So, after a year of Zoom Small Group meetings, parties, a partial study (that failed, btw), and even a baby shower, we are planning the Spring-Summer Bible Study…in-person.
Actual people, in an actual room, having organic conversation with no screens, no time-delay, and no “what did you say, I didn’t catch that?” But, real, live humans, meeting together, discussing the Bible and God and all things related to Him. I’m beyond excited!
And, I have to owe it ALL to Him. Because, this group study almost wasn’t.
After my group co-leader stepped down for personal reasons, I actually considered stepping away myself and dissolving the group. I’ve been doing this same group with different co-leaders and different members for over six years now. I could certainly justify that it was time for a new venture.
I spoke with my accountability partner about it, and she, of course, asked me (as you are, likely, asking, too), “Did you pray about it?”
She agreed that it sounded like it might be time to step away, but she encouraged me to ask first. Yeah, I needed to pray about it. So, I did. And, I let it ride. With Covid, there’s no time pressure to reconvene with personal groups and meetings. Having a blank calendar has been one benefit, to me, of the pandemic. I’ve become very judicious about what I put back onto it. Having more time to do things, means I’m doing less things, only better, instead of the opposite.
I actually expected God to go along with my theory that my time with group was done. I thought everything would simply fall into place and God would say to me, “Sure, take a rest, you’ve done good work!” I actually didn’t think much about it, after I prayed.
Then a group member, with whom I’ve developed a closer relationship recently, invited me to meet her for lunch. Great, I thought, that’s something I WANT on my calendar.
Over sushi, she offered to become my new co-leader of the group.
Thanks, God. Prayer answered. Not what I was expecting, but something about running a group with her instantly energized me. I felt uplifted and happy. I felt like there was still work to be done with the group, and that we could make a difference in the women’s lives. I felt the Holy Spirit give me direction and buoyancy all at once. I was alight with hope.
To test the waters, after securing solidarity with my yet-to-be-publicly-official co-leader, I sent out a poll to the group. One thing that had been mentioned, in our group chat and on Zoom, was doing an intensive Bible Study, one where we dive into Scripture. We’ve always shied away from deep studies with homework because of “people’s schedules.” But, in the pandemic age, “people’s schedules” aren’t as full, and their need for God is great.
In the poll, I asked, “Would you be willing to do an intensive study with daily homework, prayer and reading?” Nine of us are on board, two would like more information, one is not ready to meet back in person, and two have yet to respond. And, that’s astounding! Usually, for group polls, I get about four responders, so I was totally stoked that people not only took the poll, but they want an in-depth study. How cool is that?!?
People are hungry for contact. They are hungry for a deeper understanding of Scripture. God is moving actively in our lives, in our groups, in our connections. We need only ask for His participation.
I lacked energy, motivation and inspiration. I was spent, and “so done” with group. I was ready to end it. But, instead of taking the easy way out, “’cause of Covid, ya know,” I took the harder step and asked for guidance. I waited for an answer, which I was sure would end in a plug pull. Instead, there was a spark!
God gave me the energy that I didn’t have. He gave me the motivation that I lacked. He gave me the inspiration that seemed out of my grasp. These weren’t things I brought to the table. In fact, I collapsed on the table. He brought me a co-leader to take some of the burden and bring fresh perspective. He rejuvenated the group, inspiring members to wish connection not only with each other, but with Him.
God did the work. He just needed someone to follow His lead. Even someone who had already given up, yet still asked.