This summer, the pastors of my church decided to switch things up a bit and have the singles attend meetings with them instead of attending caregroups. I appreciate this on two levels. One, for practical reasons. Summer is busy and cramming one more extra thing in would make things challenging. Plus, I think I would be torn between attending both caregroup and these meetings if I had to choose between the two. Second, I am looking forward to the times to hear from them and get to know them and interact with them outside of a Sunday meeting context.
Hopefully, I plan to blog about the meetings to share how I benefited from the gifts that the pastors are to the church.
So with that introduction out of the way, we had the first meeting this past Wednesday at the Priviteras. It was a great time to meet with them, to hear from Pete and to interact with other singles in the church.
After some rough starts with the coffee maker (the machine, not the user) and getting chairs and seats squared away for all 20(?) of us, Pete introduced the summer series and the pastoral team's heart behind the meetings and just the encouragement and blessing the singles are to the church. Before getting into a mini-message on Ephesians 3:14-21, Pete humbly shared his thoughts about relating to others in the church and the feeling of being alone or not feeling you belong because there's no one like you or wondering where there place in the church is. I thought this was humbling for Pete to share his experiences and to encourage us that other people, no matter what stage of life, go through this too. This was a great reminder for me. To remember that I'm not unique or the "only one" and to reach out to new people who will definitely feel like this. I was especially encouraged by Pete's exhortation and encouragement that I will be paraphrasing below.
To those who have remained in the church for a long time - you being here and being a part of the church and serving - it is an evidence of God's grace in your life. No doubt you had struggles with relating with others and working through sin and differences, but you remaining and continuing to participate in the life of the church - that shows that there's been more grace than struggles.
I wrote this down and have been chewing this over in my mind. Yes, I do find it true what Pete said and it was like a light was being shown on something I never saw before. I'm just amazed at the grace God freely gives to me with relationships and with others especially, that I have sinned against. I am truly grateful for God's grace shown through their forgiveness, patience and not willing to give up on this wretch of a sinner. Everytime I think of this and even now, I am praising God and thanking God for my church and the people in it.
And not to miss the meat of the meeting, Pete went over the passage in Ephesians and in the course of the overview, went over the gospel with us clearly showing the love of the Father and the lengths he went to save us. I don't think there were too few dry eyes in the room.
So, one meeting down and some more to go! This was a great kick off meeting and I can't wait for the next one in less than 2 weeks!