray over them, I was in awe of the immediate move to action by ALL group members. I could tell that they were all feeling the same exact way I was and that this was absolutely what we needed to do in that moment. As we prayed over our friend and later encouraged them with words of hope and love, I couldn’t help but think we are really understanding what it is all about. We are here to help carry each others burdens and we are not meant to do it alone. And we were! We were honestly sharing our struggles and encouraging each other through that.
I encourage everyone to find that group of people who can be that encouragement to you. Whether it is a friend who you meet with weekly or a healthy community group, we all need someone to help carry our burdens. I am so glad I found, and can be a part, of a small community like that.