Creating Community Right Where You Are
It had been about five years since I’d participated in a Bible study with a group of women and I missed it.
After moving to a new church a few years ago I still felt I lacked some community with the women in my church. With three services it was hard to get a chance to know anyone outside of my small group. And our small group had many people come and go due to moving out of state. Not to mention, homeschooling my kids meant as soon as they hit school age I could not attend the 10 a.m. weekday Bible studies my church offered.
So after thinking about it I decided, why not start one myself?
Don’t Wait for Perfect
I have discovered that the summer is the best time for me to do a Bible study because that’s when I have the most free time in my days. I learned this was true for a lot of women I knew in my small group and church. However, this is the time that most Bible studies take a break!
So I started a six-week Bible study using the online materials from the Simeon Course. It was at my home once a week and afterwards everyone was invited to stay and eat the lunches they packed for their families.
Our times together were not perfect. We didn’t all know each other. Toddlers interrupted. Kids got hurt playing in the yard. We got rained on during the first meeting when we tried to sit out on my deck. And speaking of my deck, it has chunks of paint peeling off of it and totally needs to be redone. It wasn’t picture perfect. But it worked.
We went from a group where everyone didn’t know each other to a group that was praying for each other as we went through some tough times in those six weeks, including the death of a grandparent and cancer diagnoses for close family members.
It’s often the case that others are looking for the same thing I’m looking for. In this case it was substantial Bible study, fellowship, and the ability to meet together in the summer. I wouldn’t have known that if I hadn’t taken the initiative to start asking and inviting others to join me. I’m so glad I did! I got to get to know other women in my faith community much better than I did before!
As Sally Clarkson says in her book Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe, “I have had to start almost every group to which I have ever belonged. One of the first lessons I learned was not to be discouraged if others did not invite me. In this individualistic culture where everyone is too busy and overwhelmed with life, the groups in which we find community will inevitably be the groups we start ourselves.”
So if you’re looking for community, don’t be afraid to be the one to create it yourself. You might be surprised that other people are looking for it too.