Guest Post by Kauri Tallent
I have been a part of the Burns Life Group for four years. We originally met on Saturday evenings, when there was a Saturday evening service. The leaders, Jeff and Sherri, are incredibly vulnerable and through their vulnerability, encouraged us to apply The Word to our lives. After service and Life Group, we would head to a restaurant to fellowship over food. Soon after I joined the group, Jeff Burns encouraged the group to get involved with serving and building relationships with refugees in the community. Not only was the group involved with service outside of the walls of the church, we served one another. When I moved, a dozen men from the class showed up to help. Our group became my family. 1 Thessalonians 2:8 describes how I felt about this group: "We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us."
When the Saturday night service was no longer available, the Burns Life Group moved to Sunday mornings. It grew exponentially, to an average of 40-60 a week. We had discussed multiplying, due to it being difficult to form close relationships in a larger group, but no one desired a split. Through a season of God prodding my heart, a friend and I decided to take a leap of faith to begin a small group hosted in our home. I was anxious about "failure" and the group not growing, but after sitting down with Paul Christenson and Kevin Baggett, we were given some direction for growth/success and also assurance that they did not have expectations that we had to measure up to.
For the month of August, those interested in the group met at my house on Monday evenings to pray for the direction of the group. Sometimes we had 4 show up to pray and one week it was only me. When the group started the first Sunday of September, two of our core group members were out of town. I prepared and expected no one. I was in awe of God when three women showed in addition to me. This week, we met for the second time and had 5 participants. We have remained connected to my former Life Group of 4 years, doing a joint cookout this past weekend. The Burns Life Group has supported us throughout the process, and we plan on remaining connected for support, prayer and feedback.
Our new Life Group Mission Statement if: "To Love one another in The Body of Christ through vulnerability, accountability and edification for the equipping for and fulfilling of The Great Commission." Our plan is to meet weekly in my home on Sunday mornings (we do prayer, worship through music and follow Brainerd's Life Group guide), meet monthly to serve our refugee community and meet quarterly to do an outdoor activity where we can invite those who are far from Jesus.
Please pray for us as we continue to walk by faith; God is growing us as leaders through the process. Feel free to send women of any demographic our way for our meetings on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am, and consider replicating your Life Group in order to keep Life Groups at a size where attendees feel known and loved.