By Drew & Abby Rooks
Five years into our marriage, we realized there was something lacking in our spiritual lives. At the time, we were simply going to church, enjoying the message, and walking out. However, we were in desperate need of community. More specifically, we needed to take time each week to fellowship with a group of believers.
With this in mind, we started our search for a church in Wichita with a small group ministry. We decided to check out Riverlawn in October 2015. The first Sunday we attended, there was an invitation to attend an adoption lunch after the service. Even though sitting around a table and eating lunch with new people sounded intimidating (we were ready to walk out the door and head to Freddie’s for lunch), we decided to use the opportunity to learn more about Riverlawn. We soon realized that we made the right decision. Dave and Judy Norton quickly made a connection with us and actually invited us to join their small group that same afternoon! We were overwhelmed by the kindness shown to us, feeling excited that we may have just found the community we needed to help us grow in our relationship with God.
Building community doesn’t come easy, but what you gain from it is worth all the effort! We want to suggest a few ways to help you get started. First, get involved with a small group. Then once you’ve taken that step, find ways to serve the community together. Finally, reach out and introduce yourself to someone new each Sunday.
Part of building community involves action. We are called to be good stewards of the gifts God has given each of us and serve others (1 Peter 4:10). Whether volunteering in the coffee bar or handing out bulletins (the opportunities are endless!)—there can be much joy found in serving others. Encourage your small group to get out and serve the Wichita community! You’ll probably have a lot of fun while doing so—and it will glorify the Lord!
Finally, we want to encourage you to reach out to someone new at church each Sunday.
You never know how a simple greeting to a stranger may impact their life.
If Dave and Judy had not reached out to us and invited us to their small group, we may have never experienced all the blessings that we have seen come from their simple action.
Our lives have been impacted greatly because we joined a small group. Hebrews 10:24-25 encourages us, saying “And let us consider how to stir up one another to good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Being part of a small group means you’ll have to step outside your comfort zone at times. But you’ll find a group of people who care about you, desire to pray for you, hold you accountable and so much more! God has used our time of fellowship each week to bless us in so many ways. We’ve grown very close with our current small group and have made lifelong friends. Our leader, Josh Gores, reminds us that he would love to see each couple in our group eventually start their own small group and continue branching out. That is a great picture of what Riverlawn is about: making disciples who make disciples!
God wants to bless each of us with community, not only to understand more about Him, but also to spiritually impact those around us. So what are you waiting for? Pray and ask God to help you to start building community. It’s an exciting journey!