WordServe is amazing. It’s a small church with a family feel, and a big reason for that is community groups. Community group is where we have experienced the most depth, challenge, and growth in our faith. We have learned two big lessons in our five years at WordServe for thriving in community.
First, we had to have realistic expectations for authentic relationships. Sometimes the impression can be that as soon as you enter a community group, you will have an instant, fully-invested community. To be honest, we were not always perfectly thriving in our groups. Groups, like friendships, can be tough and take time to grow. Brand new groups, especially, struggle at first to find their groove. We were in a few different community groups, and while they were each wonderful, they were not yet home.
During this time, God worked on our hearts and developed us in exciting and unexpected ways. Meg, for example, works in a male-dominated field and was more comfortable talking to men than women for years! Through community group she formed strong bonds with the women she met and learned that her true home was with these wildly wonderful, faith-filled ladies. Through their support, she gained the courage and vision to begin attending seminary at Houston Baptist University. Matt entered community group young in his faith walk. When he started engaging with other men, especially in men’s group, and receiving the loving accountability, support, and encouragement that comes from their camaraderie, he made great strides in his maturity and his faith. Through their wisdom and support, he gained a stronger faith foundation and greater courage that ultimately led to him stepping into his role at WordServe as youth leader.
Our second big lesson… we realized we have to be courageous enough to ask for help when we need it. A dangerous, unwritten expectation can be that if we have a prayer request or discuss a need, people will automatically assume we need help and offer it. When we needed help the most, we were so busy trying to survive that we failed to ask for help from those who would’ve been most willing to give it. Outside looking in, we had it all together! This left us floundering instead of diving deeper into what community means – asking for help and being there for one anther in all of life’s circumstances in both struggles and celebrations.
God finally led us to our homes in the men’s and women’s groups. While these groups have grown and changed, their hearts for God and for each other have stayed the same. Even when we have had to step back from attending the group, we have kept our relationships with members and continued to engage them in our faith and personal lives. These men and women are people we feel we could reach out to with any need and receive support. They are the body of Christ to us.
-Matt & Meg Lewis