My mom died a few months ago after living a long, full life of 92 years. She was one of the most relational people I’ve ever known. She loved people and served them well. One of the most beautiful things for me to watch during her last years of life was her church community loving her and serving her well. It reaffirmed in me that sometimes the church gets it right.
My mom was part of a disciple-making, mission-shaped small group without even knowing it. This group of friends was the primary group she shared life with; so much so that I knew not to even think of visiting her on Thursday mornings. They started at church with a half hour of prayer. From that they moved into a Bible study. The morning ended by moving to the local bagel shop to continue conversation. This group never read Alan Hirsch’s encouragement for small groups to meet in community shared spaces, but they proved his point. Because they met in the same place every week, other Thursday morning bagel eaters noticed their enjoyment of one-another and eventually asked to be included at their table. Relationships began to be built and conversations were broadened. Because these strangers were included, they began to feel a sense of belonging and experienced a bit of “the communion of the saints.”
If my 92 year old mom and her friends can do this, I think I can, too.