Learning to Fly as a Christian

May 30, 2019 by Shirley G. Brosius (Pennsylvania, USA)
Shirley (center) with her friends Kim Messinger (left) and Janine Boyer

As a young Christian, I wanted answers: How did this portion of scripture line up with that? What was permissible to do on a Sunday and what was not? Why was this prayer answered and that one not? While my pastor patiently answered what he could, much of my understanding of the Bible stemmed from participating in small groups.

When I was a young mother, I attended a Bible study in my neighborhood with other young mothers. Our kids played in the host’s “recreation room,” and we took turns keeping an eye on them. 

Some of our studies focused on relationships—marriage and friendships. Some focused on Bible books—Proverbs or the Gospel of John. Over coffee and cookies we got to know each other, shared child-rearing tips, and supported each other through life’s ups and downs. 

For many years my husband and I attended couples’ Bible studies. We took turns leading the group—which also stimulated our spiritual growth—and formed friendships that continue to this day.

Twenty years ago, two women who were young enough to be my daughters asked me to mentor them. We continue to meet weekly to discuss Christian books, chapter by chapter, and to study Bible passages. After a few years, we decided we wanted to serve together as well as study together, so we formed a speaking ministry that continues to this day.

Small groups have impacted my Christian growth as much as any other venue. Here’s how interacting with others in small groups bolsters your faith:

  • You grow not only in knowledge but in understanding. As you study Bible passages together you relate them to life experiences. Just hearing how others interpret scripture and apply it to their lives gives you insight for your own journey. 
  • You feel inspired as you hear how God has worked in others’ lives: an answer to prayer, the healing of a hurt, or practicing forgiveness. As you hear the faith stories of others, you draw strength to stand in your own faith. 
  • You form friendships that may last a lifetime. Many Sundays, my husband and I go out for lunch with a couple from a small group that ended decades ago. Our friendship continues. Another man from the group plays a computer game with my husband on a daily basis. 
  • Your curiosity is piqued as others raise questions you may not have considered. A Sunday school class recently sent another woman and me to our commentaries and study Bibles to clarify whether or not the James at the foot of the cross was Jesus’ brother. We then emailed each other our findings.
  • You find opportunities to put other people first. You may decide to hold one another accountable, or you may develop patience as you listen to others who are more garrulous than you. It even stretches our faith when someone steps on our toes and we try to respond in a godly manner. 

In closing, small groups allow us to grow in grace through fellowship and, as my mentoring experience shows, may even lead to rubbing shoulders in service.

There’s no better way to grow and support each other as we stumble along on life’s journey than through participation in a small group.                

Have a blessed day.

Shirley is a member of Friends of the Heart: three women who share God’s love through talks, drama, and song. Her friends Kim and Janine make up the rest of Friends of the Heart, and the three of them have participated in a small group since 1998. You can find their website here: http://www.friendsoftheheart.us

Shirley is also a coauthor of Turning Guilt Trips into Joy Rides and the author of Sisterhood of Faith: 365 Life-Changing Stories about Women Who Made a Difference. You can read more from Shirley by visiting her blog: www.shirleybrosius.blogspot.com. Shirley also has a website that you can find here: http://www.shirleybrosius.com


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