Life Changing Community

Life Changing Community

Back in 2009, during playdates with our little ones, a friend kept inviting me to church.  Our husbands worked together and both worked a lot of Sundays, so I knew more often than not, it would be me taking our two kids.  My husband, Phillip, grew up in church but I did not.  We may have talked about going to church, but it definitely wasn’t a priority. Finally, with some hesitation I said yes to that persistent friend!  Over the next month or so, the kids and I went every Sunday and Phillip was able to go with us a few times.  Then, we heard the church was hosting a dinner for people to get plugged into small groups.  Stepping out of my comfort zone, I signed us up and went.  During that dinner a church member spent some time getting to know us a little bit, he took our information, and said someone would be in touch soon.  I can still remember receiving the call from Krystal a few days later.  She was so bubbly and excited when she invited us to join their small group of young families.  She let me know they met one night during the week, kids included, ate dinner, and studied God’s Word. It was a group made up of friends and family that had known each other for a while, but they were all so welcoming.  They took time to get to know us and we got to know them. They were all real, intentional, and committed to Jesus and to one another.  They showed us what Christian community looks like.   We were in that group for about 10 months before we moved a few hours away.  But the community we experienced during that short time, placed the desire within us to find it in our new city.


It was not easy finding a new church and a new group, that first group set the bar pretty high!   After several months, we found a church and once again,  we went to a small group dinner the church was hosting. Soon after that, we joined our second small group.  It was a larger group of couples that met on Sunday nights in a church building.  The larger setting made it harder to really get to know everyone.  We went through different Bible studies and made a lot of friends.  With Phillip’s job, he still worked most Sundays so he often had to choose between going to church or small group.  After several years, he mentioned something to me about starting our own group so that it would be a better fit with his schedule.  As a newer Christian, I felt so unequipped to lead anything but I knew we needed to make it a priority to attend group together.  I also knew that we were missing out on the close community we experienced years before.   After a few months and a lot of talking, it was obvious that God was calling us to start our own group. 


Once again, we attended a dinner at the church for small groups, but this time as leaders.  We sat there by ourselves, at a table for 8, surrounded by other tables that were full of people. I remember thinking, what are we doing?  We finally had one couple join us, it was only because there was a mistake with their names.  Afterwards, the church gave us contact information for 3 or 4 couples that we did not know.  I stepped way out of my comfort zone and called the wives.  I remember the phone calls, each of them shared their desires to join a group and some shared their hesitations in doing so.  

A few weeks later, with a lot of anxiety and preparation, we hosted and led our first small group.  On a Wednesday night in February of 2016, we had seven couples, lots of kids, and one brave babysitter all in our 1600 sq ft house.  We started off as strangers with a common goal, to grow in our relationship with Jesus and with others. But, in such a short amount of time, we became closer than we could ever imagine.  We were all devoted to our time together. We shared meals, laughs, tears, doubts, and fears.  A few weeks in, we shared our stories and it was during that openness and vulnerability we could see how God was at work!  We saw how our stories brought us together and why He had each one of us there.  We loved one another,  supported one another, and encouraged one another.  We gathered together, prayed together, and served together.  We lived our lives together. I am by no means saying we had it all together because we had our fair share of problems.  Looking back, I can see where we missed out on some important things we are called to do, like speaking truth, confessing our sins, and holding one another accountable.  There were times selfish desires were put above the struggles of others.  But we still saw growth and life change.  

Because Phillip and I experienced life changing community, we continue to pursue it and encourage others to do the same.   Since then Phillip and I started and led a young adults ministry and a few small groups. Some flourished and thrived and some fell a little flat.  We witnessed friendships grow, new relationships form, and life change happen.  We have seen the benefits of meeting in a home, sharing meals, being devoted, and serving together.  But we know the real life changing power comes from the Holy Spirit, we just need to take the first step.

Extend an invitation  Ask your new coworker to go with you to church.  Invite a friend to your table at the women’s Christmas dinner.  Make that phone call to invite people into your home and life.

Accept an invitation...  Say “yes” to the lady at Chick-fil-a who invites you to Bible study.  Say “let’s go” to your family when you’re invited to church.  Sign up when the church is hosting a dinner for small groups.  

Step out of your comfort zone…  Speak to that person you have felt led to talk to.  Show up to Bible study when you don’t know anyone.  Lead a small group when you feel unequipped and unprepared.  

Be vulnerable…  Share your story, even the hardest parts of it.  Reach out when you are struggling.  Say that personal prayer request you’ve been hesitant to share.  

Continue in community...  Make your time together a priority.  If you move, seek another community in your new town.  If the group you’re in ends, start a new one.   


They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.  Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.  All the believers were together and had everything in common.   They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.  Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,  praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.                                             Acts 2:42-47

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Kenley England

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