Garry was the first person to greet me at the first Life Group I visited before starting my new pastoral role of recruiting, training and coaching Life Group leaders. Without knowing who I was, Garry went out of his way to make me feel welcome. I assumed he was one of the leaders. He wasn’t. He told me he loved his Life Group so much he wanted others to experience the same.
Six months later, thanks to Garry (and others) who made newcomers feel welcomed, his Life Group had grown so large, they had no choice but to multiply. The way healthy Life Groups grow, while retaining healthy friendships, is by always keeping their doors opened and always making room for more people. Healthy Life Groups function like healthy churches. In Acts 2:42, we are told, they devote themselves “to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Furthermore, Luke tells us, “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” (Luke 2:46-47). This accurately described Garry’s Life Group.
Although reluctant when first approached, Garry and his wife, Brenda, began co-leading a second expression of their same Life Group, meeting at the same time on the same evening with many of the same people – only they were meeting in a second home. Garry’s Life Group really took off. They even attracted some non-believers who over the months became believers in Jesus. God was moving!
Fast-forward seven years, and Garry and Brenda were still co-leading their Life Group when Brenda was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Within days of her diagnosis, she was hospitalized. Garry was distraught and frightened over his bride’s demise. Without prompting, Garry’s Life Group took turns cooking meals for him, while regularly visiting and praying with Brenda in the hospital. Just a few months ago, after her short six-month battle, Brenda went to be with Jesus. Through it all, and still today, Garry tells me he wouldn’t be doing as well as he is without the ongoing love and support of his Life Group, whom he considers his extended family.
Isn’t it time you too come into community? Join or lead a Life Group HERE.