Four years ago, Shauna and I started a Life Group in our home. We were convinced that the best front door the church has are the ones leading into a living room, so we opened ours up. And served really good cake.
It began partly out of necessity. We’d just moved from Winkler—a rural town pretending to be a city an hour south of Winnipeg in Southern Manitoba. Winkler’s best offering was community. People were constantly walking, biking, or roller-blading by. Popping in. Playing cards. Eating together. Being together.
Calgary, on the other hand, is a fragmented and frenetic city ramped up on the white collar dream. People here are largely friendly, but often friendless. So it didn’t take long for our family to go into community withdrawl. We’d tasted the good stuff, craved it, missed it, and finally realized if we wanted it, we’d have to create it. Start from scratch ourselves.
Two couples joined us. Then another. And another.
As our group grew, it’s values took shape. Not by design—at least, not ours. But over time it became obvious that this wasn’t just a Bible study where people sat together for two hours then went home and didn’t connect until the next time they showed up. This was a community, first and foremost. A community that studies the Bible, sure—but we also camp, eat, laugh, play, pray, serve, and do life together. We support each other. We love each other. A few years ago someone came to Christ (we’re hoping to improve on that singularity).We’re reaching out. Our people care for each other. We’ve got a congenital “need to feed” when our families go through dark or trying times. Our community steps up.
Yes, I’m starting to brag on my Life Group.
From day one, I spoke of a day when we’d have too many people to fit into one room. Our policy was, if you know someone that might need this, might want to belong to us, they’re invited. Period. So folks would invite friends. Soon our we had to add chairs. Then pillows. Along with the pillows came a deep seated belief that flies in the face of conventional wisdom. We decided we had something good and that the new people weren’t going to reset the clock. We’d keep on motoring—caring, sharing, praying, growing. And so we did. And the new folks would go, “Huh. They trust me. So I guess I can share, too.” So they did. And we gave them permission to belong as much or as little as they like. Which most often resulted in them wanting to belong more than less.
As of this week, there are almost thirty adults connected to our community. This past week, we multiplied for the first time (yay God!), so now we’ve got two groups instead of one. We’ve appointed two phenomenal couples to lead the new group, and the launch went great. Did I mention six couples have joined the community since Christmas? God is doing something. A movement is beginning to happen. We all know it’s just a matter of time before we multiply again.
Who knows where God will take us?
Man, I love our community. I am so proud of you, guys. And for the privilege of getting to do this with you.