A Place to Belong

by Lisa Phillips

I had attended Grace Family Church for six months and enjoyed the weekly messages.  However, Pastor Craig always stressed the importance of connecting to a small group.  I really didn’t have any friends at church so I thought, “Why not give it a try?”

I decided to attend the Beautiful Kickoff Celebration on a Monday night in 2011.  As the day approached, I became somewhat apprehensive.  Being a sales rep, I am usually outgoing.  But after a hard day at work, it’s easy for me to withdraw.  Other negative thoughts came to mind.  What if I don’t like it?  What if I don’t have anything in common with others in my group?  If I decide to quit, will leaders contact me and make me feel guilty?  Looking back, it seems so silly to have had such insecurities, but I know that was the Enemy trying to influence me.

From the moment I walked into the lobby, I was greeted by warm, smiling faces.  Hundreds of women, from all ages and backgrounds, gathering together.  Wow!  What a dramatic change from the stressful workplace I just left!

We moved into the sanctuary to have worship, listen to a special message, and meet leaders for small table discussions.  I left that evening feeling so refreshed and having a sense of belonging.

As each week approached, I eagerly anticipated my Beautiful Monday Night.  This was an appointment I wanted to keep.  I could leave my troubles in the parking lot, and in a short amount of time become renewed and refocused.  The weekly messages were so powerful and relevant to my life.  Women were open and honest in sharing their life stories, in order to help and encourage others.  Anything and everything could be discussed at the small group table.  No judgment was passed;  only love and support.

We all go through so many challenges in life.  Conflict in relationships, health issues, financial pressures and other matters can all bring you down.  Through small group, I am reminded that God is with us every step of the way.  He wants to have a relationship with us and can ease our burdens.  When we focus on God’s word in our daily life, our struggles become more manageable.  Attitudes change when you trust God and look to him for solutions. 

Uplifting, encouraging and inspiring are the words I use to describe small groups.  The opportunity to strengthen my relationship with Jesus, while connecting to my sisters in Christ.  A place where I truly feel the presence of God and his amazing love.  I hope you join one today!

On Monday, Aug. 27, we will kick off the fall semester of Beautiful small groups. Join us in the GFC lobby at 7 p.m. for food and fellowship. You’ll also have an opportunity to find a small group that’s just right for you. Questions? Contact us at beautiful@gfconline.com.

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