How do you attend church? Do you attend church on a Sunday morning? Do you watch a live-stream of your church from home or is a Wednesday night your day of preference? Do you simply go, say your hellos and then leave, or have you plugged in to several smaller communities within your church?
No matter the size of your church, one of my most favorite things about “church” these days is the small group my husband and I attend. I find most churches have some sort of family group system in order. Some may call it a family group, a discipleship group or lifegroup, but I like to call them my family away from family.
Let me start by saying I am admittedly an extreme homebody. My family and where they all reside (NE Oklahoma, God’s country) are extremely important to me. Now, consider the fact that I live two hours and more than 90 miles away from them. It might not seem like a lot to most people, but at times, it feels like I might as well be across the country.
Stay with me as I elaborate, I promise I have a point, and this isn’t as random as it seems…
Last night was the Super Bowl, a night I generally don’t care about, aside from the fellowship, food and fun that can be had when a large group of people gather for a special occasion. This is the perfect instance in which at least some of my family members might gather, but not an instance in which one would drive hours away on a Sunday night.
Enter my church family. Our family group is made up of six or seven families, all within the same stages of life. Our ages vary slightly, but for the most part, we are all beginning families or raising young ones, together.
Each Sunday night we meet at the same house and study the Bible, as well as spend time together talking about what’s going on in our lives, laughing at and with each other as well as adoring each other’s precious babies and children. These are the people I consider my family, and I wouldn’t have them if it weren’t for our church, or the big “C” Church.
Aside from my family, these are the people I rejoice life’s victories alongside. These are the people I run to, asking for prayer when burdens become too heavy to bear on my own. These are the people whom I ask questions about how to face some of life’s challenges, and I know their answers are rooted in Scripture and Love. These people are whom I think God intended the earthly Church to be.
I often think where would I be without these Sunday evenings together, or shopping trips the girls in our group take, or the baby showers we throw often (because we are singlehandedly repopulating our church due to our stage of life, HA!)? I don’t know, and I don’t want to know, but I have our home church to thank for all of these wonderful people and their families.
Because my husband and I got plugged into our church more than just attending on a Sunday morning, we found family that we never anticipated finding. We have found a group of believers, somewhat alike but all different in our own way, that get to stand alongside each other as we navigate this world as believers.
Together we get to be love to other families in need, share things we wouldn’t share with just anyone and we get to grow in our faith, which I think is the reason we have become so close.
I say all of this to urge you to find your place in your home church. If your church doesn’t have family groups, start one of your own! I think you will be amazed at how the Lord can bond a group of people who start as strangers, to be some of the people you treasure most in this world. This is how we multiply as disciples and go into the world and replicate the process of disciple-making, by stepping outside of the physical walls of our church buildings, and living God-honoring lives in community with each other. Be more than just a church-goer!