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Have you ever been on the touchline or sideline of a game? Standing, watching, willing your team to win but unable to join in yourself! While your team is losing it’s the most frustrating place to be; when your team is winning it’s an amazing experience. That’s been my experience while I’ve been sick over the last three months. This year has been quite a rollercoaster for the Holley family; what began as a house renovation project that went badly wrong ended in me having more than three months off work with a mystery condition that left me with long bouts of nausea and extreme fatigue.
Wonderfully it looks like we are through the worst of it and, as I write this, we are working on a plan for me to be fully back in the near future. But it will always go down now as a year never to be forgotten. We’ve learned so many things but one lasting lesson was while I was out of action, God’s family was not. I found such joy in hearing the stories of lives changed through our Missional Communities, Life Groups and other parts of our community.
A woman who was recently baptised after one group met her in the town centre, encouraged her with words from God and led her back to Jesus. A group who cared for a young family with a new baby desperately ill in hospital. Impact in the prisons. A group who gave generously to a member in financial crisis. I love the fact that God’s kingdom is always advancing and that we are all part of these victories because we’re one body, one family! This is what the church was born to be!
In this new season we’re changing the way that people join groups. Our leaders have found in the past that having it possible for people to join or leave at any point in the year means that it’s hard to build a sense of family or know who is part of the group in that season. It also meant that we couldn’t really run short term groups for, say, just one term as there was no easy way to get the message out without it getting lost in the noise. It also meant that when joining a group people felt they had to join for life; a commitment that was too much for many.
So, over the next year we’re experimenting with having three distinct periods to join or leave groups during the year. At the beginning of each term we’ll have a two week period where we’ll advertise all of the groups that will run that term. Some groups will be ongoing and some will run just for one term. Everyone will then have the information at the same time and can sign up for a group knowing that they are just committing for the term ahead. We’re hoping that it will mean that many more types of groups will be available and that many more people will feel the call to join in, be part of family and get on mission together. This term you can sign up online between Friday 4th and Thursday 17th September, or during services on Sunday 6th and 13th September. So, if like me, you've been on the sidelines for some reason and not got stuck in with a group then I'd urge you to take this great opportunity to join in! Enjoy!
Click here for the Group Life booklet with this terms groups.