February 2006, the first time I walked into a room full of women gathered to study God's word together - not only with a bible but along with a book! The book, The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren - would begin a remarkable transformation of my faith life. Although, I only stayed with that first group for three years, recognizing the blessing of coming together on a weekly basis, now, in a very unlikely role, I am the host!
Although initially overwhelmed at the idea of hosting or even leading a group, the blessing it had been in my life was too great to let the fear keep me from providing this opportunity to others. The first real issue - the family vs company clean status of my home on any given day. My busy schedule and self confessed laziness made the idea of having a spotless home every week - daunting to say the least. Then came my fear of not knowing enough to be 'in charge', and lastly, what if no one wanted to come or I wasn't able to maintain a friendly environment. Sadly, I had seen friendships strained when faith belief's collide. All valid concerns but none insurmountable.
A quickly learned, true friends are cool with family clean (as long as they are not sticking to floor or furniture, and you've wiped down the bathroom things are cool), they weren't coming to see what I knew but to grow in relationship with Christ, and lastly, all you can do is treat people with love and respect. Over the last 7 years I have held small group book / bible studies at the parish, other people's homes and yes, even in my own dining room! While there may arise a difference here and there, we've managed to avoid fist-a-cuffs, so I can safely say all my fears have been completely unfounded!
So let me share my top 5 confidence boosters that I hope will inspire you to invite 7 (or so) friends to encounter God -- the Father, Son and Holy Spirit -- in a whole new way!!
BONUS tip -- you DO NOT need to know all the answers!! If you need to look something up - do it. If you need to check with your Pastor and get back to the group - do it! A facilitator is not a teacher - while you may have skills in that area, it is not necessary. As Joshua says, DO not be afraid, be bold and courageous, and as Nike says, Just Do It!
All Rights Reserved: Cover Photo and Contents - Allison Gingras, 2015
First appeared in conjunction to my discussion of Kelly Wahlquist's wonderful book, Created To Relate on A Seeking Heart - visit the original post for more on that awesome conversation!!