A year or so after moving to Onalaska and joining First Lutheran Church, I was dropping off my middle school aged son for a church outing and expressed my parent-of-a-teenager stress and frustration with another parent. She said to me, “You need a Bible study.” She was right. What I needed was an opportunity to share my frustrations and hopes as a parent, and an opportunity to learn how to listen to God and see how God was working in the life of my child and in me. I started to see that when I joined a small group Bible study here at First.
As part of a small group, I have also developed deep, honest relationships with the other members of my small group. We have walked with each other through life struggles, celebrated many joyful transitions together, and learned to see and talk about how God is working in our lives.
I know that this type of connection and relationship is what many of you desire as well. You are looking for a way to connect with some other members, grow in your faith and have the support you need as you walk through life.
That’s why I’m excited to be the Director of Small Group Ministry. In this new position I will help identify and train people to lead small groups. It’s not hard once you know what to do, but it can seem daunting, so I am here to help lead the way. A frustration for current groups is finding a good study. I will identify a long list of resources for studies that meet a wide variety of needs, including pure Bible study, books on various faith topics, DVD studies for those who don’t want to read a lot, etc. In addition, I will help match people who are interested in being part of a group to a group that fits their needs. I am working 20 hours a week. Some of that time will be spent in the back office at the church, and some of it will be spent meeting with small groups, training leaders, and meeting with other churches that do small groups well to learn from them.
While I am passionate about small groups, this is a new position for me and a new step for First. I will be asking for your ideas: what has worked for you as a member of a small group, why you’ve never been in a small group, what are your fears and hopes. I pray that you will be open to sharing with me and willing to try new approaches. I also ask for your prayers as I start this new journey. After 30 years working in marketing for corporate America, this is a big change for me but a change that I am excited about. May God bless us all in 2015!