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building a community to reach a community

My Community Group Story

After studying abroad at the University of the South Pacific, and after spending a semester with a friend who dramatically impacted my journey as a believer, I was excited to get involved with a small group. Upon my return home I went to the first informational meeting for college small groups. I felt a little timid but was excited about eating good food and enjoying the fellowship with fellow college students.

I immediately felt welcome in a group with so many smiling faces who wanted to ask you who you are, where you go to school, when you plan to graduate, and what your major is. Those were just the external questions though; they quickly became more personal and I began to feel connected. When it came time for our first Tuesday meeting at the Bowers’ house, I was still intimidated to attend. But when I got a text from Tim I felt encouraged to give it a chance.

I tried my hardest to get someone to come with me; I only knew one person in our group beforehand and I had not talked to him in at least four years. When I arrived though I was welcomed into a warm house and a hot meal, a big deal to any college student! Over our dinners we shared healthy conversation and follow-up was a male vs. female game of Pictionary, where of course the guys crushed. After fiercely competitive games of Pictionary we began our lesson.

Tim, Lawton, Cheryl, and Beth have all done an exceptional job preparing lessons to share with us. Not only do we study the biblical contexts of stories but additionally the historical context of the time. The lessons have been encouraging and challenging. I have often found myself telling my friends about what we talked about in bible study the past week or personally pondering the significance of the story in my life. Life application is a major part of our discussion; we discuss where we are going in life and where we are today.

When our group split into girls and guys I always felt bashful and was reluctant to share how the message was relevant in my life, I tried to just sit in the corner and be a sponge absorbing what others were sharing. However, as the weeks went on I began to feel more comfortable with our group and confidence in where I was in my journey. God has blessed me by giving me the healthy relationships I have with the people in this group, that continuously encourage and move me along my journey. The relationships I have in this group have extended outside of our Tuesday night meeting time; we enjoy meeting for breakfast to encourage each other and just hang out. The radiance of God’s love has been poured into me by our group and for that I am exceedingly thankful. I am also refreshed to do the same with others in my life!

Alden Collins 

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