Almost two years ago, Mike and I made a commitment we didn’t think we’d ever make again.

In our early 20s, we helped start a church. As the church grew, it was incredible, yet the highs and lows of ministry also wore us down. We were young and ambitious, and truth be told, we lacked boundaries and fortitude. When we sensed it was time to let go and move on, God led us to a new church family.

We were surprised when it quickly felt like home. 

About a year after plugging in, the request came: Would we lead a small group? We were hesitant to say “yes,” but we knew it was right. So, together with another couple, we started a group on Tuesday nights.

It didn’t take long for us to find a nickname for our gathering: the “Westside.” 

The Westside Small Group

The Westside started out strong and it's only gotten stronger over two years. Just about every Tuesday night, you can find us gathered (in some form or fashion) to worship and study Scripture, eat (when safe), celebrate milestones, pray for one another and/or carry each other’s burdens.

We’re an interesting bunch, some of us are single and others are married; our ages span from being in our 30s to our 60s. But every time we gather, it’s incredible. It's powerful. 

“How are you?” is a genuine question that often sparks honest heart-level answers. The more we do church like this, the more I feel like I can picture what it was like in the early church.


Connecting and Continuing

The Westside has been an incredible blessing, and especially in a year where disconnecting would have been easier to do on some weeks. In light of Covid-19, our group made a commitment to meet on Zoom, and when safe, backyards and living rooms.

Most of our world will remember 2020 as a time marred with weakness and pain, and we've got our fair share of that. But, being part of this small home church community has brought us strength and more inner healing. 

Community Heals

A lot of times when we’re trying to survive something, we go looking inside ourselves for help. It's easy to isolate and push others out. And while a thorough introspection of our hearts is critically important, we won’t feel whole without other people. We're built for one another, for community. 

For strength to come and faith to survive, we must to let others in. We can’t survive hard things alone. You need a person, a group, and a tribe where you feel loved and like you belong. If have one today, celebrate. Thank God that you're surrounded with people who care. And if you don't, for whatever reason, may today be the day God puts you in in touch with people who see you and care. 

Prayer: God, I need community. It's how you designed us to live. Will you help me connect with other brothers and sisters in the faith? In Jesus' name. Amen.

And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. Hebrews 10:25 NLT

This devotional first appeared in the Monday Morning Survival Guide. Subscribe to get next Monday's devotional emailed to you.

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