Being Together This Past Year: How Our Group Got Through 2021
In 2021, Small Group was a place to be. Be tired. Be devastated. Be hopeful. Be prayerful. Be happy. Be confused. Be disappointed. Be gracious. Be needy. Whatever the day held, our members found that in being together, there was freedom to be themselves and to grow.
Small Group was also a place to be sanctified.
In his letter to the Philippians, Paul admonished the believers to “[d]o nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:3-5).
We, too, are called to have this mind; to ask the hard questions as they relate to our Small Group community:
- When I’m exhausted by endless hard conversations and decisions, do I devote myself to prayer and seeking God’s wisdom and strength? Or do I complain and disengage?
- Can I prayerfully discern something yet be led to the opposite decision that the same process takes you? Can I come to you in humility and be quick to listen and honestly try to understand your point of view?
- What does it look like to humble myself and love you? Am I considering you more significant than myself and looking to your interests? Does that mean always doing things your way?
- Why do I want my way—or why do I want what I want? Is God’s glory truly my aim? Will I repent if it’s not?
Thoughts like these were lampposts, guiding us as we chose to earnestly love one another and the world well this year. In a whirlwind of life’s emotions and decisions, our Small Group friends were our grounding and our family. God faithfully revealed himself and sanctified us when we were uncomfortable, overwhelmed, or burned out.
He helped us choose to be for one another as we drew near to the throne of grace to ask him for wisdom—time and again. The roots of our relationships deepened as we felt the urgency to drink from the fountain of living water that alone restores our souls. God has been at work, and we trust that what he has begun, he will be faithful to continue!
Finally, Small Group was a place to be together.
With life disjointed or unpredictable, our biweekly gatherings were something we could look forward to as steady and consistent.
For those working from home or isolated, Small Group gatherings were some of few opportunities we had to gather with other adults regularly. It was through those meetings that we were able to care for group members in seasons of loss and to continue discipling the fifteen kids in our group—kids who developed stronger bonds with one another as Friday night Small Group gatherings kept beloved routine in their lives.
By God’s grace, we also had many times of laughter together. I fondly recall a men versus women Bible trivia night—the men’s team won a second victory. We had a group Valentine’s date night for couples while kids ate pizza and played games together. We even did an adults versus kids game of 9-Square in the driveway and plenty of kids time at the pool.
Being Together Is Seen by Our Watching World
These are the moments that remind us of what a joy it is to truly do life together as a Small Group. Oh, may a watching world see and know that we are Christians by our love for one another. My prayer is that they will know us by our love and that, as a result, they will desire to know our amazing Savior!
In a year of hardship, being together as a Small Group was deeply foundational in our lives and a reminder of what a blessing these intentional friendships are.
Small Group Leader
Dalena has co-led a College Park Church Small Group with her husband Jason since 2014 and serves as a deacon.