We have described small groups at LC3 as “the church scattered in homes throughout our community.” We have called them “church families on a mission.” We have explained, small groups are the place where the rest of Christianity takes place – outside the walls of the weekend gatherings.
Our small groups’ mission is, “To make disciples who make disciples in relational environments.”
ALL of these adages proved true this Winter/Spring, and it is time to praise God and share the joy of testimonies to His goodness in our small groups at LC3. Enjoy these photos and testimonies!
Quotes from Members about the Year
Small Group Members were asked to describe their favorite aspects of being in Christian community with their small group this year, with many different answers given:
It has been a wonderful small group year. God constructed a loving inter-generational group for us whom has allowed themselves to be vulnerable and supportive for each other.
We have developed a sense of family and caring for each other.
Watching the biblical expression of 2 Corinthians 1:4 being lived out in our group as we have comforted each other through loss and trial.
Just the volume of answered prayer and the high percentage that were positive answers. There is so much trust and intimacy in the group.
It’s been another great year of joining together and sharing our anguish, struggles, and praises with studies of God’s word away to help us through! Getting to know each other more deeper n make richer relationships with each other so rich that we don’t want to stop seeing each other even through the summer! I appreciate these fellowship and Christians that I have to run to when I need help.
Fun, fellowship, friendships, support, ministry, and spiritual growth! It has been a highlight of my week, something to look forward to.
It’s been great. We have grown spiritually, our relationships with the group have grown greatly, and we were challenged by the topics. We look forward to next year.
We have appreciated our leaders’ faithful and wonderful leadership, their hospitality week after week to us just means so much. They serve so very well as a team and we are blessed to be in their group and lives!
I think we began to bond through the weeks when we met separately and could discuss the lessons in the smaller group setting. There was some very thought provoking material in the 10 Dumb Things Smart Christians Believe and we had some great discussions. We are a very diverse group, but through these times we have come to care better for one another and encourage and support one another. I truly look forward to our gatherings together!
I have found our small group instrumental for my personal growth. The Holy Spirit is working for sure, just not in the way “I want”. Ha ha. Holy Spirit is wonderful. My growth is slow, but sure.
It means a lot to me to have the spiritual support of my small group. I love the prayer support. It also strengthens my walk with God to study His Word together. They are family to me. We follow that scripture, “Bear ye one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
It has been another great year of learning God’s word with other fellow believers in Christ and sharing grace and peace with one another.
We feel privileged to belong to a small group. In a big church such as ours it is a way to establish a core of fellow believers we can really get to know. Also, it has been a blessing to experience the different teaching styles that we have been exposed to.
Quotes from Leaders
Our Leaders were asked the question: “What were the most meaningful things God did in your group this year?” They answered:
Learning of a member’s decision to follow Christ and then baptizing them together was a highlight! Also, the rotation of members leading discussions from week to week.
We have seen significant growth in some newer believers, and enjoyed the camaraderie and influence of the missionaries in the group. Men going through book Family Driven Faith has been great, too.
Seeing our steady group members grow in the Lord as they practice Bible intake and Prayer.
Seeing how much the group members enjoy social time together and supporting each other in prayer.
The Prayer Echo app has been instrumental in keeping in touch and praying for each other throughout the week. Attending the Desert Auction as a small group.
Getting 3 of my guys to come out for man camp. Getting our silent members to open up.
Six of our group are on the KAN Team. We have spent hundreds of hours developing and implementing the project along with other KAN Team members. Organizing the dessert auction was rewarding.
We were able to support each other. Four husbands passing into heaven this year, and one new marriage, plus many medical issues, etc
We held an outreach luncheon for some of the ladies of LC3. It was amazing how God provided for every need including a golf cart to help shuttle the ladies down our long narrow driveway. What a blessing.
The group continued to thrive, even though we had to pull away for medical reasons. I am so proud of the entire group.
We had some answered prayer requests with the arrival of a baby, a good report from a biopsy, success in many ministries and personal endeavors that required prayer, and the safe return of several spouses away for military training. All of these answered prayers we give God the glory and appreciate that He allowed us to contribute prayers for Him to answer.
