I led my first “40 Days of Community” small group yesterday. It is a specific group – a group of young adults without kids. Other than our youth age groups, this is the only group that had specific parameters as far as participants goes. I created this group after having a conversation with a young adult in my church regarding her desire to “connect” at HUMC, but her finding that difficult. The DNA of Huntersville UMC has been, at least in my 13 years on staff, made up of young families with kids. Children’s ministry has always been a priority of HUMC, as has the youth program. As great as that is, it leaves little room for young ladies such as the one I was meeting with, or other young adults who want to be a part of the HUMC family, but are finding it hard to connect with this DNA.
There were nine participants in this group and they were kind enough to adopt me as an honorary “young adult” (I’m 40 and technically a “young adult” is 18-35, so . . . I’m the geezer in the group 😉 ) for the duration of our study (thanks, guys!). This group is amazing with new folks to our church family and those who have been part of our church family for years. It was great getting to know them and sharing this first lesson with 40 Days of Community. We had some great discussions around the first lesson – LOVING one another.
It’s interesting the whole concept of “loving” someone being not about our feelings, but about our actions. As we all listened to Rick Warren address this concept of loving one another, we all cocked our heads to the side and pondered where he was going with that. Most folks, I think, refer to “love” as a feeling and not necessarily an action. When Rick Warren asked how often we have good intentions to show love to a neighbor or a friend, such as sending a card, cooking a meal, etc., and yet we don’t ever get around to it, I sank in my chair. This is very much my life – good intentions, not enough follow through. Am I truly loving my neighbor the way Christ wants me to?
Our group made a pact to move forward this week and do what we can to truly love our neighbor – make that our “verb” of the week. Then we will share next time about how that worked out, what was hard about it, and how to make it more a part of who we are. And, to take it a step further, to try to make that a large part of our DNA, both as a group and as a church, to love those who come to HUMC regardless of their marital status, parental status, or anything else. Just love ’em man! Love ’em!