Shortly after we began attending Northstar in the summer of 2015, my husband and I set out to find a small group to join. Having grown up in the church and been involved in a college ministry, neither of us were strangers to the concept of small groups. We had one primary goal in finding a small group: to make friends at a similar stage in life as us. All of our friends had recently graduated and moved away, so we quickly looked to find newlywed friends in order to ensure that we didn’t get stuck in our married bubble, just the two of us. Little did we know that by joining our small group we wouldn’t just make friends, we would also experience authentic fellowship, receive an abundance of encouragement, be challenged in our marriage and personal walks with Christ, and learn how to serve. All we wanted was some friends, but we got so much more.
We have been a part of our small group for almost two years now and it is amazing how much the friendships and community have grown from awkward small talk to vulnerability and honest conversation. During these two years, we have been blessed immeasurably more than we could have ever imagined. We have been surrounded by young married couples who love each other, but more importantly, love the Lord, and encourage us to do the same. They have shown us what authentic fellowship feels like in very tangible ways, bringing Acts 2:42-47 and Acts 4:32-35 to life.
Like the naïve people that we sometimes are, my husband and I didn’t expect to experience any real hurtles in our first couple years of marriage–of course we were wrong. When we began to experience a “rough patch” in which we struggled to think of date ideas and really even have fun together, I shared our struggle with the other wives from our small group. A couple weeks later, to our amazement and gratitude, our small group stepped in and gave us a gift card so that we could spend quality time with one another. Even more recently, when we decided we didn’t have the extra money at the time to attend the Mingling of Souls Marriage Retreat, a couple in our small group stepped up and offered to pay for us to go. It’s amazing how this group of young married people has encouraged us so much in the past two years. They have taught us time and time again to be vulnerable, prioritize our marriage, and most importantly, to pursue God above all. I personally have been extremely blessed by our weekly wives’ prayer time, in which the women of our small group come together to share our hearts and pray for our husbands. I never imagined I would have a group of women I could openly share my heart and struggles with like this.
Now that I’m done bragging on my small group, I would like to encourage you to take that step: join a small group. Yes, it could be awkward at first (it was for us, but we are just awkward people, so that could have something to do with it…), but the authentic community you will experience will bless you in ways you could not have imagined.
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their home and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.” –Acts 2:42-47