[Today was Kappa Phi & Small Group Emphasis Sunday. Our theme was “A Loving Faith” which is one part of our three-part discipleship strategy to have a loving faith, a learning faith, and a living faith. The services were led by Dave Bayless, one of our Leadership Board members who is also a small group facilitator for one of our seven small groups. Members of Kappa Phi who meet in our church also helped lead the services. Below are some of the highlights which were many from our day.]
[Dave Bayless offered the sermon in which he encouraged people to get involved in our of our small groups. We are especially encouraging people to join a small group for our 7-week season of Lent series, “My Fears Relieved” which begins the week of March 10. For a complete list of our small groups, click here. Dave concluded his sermon with this thought about the importance of being involved in a small group. He also offered these quotes from people who are currently involved in a small group through our church.]
Meeting with our very small group has become important to me.
Through Small Group, I feel reaffirmed in my halting spiritual path.
Our leader prays aloud in such a beautiful way. Also, I like to observe him because he is a master at giving affirmations. He always has a compliment, a caring question or word of support. He is a good model for me. I thought I was a fairly positive person but his active listening and proactive style of interaction teaches me much.
Another member of our group sometimes shares struggles he has had in his difficult life. He reminds me that life is not easy for many people. He broadens my view of the world. I am reminded anew of the many ways I have been blessed through the talents, situations, family and relationships God has given me.
Another member of our group helps those at the fringes of our society. I admire his willingness to reach out and care for those whose lives are so very complicated by hungry, poverty, drugs, abuse, and incarceration. He shows God’s love to and prays for people in extreme need. I question my own willingness to self-sacrifice my comfortable life-style.
Members of my Small Group cause me to do some soul-searching. I admire them and see their actions as expressions of God’s love. They show me different ways to be more Christ-like. I have much to learn from them.
I like the opportunity to meet with Christian friends who know me in depth. Who understand my fears, and why I am afraid. Who understand my doubts and why I doubt. Who understand my hopes and the reason for my hopes.
Participating in a small group has helped me have a more loving faith:
> when we plan and host a Lindley Inn Service and speak with and sit with the residents;
> when we send greeting cards and valentines to members who are in care facilities or cannot easily leave their homes;
> when we discuss questions on a given sermon and share our thin place moments;
> when we gather together as a small group for a potluck dinner
Small group helps me stay grounded in my faith. No matter my mood or how my week has been, our small group helps me re-focus and appreciate so much about life and our faith experience.
Small group for me is an opportunity to sit with friends in a non-threatening setting to listen and share and learn from each other.
We start each session with prayer followed by sharing important events, both positive and negative that are impacting our lives, a :"soul check" if you will.
We share achievements and also disappointments and by doing so move towards a "peace" that arises from growing to understand that despite what we might individually think is an enormous overwhelming situation or condition in our own lives or in the lives of others important to us, by sharing with others, the "me" in the situation, becomes the "we." By sharing, we learn that triumphs and tribulations are shared by all, that we all have good days and bad days, We learn that we all have health issues, that we all have regrets, that we all have memories of what seemed like simpler, more peaceful, less complicated times with parents and friends and family. Sometimes I arrive at small group carrying something that puzzles me deeply, that I can come to understand better as a result of the insight or experiences of another small group member.
Through Pastor Robert's sermon questions, we get the opportunity to share personal reflection and through the group give-and-take come to better understand scripture and the enigma that the Bible sometimes seems to be.
Small group gives me a chance to get to know and talk with folks that I wouldn’t normally see on a regular basis. It’s interesting and encouraging and sometimes convicting to hear what the group members have to contribute each time we meet. Our loving faith is exercised as we discuss how we experience God’s love for us,
how we show our love for God, and how we share God’s love with those around us.
Small group is anchors me in my faith and to the church. It is the place where I can openly discuss my faith with other Christians; I support them and am supported by them. There is so much love in this group for which I am grateful. It is an important extension of our church.
The members of our small group quickly became friends and felt comfortable sharing feelings, experiences and support that came from the heart. As we got to know each other we began a faith journey together to support each other through death of family members, cancer, family problems and illness. We have become ”a faith family” that helps us experience God’s love through our interactions with each other and serving together when we are monthly hosts at the welcome coffee time. Each day we walk with God but we also know that our small group is praying for each other especially when our journeys take us on rocky paths. Thank you for creating the small groups and I hope more people will benefit from these faith communities in the future.
[One of the Kappa Phi members offered her testimony on how Kappa Phi and Athens First help her to have a more loving faith.]
[Not only was this a Kappa Phi & small group emphasis Sunday, we were also celebrating our church’s 61st anniversary of the first worship service in our current building as well as our 2nd anniversary since the completion of the remodeling of our building. Our Chancel Choir sang “The Color Purple” which they also beautifully presented for our special service two years ago.]
[Kappa Phi sang, “Lord I Need You” to help remind us that this is at the heart of what it means to have a loving faith.]
[Kappa Phi members with Pastor Robert for our Kappa Phi/Small Group Emphasis Sunday]
[We had plenty of worship greeters this morning!]