Activity 1. God saved us into a church family. Identifying & putting to death the different ways we’ve dethrone God in our marriage is a spirit-filled community project, not a solo flight. Read together the testimony (below) of a couple’s experience of community. How do you find the experience described? Attractive? Intimidating? Idealistic? Share with the group your tendencies as identified in Q3.
At The Crossing Church, our primary support community is our CG. Our CG members are those we do life on life with weekly. What has been your experience of sharing marital struggles with your CG? How has this First Year group functioned differently to encourage you? Moving forward, how can we healthily keep both?
“My husband and I have been part of the same small group for the past five years… Like many small groups, we regularly share meal together, love one another practically, and serve together to meet needs outside small group. We worship, study God’s Word, and pray. It has been a rich time to grow in the understanding of God, what Jesus has accomplished for us, God’s purposes for us as a part of his kingdom, his power and desire to change us, and may other precious truths. We have grown in our love for God and for others, and have been challenged to repent of our sin and trust God in every are of our lives.”
“It was a new and refreshing experience for us to be in a group where people were willing to share their struggles with temptation and sin and ask for prayer… We have been welcomed by others, challenged to become more vulnerable, help up in prayer, encouraged in specific ongoing struggles, and have developed sweet friendships. I have seen one woman who had one foot in the world and one foot in the church openly share her struggles with us. We prayed that God would show her the way to escape from temptation many times and have seen God’s work in delivering her. Her openness has given us a front row seat to the power of God intersect with her weakness. Her continued vulnerability and growth in godliness encourage us to be humble with one another, and to believe that God is able to change us too.”
“Because years have now passed in close community, God’s work can be seen more clearly than on a week-by-week basis. One man who had some deep struggles and a lot of anger has grown through repenting of sin and being vulnerable one on one and in the group. He has been willing to hear the encouragement and challenges of others, and more gentle with his wife. As a group, we have confronted anxiety, interpersonal strife, the need to forgive, lust, family troubles, unbelief, the fear of man, hypocrisy, unemployment, sickness, lack of love, idolatry, and marital strife. We have been helped, held accountable, and lifted up by one another. We have also grieved together, celebrated together, laughed together, offended one another reconciled with one another, put up with one another… and sought to love God and one another. As a group we were saddened in the spring when a man who had recently joined us felt that we let him down by not being sensitive to his loneliness. He chose to leave. I sat this because, with all the benefits of being in a small group, it is still just a group of sinners. It is Jesus who makes it worth getting together. Apart from our relationship with him, … we have nothing to offer. But because our focus is on Jesus, the group has the potential to make significant and life-changing difference in all our lives.”
“… When 7 o’clock Monday night comes around, I eagerly look forward to the sound of my brothers and sisters coming in our front door. I never know how the evening will go, what burdens people will be carrying, how I will be challenged, or what laughter or tears we will share. But I always know that the great Shepherd will meet us and that our lives will be richer and fuller because we have been together… I hope that by hearing my story you will be encouraged to make a commitment to become a part of a small group and experience the blessing of Christian community within the smaller group, more intimate setting that it makes possible”.