In preparation for writing this blog, I asked my wife Jackie what were the first things that came to mind when I mentioned Small Groups at Westbrook. We agreed that building deeper connections with other Westbrook attenders and having consistent opportunities to grow spiritually are tops for what makes us excited for small group meetings.
I think Acts 2:42 describing the early Christian church can distil what the essential elements of gathering should incorporate. 42 "They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer." This worked wonders for growing the church and seeing changed lives through Christ starting ~ 2000 years ago and the formula still doesn’t need to be tweaked or adjusted: studying God’s word, authentic relationships, sharing meals, praying for and with each other.
We’ve been especially grateful to have the help of small groups as well as other ministry areas at Westbrook support our family during some of our most difficult times. Our family is blessed with two daughters Andrea (soon to be age 5) and Hannah (6 months). Between our two daughters, we also had three pregnancy losses in a span of 18 months. In the midst of this- there were health challenges to figure out, learning how to process our grief and loss, and struggles with our identity as parents and a family. We can’t put into words how encouraging and uplifting it was to have people listen to our challenges, care for our family, and pray for us while we were struggling physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
When you are vulnerable with your struggles in a trusted group of believers- guess what- you soon learn that other people have challenges in their lives too. And just as we’ve been buoyed during difficulty times, we are called to help carry the burdens of others and reciprocate.
One of the many challenges with COVID has been re-imagining and adapting what togetherness, connectivity, and gathering looks like. In-person, Zoom, hybrid meetings, text messages, email chains, and even Youversion Bible App have all helped our family stay connected to Westbrook and growing spiritually.
A lie that Satan wants us to believe is that we are capable of walking the Christian life on our own- he wants us to be isolated and disconnected. There is immense power, encouragement, and fruitfulness in Christian community through small groups.
Matthew 18:20 "For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
If you are ready to grow relationally and spiritually, prayerfully consider joining a small group (or even better, start a new group- Westbrook has resources for you!).