(This post was written by Evan Crass, Associate Pastor of Groups)

For those who have followed the current weekend series, I LOVE MY CHURCH, you know we’ve been discussing the love affair between God and us … his bride … his church. So I thought it appropriate to talk about the many reasons I love my group. If I were to use a “Top 10” format, it would have to include free babysitting, decadent desserts, and hysterical laughter, but it would be difficult to actually determine what is number one versus number two. Instead, I thought I’d share a story that demonstrates my love of my group.

To set the stage, we meet weekly on Tuesday evenings, which means I get a mid-week break from life to reorient myself and spend time with my friends. We start our evening in the kitchen with freshly made popcorn and drinks and eventually migrate onto the coaches and chairs in our great room. We often start with a question to get the laughter, I mean conversation, started. This week we asked, “What is an unusual phobia or fear from which you or someone you know suffers?” Did you know certain people are afraid of cotton coming out of furniture? Who knew?

We spend the next hour or so introducing a topic and discussing its application to our lives. We’ve been wrestling with what does growth look like in each of our lives, because growth for me, or at least the way I grow, may not look the same for you. This week we agreed growth is scary. And this is where I can clearly point to my love of my my group. I don’t discuss my fears with people I don’t trust. Period. Why would I make myself vulnerable unless I know it helps me grow AND I can share among friends who I know are trying to grow with me?

I thoroughly enjoy the fringe benefits of my group but it is the individual relationships that make me LOVE my group. I can’t imagine life without my group friends. How would I have made it through the births of my children, the death of my loved one, the loss of a job, or the start of a new job? Or maybe you can relate to more of the mundane things for which I rely on my friends. How do I react when a person spreads rumors about me or I simply have a bad day? My group gives me life in the midst of the turmoil. My group keeps me grounded in the midst of the celebration. It all adds up to me loving my group.

Note: This weekend at both the Pellissippi and Blount campuses, an opportunity to investigate groups will be given. Don’t pass up this opportunity to ask candid questions and find a group that fits your needs and schedule.