Today our guest post comes from one of the students in Matt’s high school small group. Erick has an amazing story about how his faith has grown because of a small group. Erick is interning this year with the Membership Team At Saddleback Church. Here’s part one, check back tomorrow for part two.
It’s funny, today we are more connected through different media like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram but we feel more disconnected! One purpose of a small group is to have people speak into our lives when life sucks and to listen when something cool happens in someone’s life. The second purpose of having a small group is to belong in God’s family. When I think of my small group, I think of the second purpose, the purpose that keeps us together.
From the moment I could walk I wanted someone to help me every time I fell. When I got older I stopped falling onto concrete and started falling into things that hurt more. Lies, drugs, bad group of friends and porn. My friends wouldn’t pick up the phone when I was hurting-but they would text me to tempt me into making bad choices! In junior year of high school I asked myself, “are these people my friends, is this a friendship?”
That summer of my junior year, I made real friends for the first time! I felt a connection to these guys, they were different from me but had the similar problems. I had met them at camp (High School Ministry Camp), but I latched on to them because our cabin leader suggested staying as a small group
I wasn’t alone anymore. When we talked about struggles, our small group leader (Matt Reynolds) turned to the Bible for answers. He didn’t try to solve our problems; he gave us the opportunity to trust God through them. What stood out to me about my small group leader was that he took the time to have a one-on-one conversation with me whenever I needed to talk.
Here’s what my small group did for me this year:
I was challenged to live a Christ-like lifestyle. Every small group lesson is applicable to my life. Jesus is the center of our discussions and of the lessons. Most importantly, our small group leader reflects Christ’s love! High school guys don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. My small group leader always listens, focuses and relates to my struggle
I was comforted by belonging to a body of Christ. Like in 1 Corinthians 12:12, my small group is “not made up of one part but of many”. My small group has a spectrum of personalities. We have guys that are incredibly funny, popular, great abs (Matt Regueiro) quiet guys, awkward reserved guys. Each of us contributes something to the group. How? Accountability partners. The unique talent(s) and spiritual gift(s) of each guy is put to use through keeping a friend accountable
I was counseled when I shared a struggle. Small group was a safe place to share my R rated struggles. My leader’s advice came from the Bible, his own experience, or a Pastor’s quote. It was said with love, truth and to the point. A lot of times confessing my struggle was an opportunity for another guy to confess his! To give you an idea, here are three main reasons why I could share my struggles: 1. I wasn’t going to be judged or interrogated 2. My small group leader didn’t interrupt or give an “opinion” 3. A simple rule was set when we began small group: Whatever is shared in the small group, stays in the group
Check back tomorrow for part two!