I’ll be honest, I don’t usually like community groups. And I especially don’t usually like hosting a community group. I’ve learned over the years though, that God has created Shawn and I to complement one another perfectly. Whereas I’m much more comfortable meeting someone one-on-one to talk/disciple/discuss/minister to, Shawn loves opening up our home for ministry.
So when Shawn approached me about hosting a community group, it took me a few minutes to sort through my initial reaction of groaning on the inside. And maybe a little on the outside, too.
I decided that I really had no good reason to NOT be open to hosting a group, and felt like this was one of those times I needed to submit to my husband’s spiritual leading. Plus, he promised to help clean.
So we went through a six week series with four other couples. As we were giving information about our group, we made mention that our home was very child-friendly. If our house is Bug and Bear-proofed, it can probably withstand most any other child, after all! We didn’t necessarily expect that each couple would bring ALL of their children to our group. So we were a rag-tag group of ten adults and thirteen kids.
Yeah, we were outnumbered.
Having so many kids in the house [we did our best to corral them upstairs and a couple of high school students volunteered to help make sure nobody killed each other] was understandably chaotic. Our discussions were often interrupted with a child needing his parents, a baby needing changed, a hungry little person, refusals to share, or even someone attempting to throw toys over the banister onto an adult’s head.
After six weeks of our house being torn up every Friday, we discovered something though. It was a hot mess of chaos every week, but it was beautiful chaos. Shawn and I began opening our hearts to the other couples, and fellowship flowed in a way I’ve rarely seen. Instead of thinking about all the cleaning, prepping, and cooking I needed to do to get ready for our guests, I found myself getting excited to share in victories and even discuss failures.
[For our last gathering before the summer break, we grilled out at our house and had water play set up for the kiddos.]
[Bear found the birthday cupcakes and helped himself.]
We ended up committing to another six weeks, and even to meeting again as a group in the fall. It’s a little crazy, but I miss our little group when we go more than two weeks without seeing each other. In our first 12 weeks together, one couple announced a pregnancy, another couple got married and blended a family of four little ones, two couples were baptized, and Shawn and I?
…we were changed. Definitely beautiful chaos.