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Advent Small Groups | Shannon Lisenby

As published in the July 11 & 18 edition of The Adventurer.

A Strong Community Where Meaningful Relationships Form

I’ve thought a lot about community lately.  As COVID restrictions required us to spend time alone, or with immediate family only, separated from the outside world, community was missing.  God intends for us to live in community.  When God created each part of our world, he declared it to be good, but, when he saw Adam alone, he saw that this was “not good,” so God created Eve and, in doing so, God created community.  We are created to be in community with God and with each other.

Jesus valued community.  If you think about it, Jesus was part of a small group with his disciples.  Through his ministry and time with the disciples, Jesus modeled for us an ideal small group: it included scripture-based lessons; application of scripture to life through Jesus’s parables; conversations wrestling with difficult passages of scripture; spiritual encouragement; an occasional correction or rebuke when necessary; group worship; and breaking bread together. Through their time and study together, Jesus and the disciples formed deep relationships, and the disciples’ relationships with God were deepened and strengthened. 

The same is true of Advent small groups today.  Coming together regularly to read and study the Bible, wrestling with the Word, and applying it to daily struggles alongside fellow believers, creates a strong and deep community among small group members.  And, when members are willing to be honest and vulnerable, meaningful friendships and relationships form.

When life is rocky, it is to those relationships forged in a love of our Lord that we turn.  Our small group has been a gift to Jeff and to me.  Having the opportunity to walk alongside other couples and learn about scripture, pray for each other, laugh and cry together, talk about parenting, go for walks, watch football, swap recipes, and, generally, just “do life” together with a shared love of God is a blessing.

If you have not joined a small group, now is the time.  Community with our Lord and with your fellow parishioners is waiting for you.

This summer we are working on forming new groups that will begin in the fall. Please contact Fontaine Pope (Fontaine@CathedralAdvent.com, 205-443-8562) if you are interested in joining one.

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