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1155 Silas Deane Highway, Wethersfield
As Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 12, God has gifted each of us by His Holy Spirit, and has shaped us for ministry to others in unique ways. We all have different passions, experiences, and abilities that God can use to bless others. Over the next few weeks, I am going to be running guest articles from NewLife members who are involved in ministries and fellowship opportunities outside of our church. If you would like to share about how God is using you in ministry outside the walls of our church, please let me know. Today’s post is written by Barb Pizzoferrato about a fellowship group she is a part of.
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. (Romans 12:10)
A church I attended about 10-15 yrs ago had what they referred to as Growth Groups. They encouraged people to join one close to their home in order to stay better connected. The group I joined was meeting at the home of a young family, but when the Swine Flu/H1N1 virus hit in 2009, it was relocated to my place. Originally, it was both men and women (married couples & singles), but since the move to my home it’s remained predominantly women. Many years have passed and everyone has since moved on to different churches, but we're still meeting every other week.
It’s a fairly standard bible study-type group where we socialize for a bit, share prayer requests and do a study. Periodically, we gather outside of the study. We went to NYC to see a play by CS Lewis, viewed some Christian films, volunteered at Feed My Starving Children events, and have been to each other's homes for picnics and potlucks. Some have met my friends at NewLife when the church hosted a recent Something to Chew On event. We've completed a number of studies - some related to books of the Bible, others related to social issues, as well as some missionary biographies. The studies have certainly fed my relationship with God, and doing them with a group has provided a safe place to ask difficult questions and speak frankly. It has also been helpful to hear others’ perspectives.
We’ll often have reading and study question assignments to complete between meeting dates. During my quiet time with God, the questions prompt me to think further about a scripture, about God and my relationship with him. Currently, we’re reading Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero. There’s quite a bit to it - chapter readings, a complimentary chapter video, workbook and daily office (devotional) booklet. One thing from this particular study that has impacted my time with God is the 2 minute silence & stillness at the start and end of each daily office. I’ve found that taking this time has been beneficial in quieting my mind and preparing myself to listen to Him.
The fellowship with these ladies has been invaluable and beneficial to my relationship with God. The diversity amongst us is a blessing in and of itself. We have different professional backgrounds (nurse, librarian, paralegal, translator) and cultural differences (one from Chicago, one from NYC, one from India, two from Iran). We all share our struggles and praises, and even when we're just sharing the stuff of life (work, interests, laughter), it’s good to be connected. There have been many times when my inclination has been to cancel a meeting or no longer host it. But in spite of this tendency, God uses this group to extend His kindness and display that He’s committed to me (and the group), even when my commitment wavers.
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