A place to be… YOU
This month we are sharing personal stories of impact. To me, church is about community, a community gathered in lots of circles. Some are a circle of 2 people, others maybe a circle of 200 in worship. It is these circles, these small, connected groups, that make a church a community. These circles enrich our lives, deepen our appreciation for our neighbor, and compel us to love others. CUC has a small group circle in the form of women who have met for a long time sharing the ups and downs, joys, and heartbreaks of life. We have small group circles of committees, musicians, youth workers, and study groups. We are a church made up of circles. Once in a previous church at a luncheon, several women commented that they did not appreciate the previous pastor. Without skipping a beat, a 92-year-old Eileen Bell said, “I don’t care who the pastor is and whether I like them or not, this is my church, and these are my people.” I loved her comment because it’s true; pastors come and go, but the people, you, and your circle of people, are the heartbeat of the church. You and your circles (small groups, care groups, greeter team, committees, council) are the church. We need you, and we need one another. This is the gift of community. Here are a few reflections on the gifts of small group circles.
After our second week of small groups, a woman said to me, “I think small groups are the answer to all the problems in the world! I love learning from others and listening to their perspectives.”
One of our current small group members wrote this, “I think the small groups matter to me because you never really get past small talk when you are seeing people at church. When you meet them out of church in a small group setting, it allows you to become actual friends. You get to know who their families are, you talk about real-life struggles and that always makes you feel not so alone in the world.”
Several years ago, a new mom showed up to our mom’s group who had not really been involved at the church. Almost immediately she was a regular, all in. Shortly after, her family started attending church, kids were involved in children’s programs and attended VBS. It was the small group of moms that helped her experience the culture of Columbine and helped her get connected with a few moms in a significant way.
Circles. They are the Velcro of the church, where people stick. The power outlet where we get plugged in and energized. We all need a place to connect, stick and charge. We often don’t get to see inside of other’s circles, as we did above through these women’s experiences. They are a good reminder that this is us, and this is the church.