We all grew closer together like a mini-church family as we prayed for and practically helped each other through crises in our lives whether it was physical, spiritual, or just battling Satan.
Since we only started in January, was pleased to see how quickly the group coalesced into a cohesive group – celebrated with each other in baptism, salvation of family members, success at work; prayed each other through loss of parent, cancer surgery, and difficult seasons at work and with family. Confronted issues in our personal walks with Christ that needed attention and began working on those areas.
A deeper connection as a group and real service occurring within the group. Each family with children had real struggles with their kids and were able to share these struggles with the group. Tremendous trust and care for one another flowed from each struggle shared. I was very glad to see this and it made me very thankful to be part of this group.
God sent people to our group who need to know Jesus. Pray for them and for us! We were able to witness extensively.
Two Special Stories
Much more happens in our small groups than ever gets reported. So, when stories are shared, we want to share them with everyone! Two special stories help describe the kind of semester it was.
1. A Memorable Homeless Thanksgiving Dinner
The Cameron Group hosted their second annual homeless Thanksgiving dinner this year, and asked another small group leader, David Wilcox, to give the message. Ali writes about the day:
It went really well. The numbers of our homeless friends’ attendance has been dwindling since the city is displacing them further back into the woods and away from the city. But, about 20-ish homeless folks came through during the couple hours. David shared a brief message that especially captured a couple of the men that stayed to listen. One of them asked for a Bible afterwards. We were able to send leftover food home with Mary (seen in the last pic in the purple sweater), who lives on the west side of Olympia and feeds the folks regularly. That’s a huge blessing for her and them.
Probably my favorite story from the day was that one of our close friends, Chris, who is a homeless heroin dealer, got out of jail that day and came straight to the park and ate with us. He was able to get clean and sober in jail and had a clarity of mind to realize he needs God’s help to straighten out his life. He wants to start going to church and start working his way out of the death lifestyle. Please pray for him and his girlfriend Janet. Our vision is to see him leading a church outdoors at the park. He said he valued our Bible studies and presence there over the years and would love to see a church there. There’s a fantastic church near the park, but since taking Perspectives, I see that the barriers are many for the folks on the streets attending that church.
Here are some pics:
2. Ongoing Outreach Ministry
The VBS Group not only enjoyed great Bible study and loving leadership from their leaders Eric and Julie, they also performed a regular outreach ministry together, which Lynn A. describes:
On February 7, we returned to Peoples Retirement Center to celebrate Valentines Day with the residents. 20 or so residents as well as 4 or 5 staff members attended our little gathering. Three of the residents who attended our December celebration were also in attendance on the 7th.
Fred and Mae B., Jim M., Eric and Julie V, as well as Larry and myself took treats and card to those who attended. Eric gave a devotion that included the historical background of St. Valentine and then shared how much God loved them. Our small group members visited with the residents. A few residents are interested in pursuing a regularly scheduled Bible Study. Our small group is considering how this will fit with our group meetings and our busy schedules. We will be praying for God to work out the details for this Bible Study.
Our small group will be returning to Peoples during Holy Week to share the good news of Christ’s death and resurrection.
Yours in Christ,
Lynn Allport for Eric VBS
To Our Coaches
Our small group coaches this year were Tony Oury, Joe Devine, Catlan Sardina, Tim Hayes, Kelsey Underwood, Eric Wylie, and me. This team was on fire this semester, from the January training (which the coaches led), and bringing the coaching ministry to a new level this year, to the ongoing devoted relational ministry they gave to the leaders throughout the year. Thank you, brothers and sister, for your ministry partnership!
Our Year-End Party
In mid-June we enjoyed our annual Year-End Leader Party once again, with good fellowship, food, games, recognition, and praise. To God be all the glory, and we are thankful that He shares so much with His Church – His family – His children whom He has purchased through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Most groups take the summer off, though several various summer connection opportunities at LC3 can be found on our website, here.
What does 2018-19 hold? Only God knows, but we will do our best to find out!
For His glory and our joy,