Yo. Small groups started this week. You only have 10 days left to sign up. The trimester runs until the end of June and if you miss this one, you don’t get another shot until September. And you’ll miss getting to know great leaders like Dade Dowdle. This guy rocks. Here’s his story…
Early in our marriage, my wife Joy and I were involved in a small group “back home” that had a big impact on our marriage and our individual walks with Jesus. I was not enthusiastic about joining a small group. I only agreed to participate because the strain of some big decisions we needed to make – a potential move to the DC area among them – had begun to show in our relationship with one another, and we were desperate for some help. I doubted whether a community to help pray us through things would make much of a difference. It did, in ways that I could not adequately express in the space available to me in this post. Suffice to say that since that time, we have moved three times (to the MD side of DC, to London, and then back to northern VA), and each time even I, the former skeptic, have prayed for God to bless us with a community of people with whom we could walk and pray through things.
Joy and I started visiting Restoration around small-group registration time in the fall of ’09. Even though neither of us is from an Anglican, or even liturgical, background, we were pretty sure we liked Restoration, and so thought we would sign up for a small group. We decided we would stay at Restoration, and figure out the Anglican and liturgical thing. We absolutely loved our small group.
We were in Graham and Laurel Henshaw’s group. The first meeting we had some really great brownies, a good study, and a quick time for sharing and praying that set the stage for the duration of our group’s time together. In the following meetings we had more great brownies, more good studies, and times of prayer for each other that were as open and honest as we wanted them to be. We ended up feeling as invested in Restoration, and as invested in by Restoration, as promised, and developed some deep and meaningful friendships.
For this trimester, Joy and I decided to host a small group of our own. We decided to direct our study towards marriage due to (1) the benefit small groups have been to our relationship, (2) the fact that it seems every married couple we know wrestles with the same problems of balancing work and life and still investing in their marriages the way they would like to. We don’t hold ourselves out to be marriage counselors or to have any answers. Our claim is simply that for the next 10 weeks, we are going to invest some time every week to think about how we can invest in our relationships in the hope that doing so will help us to experience the fullness and richness that we believe God intends for our marriages to be. We will be using materials primarily from the Alpha Marriage Course as a guide, although we reserve the right to use it or not use it, or add other resources to it, as the group sees fit. We will not have homework, because in our experience no one ever does it anyway, and we don’t want something else to have to do. Also, we plan on having lots of good food. We would love to have you join us!
A Note for (Skeptical) Dudes:
After reading all of this from another dude, you may be thinking, “What a bunch of emotionally-driven crap. I’m not joining a group with a dude who, having started off like this, is bound to end up trying to sell me insurance or Amway products.” I know you may be thinking that, because that’s what I thought the first time I signed up for a small group. For what it’s worth, I do not sell insurance, or Amway products. Don’t let such fears keep you from joining us. This will be a safe place for guys to drink a beer and grunt if that’s what works for them.