At Venture Church we’re starting our Fall Life Group season! What are Life Groups? Well, some places call them small groups, but we choose to call them Life Groups so that people will feel connected, feel part of something bigger, and go through life together. Life Groups provide community on a more intimate level so you have people around you for the highs, the lows, the exciting, and the mundane.
Life Groups have always been meaningful in my life, but the Life Group that I have been in for many years is not just seasonal but ongoing that is through Hope Water International. Through Hope Water, we are running to sink wells in Kenya, Sudan, and Uganda – places where they do not have clean, viable water like we do.
What makes our Life Group so meaningful is we stretch each other mentally, spiritually, and physically – when you run with people long distances they see you at your best times and your worst times (especially when the temps are upwards of 95).
But it’s through that exercise and being in community together and working toward a cause that we talk about Christ. We are conditioning together and when we’re not training we’re studying God’s word together and learning how we can be better leaders and better people. There’s tears sometimes, there’s sweat a lot of times, there’s achy bones and achy muscles, and there’s real sharing that takes place in this group.
I think of one person in particular, Cindy Housel, who went through a total spiritual and physical transformation when she became part of Hope Water International.
“At a Christmas Experience a few years back, we had people on stage with candles explaining how Jesus had changed them. After hearing these stories time after time, experience after experience, I was convinced that I needed a change,” describes Cindy. “I knew I needed to get myself healthy. At the time I weighed 253 pounds, so I had a big mountain to climb, but I knew I needed to change. And I kept praying that Jesus would change my life and that I could have an experience like those people on stage.”
Cindy decided to respond to this calling by joining with Hope Water and, fast forward 2 years later, she is 113lbs lighter and an accomplished runner – having finished the half-marathon from having barely run at all.
“Had I not been backstage listening to that Christmas message over and over and over again, I don’t think I would have ever risen up to the challenge of changing,” says Cindy. “God has a funny way of meeting you where you are – and I think He knew I needed to hear it nine times for the message to sink in.”
Cindy is now an integral part of our Hope Water International Life Group and I couldn’t imagine her not being a part of this amazing group. And I just say, if you’re not doing life with other people at a real deep and meaningful level – would you just try it? I’m not trying to say that to be in your grill or to be in your face, I’m just saying that it gives life a whole new meaning and if you’re not in that kind of camaraderie and connectedness then you’re missing out. I want you to experience, just like myself and just like Cindy, all that God has intended for you.