The purpose of this blog post is to articulate my thoughts and to help process this past year while looking ahead for the future year. Some back story, I am not a college student so this may seem weird to “close out” the year. If you were to ask me how this past year was, this is how I would answer it…
Coming in 2016, I was asked lead a lifegroup (or small group). I hardly had context with most of the student, since last year I was among the working folks lifegroup. So, it felt strange to be expected to lead a group of students whom I barely knew. Questions who arise like “am i worthy to lead and could i even relate? Thankfully, I wasn’t leading alone. It was really helpful, a privilege, and a blessing to co-lead with my friends, Ally and Eric. Looking back, it would had been near impossible to finish the year without the support of one another.
Even as the year started out, I was thinking, wow, the make up of our lifegroup was different in many ways, personality, life stage wise, and spiritually too.
Our lifegroup”s name was Amazing Graze founded on the John 9:10 verse:
“I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.[a] They will come in and go out, and find pasture.”
My vision isn’t to have good memories and friendships and what not. Yes, that sounds blunt. The core function of lifegroup is have a biblical community where we one can live life on life as a Christ disciple. And just like in the early churches, the churches scattered and formed more gatherings. However, that is a tall comparison, since the early churches were split circumstancially by persecution. That can be another discussion in itselff… Because if we were here just for the fun stuff and memories and friends… well, people could find that anywhere else in a social club, so what would be the difference be in terms of a biblical community? Wasn’t it that as a Christian that we were to be called to be set apart from this world?
With that, one of my vision is that as a lifegroup we would all be equipped and inspired to take these experiences in the next stage in life… whether it be in lifegroup or in another context.
From my point of view leading, there were a few things in the forefront of my mind…
Have a presence in the college ministry
Because how am I expect to be a leader if I am hardly around. I didn’t want to be out of touch with people. How I was able to accomplish that was simply spending time with people. The challenging part was trying to reconcile my work schedule with lifegroup ministry. After work, I would change my work attire quickly to my street clothes and off to campus to meet with people.
Support my Leader
Though technically, I am a leader. I am not the main leader of the lifegroup. I am the coleader and my role is to support the leader. How I was able to accomplish that was help take care and plan logistical things. From there, the leader wouldn’t have to worry about too much but can concentrate in leading the group. You would be surprised how lonely leadership feels like. There can be an invisible wall or separation between others. It is sort of like how a child views their parent. Of course, it is not the same, but it feels similar like that!
As expected, we are not perfect. There are many times we dropped the ball when things didn’t go as planned. That’s where I learned to be flexible and know that it is ok. One example that I can say that I received grace was when I was late to attend lifegroup. I felt really bad not being able to atttend lifegroup, as a leader. And I was suppose to help make some food so we can enjoy some refreshments at the end of bible study… I remembered that day I didn’t get to eat dinner because of work but I was blessed that at the end of lifegroup that they decided to eat dinner with me and even providing care packages to not only me but others as well.
I can’t express the importance of support. Leaders aren’t immune to struggle even if folks act like they don’t. The busyness of life takes a toll and the burdens catch up to our own capacity. I think what I really appreciated was the support in one another whether it be prayer or giving grace to one another.
If one person would struggle, the other two would step in. Not stepping in just to get things done, but also to care for one another.
As the school semester ended, as leaders we thought it would be appropriate to have a mini-retreat and get away at a cabin out in west austin where we shared some things.
I think you can say that it all worked out in the end. I think the best summary was when the members prepared at end of the year video and expressed gratitude to the lifegroup and leaders alike.
What folks expressed to me represented God’s grace in a lot of ways because it felt undeserved and unsolicited. I think it was learning of God’s grace in our life. Receiving his love unsolicited and undeserved.
So now, as it formally ends with the school year, because every year lifegroups in undergrad gets shuffled… I am thinking how do we move on from it all? It just doesn’t seem right to form all these friendships in a span less than a year.
I did recall one of our bible studies when we were having discussions … I specifically shared that my vision for when lifegroup ends is that we would
Celebrate the memories we would have together.
But to not cling onto it.
I will end on this note. That though I am a leader. I acknowledge that Christ is the head of the church and he’s the ultimate leader, our great shepherd. None of these things would not have been possible if it weren’t for Him. I always need to be reminded because I know that if I were doing everything, oh boy, it would fall apart.