By Jackson Lane
Do you ever feel alone? Maybe you just moved to a new city and a long-term friendship just became long distance. You might be struggling to find people you can lean on after a death in the family or feeling like you don’t have anyone to celebrate your new promotion with. Maybe you’re wondering what exactly makes lasting friendships work. Maybe none of this is true for you, but you’re still facing a season of loneliness you never even thought was possible. Sometimes our circumstances seem to inevitably point us toward isolation. But what if, in the middle of those circumstances, God could use you to create the friendships we were designed for?
We were made to be with other people. Did you know the first thing God ever said was ‘not good’ was loneliness? Seriously. In Genesis, God lists off a lot of things that were good, like the land, the sea, and light from the sun. Then, God says in Genesis 2:18, “… It is not good for man to be alone …” We were designed to be in an ongoing relationship with God and with others. We’ve all experienced gaps in these relationships, and that kind of loneliness can be so painful. When I look at my life and the world around me, it seems a growing number of us are finding ourselves without the thing we need the most.
Drew and Jules relate to the real need for community a lot of us feel.
Drew is a full-time dad and Jules is a full-time urology resident. They have three kids and another on the way. After moving away from family and friends to a new state for a job opportunity, Drew and Jules began searching for a community their entire family could invest in.
During their search, Drew recalled attending a conference where Pastor Craig Groeschel spoke. Drew says he fell in love with Pastor Craig’s teaching and wanted to see Life.Church in person.
Drew and Jules loaded up their family and made the 90-mile drive to Life.Church East Wichita. When they arrived, they were welcomed with open arms. Even though it was their first visit, their family felt so loved. Drew says he and his family knew this was the place for them when his son, after seeing the yellow LifeKids hallway, said, “Bye, Dad!” and took off into a classroom. Later, his son came out telling him and Jules, through smiles, all about his small group leader and what he had learned.
Drew and Jules experienced community at Life.Church, but they knew the drive was too far to make every week. Though there was no physical Life.Church location near them, they felt they had to bring Life.Church back to their town with them. So they started contacting their neighbors, coworkers, and friends. A short time later, they formed a LifeGroup in their living room and began attending Life.Church Online every week with some of their new friends in Salina.
The first week, 12 people came. As they continued meeting together and getting to know one another, their LifeGroup outgrew their living room with more than 20 people! This was exciting for Drew and Jules, but it also presented a hurdle: where was their group supposed to meet? After talking over their options and spending time in prayer, Drew remembers walking outside and realizing that God had already given them a space — their barn. God led Drew and Jules to simply use what they already had. Isn’t it funny how we don’t always see the tools God’s given us right away?
Drew and Jules cleared out their barn, and God provided everything they needed. Drew said that one woman gave them 80 chairs for free. Someone else gave them a TV, so they could attend the Life.Church Online Experience together!
After opening their barn doors, 65 people came the first week. 72 people gathered the next week. This LifeGroup continues to meet weekly in their Kansas backyard barn.
Drew and Jules felt the same need for community so many of us experience. Finding new friendships wasn’t easy for them. They had to step out of their comfort zone and use the resources God had given them, trusting that He would lead them to the community He had in mind. As they continued forward in obedience, God was with them every step of the way.
You may not have a barn. That’s okay, me neither. One new thing I’m doing with a skill God has given me is writing. You’re actually reading my first post here. So, what do you have? What thing or skill has God given you to help people move away from loneliness into friendship?”
You might have a coffee shop down the street. Or how about a backyard? Could you host a Zoom call every week? You may not know what your LifeGroup will eventually look like, but you don’t have to know—Drew and Jules didn’t. You just have to take the first step. No matter where your situation seems to be pointing you, God has equipped you with what you need to establish a community.
We need community now more than ever. God can use you to create that community. Consider what God has given you and whether He’s calling you to start your own LifeGroup. If He is, click the button below to take your first step.