Guest Blogger: Richard Nason
Let me tell you a little story about a newborn Christian trying to find his way. My journey began much like many of you, realizing that the only way to survive in this world was reaching out for our Savior. It doesn’t matter how we came to Christ but that we did. I found an awesome church and felt quite at home here, feeling God’s spirit alive and well. Loved the Pastor, still do. (insert small chuckle) Attended the membership class and after much prayer and deliberation, finally expressed my faith through baptism. I had started to develop some acquaintances but not really allowing anyone to get too close because quite frankly I was never a people person. This was a great church but getting more involved was a step I was not sure I wanted to take. Up and to the right, hmmmm can I just go to the right!!!!
Then came the call for growth groups, small groups of fellow Christians gathering together to learn more about Christ. I knew that if I truly wanted Christ to enter deep into my heart I needed to learn and grow. So with much trepidation, I joined a group.
Now you might think dear reader that this is the end of the story and everyone learned happily ever after. Actually this is only the beginning of the tale because it never seems to go exactly as we perceive. My group was led by Rich Pancoast and one might think that any group led by Rich would be the most enjoyable and comfortable group that ever existed. Rich is one of those people who are so charismatic and full of energy and the love of Christ that you can’t help but be enthralled with a group that he is leading. But you need to remember that I am not a people person, never have been and certainly felt, never will be. I enjoyed the format but never quite felt at home. Now this was not Rich’s fault by any means. This was totally within myself and I quite honestly was relieved when the group was over and I knew I was never joining a small group again. I would continue to learn about Christ through service on Sunday and through my own personal research. As someone so eloquently stated, It was just not my season!
The ironic thing about being a Christian though is that you can’t do this alone. Though I really didn’t feel that growth groups were for me, I knew that in order to really come to know Christ I would have to do it with others. Even our Lord chose 12 others to join him immediately in His ministry knowing they would form the foundation of the early church. We are all in this together. So in order to become more involved with our church and truly become part of Fellowship I decided to give another growth group a try.
What developed this time around totally amazed me and this is why I am here now penning this story. I cannot tell you what was different, how it happened or even why it happened but I try and see the Lord’s hand in all I do and He must have known that I was struggling a bit on my own and needed a push in the right direction. I ended up developing some very deep relationships with others who have been there with me through my walk in Christ. These are men who I know love the Lord with all their heart and men I have had the privilege of coming to know and grown to love as brothers in Christ. Men who I can depend on and who will be there for me through thick and thin. I have been blessed beyond compare with their friendship and love.
Dear reader, this is a call to you to try a growth group and invest in yourself. We do not know when or how a relationship will develop but know that without trying you may never find the right fit. You might have tried a group before and it didn’t sit quite right with you. That is ok. It just wasn’t your season but please don’t think that your season will never come. As we walk together in the Lord our heart is constantly deepening in love for Christ and at some point in time we will be ready to accept the blessings that come from being involved deeply with others, expressing our faith together and growing in our love for our Savior and one another. We should not and must not be alone when troubles crash over us especially when there are others standing ready to support us as we try and keep our sanity.
Know this also, that every single Leader is there for you! Approach them and tell them how you feel. What is working for you and what is not. None of us will handcuff you to a chair to keep you there. Wait!!! What a great idea. (Just kidding and laughing to myself) How you decide to grow in Christ is most certainly up to you but we are here to help in any possible way that we can. Ask for help. Ask for prayers. Ask to speak privately. Ask for direction. Please always remember that each of us at some point was where you are now and we sincerely wish to help you grow in Christ. I cannot emphasize this enough, we are in this together!
So please give a Growth Group a try and if it is not the right one, well there is always next time. (Smile)