Life’s Too Hard to Live Alone
In our “Through the Storms” sermon series the elders were asked to stand down front at the altar during the invitation for those who wanted to talk or to pray. It was an emotional day. I can say that because I talked with a person and I was able to glance at the congregation as a whole that had gathered that day. There was visible brokenness. We see it here in the office as well and I’ve come to this conclusion; Life’s too hard not to be connected.
7 years ago we started Community Groups (C-Groups) so people wouldn’t have to do life alone while learning to live as Christ would have us to live. Today we have 37 adult groups. We have groups for couples, women, and men. Our goal is simple. We want to provide you an opportunity to connect with other believers for encouragement, fellowship, and discipleship. We are intentional about relational discipleship. We want to get to know you and we want to help you grow closer to the Lord. Why? Because we believe that life’s too hard not to be connected. Our small group leaders are called shepherds. They want to welcome you and get to know you. We want to meet you where you are and allow you to experience what being connected with other believers can do in your life.
There are always misconceptions about joining a group. Let me assure you that you aren’t the only one with reservations. Let me encourage you to take that step any way. To help with this I wanted to share with you a few quotes (there were many more) that we gathered from people who are connected to small groups. This is what they said about their “Shepherd:”
- Just wanted to take a minute and say thank you for all you do for our C-group. I am almost certain that we have the best group in the church. My only regret about the group is that I did not join sooner! I had no idea just how much I needed the fellowship & teaching. It is clear that the Lord is using you and equipping you to shepherd us & I thank you for being led by His Spirit. You always come prepared by having studied God’s word & putting thought into how to make our group more intimate & unified. I think C-group members should also respect their leader & you make that easy with your transparency, integrity & gift of wisdom. You are beautiful both inside & out!
- Your loyal support of our group is amazing. I truly appreciate the time you spend organizing and preparing to lead us. I especially cherish your prayers. Your enthusiasm for our group and your observable love for each of us is one pillar that leads to the success of our group. The fact that you ensure that Christ is our Supreme leader and the focus of all we do is the ultimate reason for our group being so close and supportive of one another! You encourage us to be LOUD & PROUD for CHRIST!!!!!!
- Your leadership in our C-Group has meant so much to us at North Side. We appreciate your openness and honesty and the way you try to draw everyone in to our discussions. Your love for the Lord is evident, as well as your love for His Word. It’s a privilege to be able to fellowship, learn and grow spiritually with you. May God bless you richly for your faithfulness and devotion to Him. We love you!
- Our Shepherd has been and continues to be an awesome shepherd leader. We have been in the same C-group now for about 4 years and we are a solid group that meets consistently because of his leadership. His understanding of God’s word continues to inspire me to learn more for my own understanding. His laymen’s terminology resonates with our group and we laugh a lot while sharing stories. Combined with learning, laughter, fellowship and studying God’s word our
- C- group is very lucky to have him at the helm.
- We do not tell you enough how much we appreciate the responsibility you have taken to lead our c-group. Thank you for letting our group “share life” and for always tying our stories and experiences in as teachable moments for the day’s lesson. Thank you for your visible relationship with one another and for sharing life with us. Thank you for your willingness and obedience to lead and, most of all, for your sincere prayers in class and throughout the week. We love you both!
- I just wanted to thank you for your leadership and commitment to our group this past year. This group is very important to me and your leadership is really appreciated.
- Our shepherd is a God-sent brother for sure. I am grateful for his unconditional love and support; he is truly a friend that sticks closer than a brother.
These are just a few letters of encouragement that our shepherds have received but I think you understand the caliber of people that are available and waiting for you to connect. It is a tremendous privilege to have to lead a group of shepherds, and I can’t thank them enough for what they do day in and day out to make sure people are cared for and encouraged to grow in the Lord. If you’re not connected, please take that step. If you are willing to take this first step, you will never regret it. Please contact me (Jamie Parler). I will work with you to find the right group for the needs that you have. Why do life alone when God has provided others to walk through life with you?