Starting a small group

Jonny Carter and I met in early December to discuss a small group he was starting. He had felt called for some time to start a group focused on taking an intellectual approach to the Bible and Christianity, and he wanted to create an environment where it was OK to ask big or even dangerous questions and approach them seriously and academically. Excited about the idea, I also began to share my own concept for a small group; I thought that if Jonny was starting one, maybe I could too. As I told him about what I was thinking of doing, he encouraged me greatly and urged me to pursue it.

Our first meeting is this Saturday.

God has been urging me to do this for years, but I have hesitated and stalled. I was afraid no one would be interested, and that people would judge me negatively and push me away, and that I just wasn’t ready. There’s also the matter of being rather busy, which is why I haven’t even attended a small group for the last several years.

After the last year and a half at Vineyard, though, I feel ready. The community there is so supportive, and it makes me feel safe, to the extent that I am confident in starting this. Even if just a few people attend, I think it will be worthwhile, and several have expressed interest. We’ll be focusing on the spiritual side of Christianity—I’m also referring to it as Christian mysticism, though I don’t feel I know all that the term historically communicates—and will begin by focusing on foundational matters before moving on to practice.

I’m going to be attending Jonny’s small group as well, and he might attend mine. Despite my crazy busy schedule, I’m looking forward to investing more in this community, growing more and stronger friendships, and finally doing something that God has been calling me to for years. It has been almost three years now that God has been telling me I need to do this, which leaves me feeling foolish and ashamed that I have taken so long. But I’m here now, and I’m going to follow through. I’m ready to take this on.

I’m going to start a forum for the group, and we may expand that out to other small groups as well at the church. The online discussion will mostly be private, though, and only accessible to those who attend meetings. There will be a public-facing side, it’ll just be more minimal.

Good times ahead. While this is a Vineyard small group, let me know if you have an interest in it. I’m not capping attendance at this time, and if you’d like to discuss the spiritual side of Christianity more but don’t (or can’t) attend the group, we could certainly hang out at other times to converse.

Praise be to God. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

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