A few years ago when we came to Harvest, I hardly knew anyone. For a while, I felt I was on the outside looking in at a group of people who had close friendships and years of stories to share together. I wondered how I could ever make those kinds of friendships, and I wasn’t sure if I could “break in” to what was already here.
But it wasn’t long until my husband Gabe and I were invited to a Life Group. We chose to jump in, allowed ourselves to be known, and took a chance on making friends. Since that time I’ve lost count of the number of groups we’ve been in, led, and hosted. We have literally made hundreds of friends—and not just casual friends, but people we consider dear to our hearts. We don’t have any family in Plainview, but God has given us sisters, brothers, parents, grandparents, sons and daughters in Christ.
Not only have we made friends, we have experienced so much LIFE through our own growth, and through being part of the maturing of others. Our mission at Harvest is “making disciples who make His ways known.” Life Group is the best place I know to become a disciple—a fully devoted follower of Christ—through living in community with those ahead of us, behind us, and beside us on the road. None of us have arrived. We need each other to become all we were meant to be; but in order for that to happen, we have to allow ourselves to be seen and known by others. Our family motto is this: We receive from God, and we pass what we receive on to others. This is how it should be, as we have nothing of real value to offer except what we have first received from God through Christ. In our relationships, we point people to Christ and watch them experience LIFE!
Life Groups have become a part of the rhythm of our life. Each time our group has grown to plant a new one, there is a twinge of sadness about the change. But it doesn’t last for long. The tune changes somewhat, but the rhythm stays the same. Some people we invite, some people just come…and suddenly we realize God has once again orchestrated his plan: bringing people to a deeper experience of Christ through community.
Some are coming to Christ for the first time, but all of us need to come to Christ daily. Life Groups help us do that as we apply the Word of God to our real-life situations. As I come to know the love of Christ in a deeper way, I can resist the urge to “wow” people in my home, and can start to really love and welcome them with hospitality through hosting a Life Group. I can speak up when God puts something on my heart, and not feel condemned if I don’t have anything to say that week. I can ask for prayer when I need healing in my life. I can pray over people with prophetic prayers that encourage, strengthen and comfort them. I can receive input from others without feeling like a failure or getting defensive. I can lead well by following the Spirit and texting a friend during the week when she is on my heart. I can be encouraged to believe the truth about my identity in Christ. At times I can just simply take time to BE with my Life Group friends, and to believe that my presence is enough.
Have you experienced what I’m talking about? If not, what’s holding you back? If you HAVE experienced these things, please consider being equipped to lead or host a new group! Go for it!
This post was written by Jill Moudy. To read more about her, click here.
**Fall Life Groups start back September 2nd! If you have not yet joined a Life Group, check out the Life Group Directory on our website (click here)! You will be so glad you chose to start living LIFE in community!