February 4, 2015

Small Groups Changed My Life

How the heck does an individual go from Commercial Real Estate and Regional Shopping Centers to a Small Groups Pastor? As I looked back over my tenure as a Christ follower, the answer became clear to me: Small Groups changed my life!

It really started with being asked to join a Men’s Group. I had met some guys at Canyon Ridge Christian Church’s monthly breakfast in Las Vegas, Nevada, and after a few months they invited me to join their small group at a Denny’s restaurant at 6:30 am on Tuesday mornings. This was the beginning of my understanding of group life, and the foundation where I really began to grow in Christ.

For an hour and a half they talked about family, God and accountability. They asked one another how their relationships with their children were, and if they were leaving margin in their lives to have consistent date nights with their wives. These men sincerely cared for one another and spoke of real-life issues, concerns and challenges they faced. They were real and transparent. I can honestly say that up until that moment and day in my life, I had never really had that kind of honest and straight forward conversation with other guys before.

As I got in my car and headed to work that morning, the first thing I did was call my wife Shelly to tell her how great the morning was.

Within a few months Shelly and I joined our first couples small group, and within a very short time we were hosting and leading a small group in our own home.

I knew so very little at the time about the Bible, community and even church lingo that it really was a step of faith for me. To bring this point home, my church was doing a church plant and the pastor planting the new church told Shelly and I that “if we were called” to help start this church, he would love to have us. Well, about 3 weeks went by and one night after work, I asked Shelly if we had received a call from Pastor Shane about the church plant. She said, “What are you talking about?” I said, “You know, has anyone called us to help with the new church?” She looked at me with her very compassionate eyes and said, “Oh honey, let me explain something to you, ‘being called’ does not mean an actual phone call. It means you feel called by God.”

Well, we all have to start somewhere, and there is a time we all go through when we know very little about the Bible or church life.

Being in community and small groups with others is not just important; it is where you will grow spiritually and in your faith. I would not have answered “the call” to become your Small Groups Pastor here at Cornerstone, if it were not for my Men’s Group and Small Groups during my early days as a new believer.

God bless you all,
Pastor Jim


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