Let me explain.
New Life has been meeting for about eight months now with no break and I have loved every minute of it!
You know me…I love life groups. That’s one of my greatest passions, to say the least, but this group was different than any other I have experienced in the past.
I’ve been thinking about it all day and night and I wanted to share part of our experience.
I will start with a confession.
Almost two years ago, for about six years, I led a life group EVERY season in our church. It is what I did. You couldn’t have gotten me to actually join a life group because I LEAD.
But even deeper, I had come to lead in a way that I put myself above the people that came to the group. I genuinely cared about people but I did not love them well. It’s hard to love people well when you come to them from a position of assumed superiority. I don’t believe that I thought that I was better than them but I took that position at times because of the leadership role that I was in.
In my mind, a leader was supposed to be superior.
If you were ever in any of my previous life groups, please hear me…I’m so sorry for being that kind of leader! It hurts me that I carried myself in that way. I was blind to it while I was in it. I’m surprised the LORD allowed me to go on for as long as I did with that kind of pride and arrogance.
So when New Life started, it was very important to me that I, first, confess what I had done in the past and express that I never wanted to lead in this way EVER again.
In the beginning, Jeff and I prayed for this group and decided that our home would be the place New Life would meet and each person or couple that participated in New Life would take turns facilitating.
Jesus would be the Ultimate Leader always. Jeff and I had already made a commitment to be students of God’s Word forever and it would start right here in this group…in our home.
What a beautiful…beautiful thing that was to me. As each person/couple took turns facilitating, we learned so much. Not only that, but HOW each person facilitated was so encouraging. Everyone brought something different to the table. They were encouraged and accepted and then they blossomed in the LORD.
Some had never led before and were a nervous wreck but, in faith, they stepped out of their comfort zone and I saw them grow in confidence right before my eyes as they realized they could actually do this.
Let me define THIS…they could sit before a large group of people and talk about God’s Word without feeling like an idiot. People fear speaking out sometimes…especially if they perceive that there is someone in the room who has ALL the answers. Trust me…NO ONE but GOD has all the answers so we just need to get over ourselves.
New Life became a safe place for people to be real, transparent, honest, and, most importantly, loved.
Oh how convicted I was that I had hindered people from doing this before as a leader in the church. It’s no wonder people just let the same people keep doing everything in the church.
You wonder why people don’t step up and volunteer?? It’s because the leaders tend to make the “regular” people feel like they just haven’t quite obtained that kind of power/knowledge/status yet.
Worse to me, is that some leaders (including me in the past) think we can judge what someone’s heart looks like before we will “allow” them to serve. You don’t make decisions like that! It is wrong. It is sin.
I can’t believe I’m going say this but…I thank the LORD that He disciplined me and allowed me to see my sin and to FEEL what that sin does to people.
The LORD has taught me that we are all the same…NO ONE is better than another person, I don’t care what your position or title is or how many theology books you have read.
Yes–we need structure. Yes–there are people who are called to lead…BUT never in a way that you put yourself above another person, thinking that your heart is better than another’s.
Jeremiah 17:9 (ESV) The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?
Please forgive me.
So New Life grew as a body…united in Christ…all of us beautifully and wonderfully made, loved and chosen, all of us delighted in…all of us different but all of us the same…children of God.
For eight months…everyone kept coming. The more we grew in Jesus, the more our walls came tumbling down. When you find out that everyone is the same and your actions prove it by how you love one another, people want more…because it’s what we long for…to be loved and delighted in.
As the walls turned to rubble and were cleared away…lives outside of New Life’s regular gatherings began to be interwoven…loving one another, helping one another, praying for one another, caring for children, bringing meals, cleaning houses, visiting hospitals….
More and more and more…
Then…my favorite part…people started wanting and asking for accountability in the LORD…male AND female…”help me stay on the right path.” Like…FOR REAL! And it’s already happening! People are actively involved in each other’s lives outside the group setting! Learning from each other, learning and growing in the LORD together.
I’ve talked about accountability before in church but I’ve never see it done very well. It’s freeing. I know that may sound strange but it truly is freeing!
I think people worry that asking for accountability means….I will be stalking you outside your living room window, ready to pounce on you like a cheetah as soon as you make a wrong move.
Accountability is not about confrontation. Yes, there may be times of confrontation but accountability is more about challenging one another to grow in Christ–for our good and for His Glory.
I love the New Life community…I am already excited about our next time together!
If you read this and you long for this kind of community, contact me!
This is no clique…we welcome you…
Here, you will meet a bunch of different people from a bunch of different churches…
yet…all the same…
seeking to love the LORD with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind and with all our strength and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves (Mark 12:30-31)