small groups

We Are A Group Project

There is healthy fear and unhealthy fear. A healthy fear spoken of in the Bible is referred to in Hebrews 4:1 — a kind of fear about missing out on GOD’s rest because of our unbelief. I was reading up on this and saw a healthy kind of fear attached to this. We should fear losing belief! We should fear being lured away from GOD, falling to the temptation of not trusting, falling to the temptation of anger, bitterness, self-reliance. Finding our selves in a dark an anxious self-imposed exile. It is healthy to fear that.

This fear is motivational. This fear is the kind of fear that keeps us away from danger and in the freedom and joy of healthy boundaries. John Piper uses the illustration of a child being told to STAY OFF the busy street where there are cars zooming by. In the yard the child plays, full of freedom, not thinking about the street at all. It isn’t as if those boundaries have stolen joy, they have actually given the child a sigh of relief to be able to play safely. If they look over at the street they might think for a moment, “What would it be like to play there…” and maybe imagine it. Along with this should come a little warning in their conscience, “Don’t do it.” The “don’t” instills a little fear of consequences. That fear should be enough to make the child determined to keep playing within the safety zone and not risk losing it!

Piper says that in our journey following Jesus, “persevering is a group project.” We need our “fellow followers” to be united with us in faith. We need to take care of each other and call each other to not fall away. When we see our brothers and sisters heading towards that curb by the street, Hebrews says “call out” (exhort!) each other so none of us are deceived and pulled away from what we believe.

Pulling away from belief happens. It is usually not an abrupt denial, it is the slow “not sure” and the step back from “being with” and the gradual withdrawal of our affections and our "worship. It is the grumbling, it is the disgruntlement, it is the dissatisfaction that excuses the erosion of our faith. It is when we begin hiding and justifying stepping out onto the street.

Pulling away can happen when we wrestle, waiting on GOD to solve something. In the waiting distance can grow, we can forget the GOD of miracles. Impatience can make us rush towards alternatives found elsewhere.

Fearing this is healthy! It causes us to put into place things that will keep us sure-footed. What we do in community is the yard vs. the street. There is safety in numbers as we ponder GOD together, pray together, be in His Word, share from our lives, practice being family, looking out for one another, partnering with one another (speaking of Partnership, if you would like to be unified with us and confidently be on the same team, join in with the Partnership class this Sunday afternoon, September 8, from 11:30-1:30, lunch included. Contact Shawn Klassen: shawn@sunridge.org)

Small Group sign-ups are up! Run towards it — have a little healthy fear for being “out there” on your own, and get in a group where you will be known by people who will watch your back. Feel the relief of being prayed for and celebrated and part of the conversation and the growth that happens as we sharpen one another.

Sign up on Sunday at the Connect Center (even if you have been in a group previously), or online!

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen

 

People You Know

This is a shout-out to small groups, and as an example — my own. This past week our small group had a BBQ together on a windy evening; we love getting together! We look forward to it. This year our group members have been all over the country and out of the country but we always keep tabs on one another and get together as soon as we are on the same soil. It’s so good to gather.

I don’t even know how long this group has been together, but we know each other quite well by now. We are at that stage of honesty where we can challenge each other, cry with each other, pray consistently for one another, celebrate the wins, puzzle over the puzzles…its all that and more. We love to eat together, hang out with each other, and figure out this journey of faith together. I love my small group (and not just because Marcella slips me jars of jam).

My small group has done the miles with Mike and I. They have been right at the core of quite a tender journey. They have been burden bearers for us: always interested. There are times we have gone “on and on” about weighty things and our group has been immensely patient and understanding. I see how we all try to be this for one another. It is amazing to experience. Church.

Recently we had something pretty big to celebrate in the middle of our ongoing story — and their hearts just joined with ours and I was further buoyed up by the beauty of community. At the same time, someone else was experiencing hard things — it is almost always this way. So we all leaned in to listen and to ponder it and to pray and to hope. This group doesn’t give up.

I know there are other groups who could say the same. This is the goal with small groups, isn’t it? Life on life, knowing each other, the happenings, the uncertainties, the wrestling to figure out obedience to Christ, the long-suffering walk, the ready applause, the hug, the eye-to-eye call to live out one’s calling in a safe and “for you” kind of place.

As September comes closer — find out about Small Groups. Talk to Shawn Klassen, connect at the Connect Centre. Fill something out online (Whoa! Who are those fine looking people on the SG page?). Small groups run for 10 weeks and then if you feel like trying something different — a different group, a class — feel free! Become a part of the mix. Enter into group life: love people, and be loved back!

Teresa Klassen

Teresa Klassen