by Jacqui Crumrine – Associate Pastor – Worship and Adults
One of my greatest learning experiences with relationships was when I lived with a group of ladies while I attended college. There were six of us living in a somewhat dilapidated cinder block house. I lived in the basement (with three others) and had to walk down a quite questionable set of stairs. I felt like my life was on the line every time I descended to my room! Did I mention there were six of us? Did I also mention we only had one bathroom?! That was fun! Anyway, I experienced life for two years with these six women. We lived together and had a ton of fun. But it all started because we had a common love for Jesus…so we prayed, worshiped, studied, grew, and held each other accountable. It wasn’t always easy, but we grew together, and these women are still some of my closest friends. Living with them taught me lessons that have carried on into my ever-increasing years. It was with them that I learned how to do life together.
We say it a lot at Covenant Grove, that as a community of faith, we want to do life together. What does that mean? First, we have the unique bond of a shared faith. THIS is the foundation of everything that we say and do. It’s the glue that holds the whole thing together. We can’t do anything without Jesus. When we all have our eyes on Him, it’s the best way to live life and have a model for living. So first, we put Jesus at the center.
Next, we gather. It’s so simple, but it’s so important. We believe that it changes lives. No, we don’t have to live together in the same house, but we do need to see each other often enough that we stay connected. We gather in a lot of different ways and we believe it needs to be prioritized for our mental, emotional and spiritual health.
- Sunday mornings (to worship, receive the Word, fellowship, and get filled up with Jesus so we can be on the mission!)
- Events and Special Services (Men’s and Women’s Ministry, Youth, College, Kids etc… and special events focused on Discipleship, Fellowship and Mission)
- Life Groups (weekly smaller gatherings with people that learn how to do life together)
Let’s focus on Life Groups. It’s more than just showing up each week (although that’s a necessary component to doing life together). Life Groups center us around God’s word and prayer, and it provides us the relational support to grow in our faith! When I was in college, I would meet at Denny’s with a couple of the ladies from my house. We would read the Bible together, talk about it, challenge each other to grow, and pray for each other. We don’t have a Life Group that meets at Denny’s (yet), but this kind of encouragement IS doing life together.
When I was going through hard times, these ladies encouraged me through prayer. They listened to me, sat with me when I cried, and picked me up. They showed up when my car broke down. They stayed up late with me during finals week. We ate together, exercised, and of course had a ton of fun. That’s LIFE! They taught me what it was to do life together. It’s the ups and downs, highs and lows…all while keeping our eyes on Jesus. They were there for me when I needed them most.
AND…I was there for them. Doing life together has to be mutual. It’s not healthy to just receive (although there are seasons when that’s all you can do). We each have to have our eyes opened to see others needs and be available to walk with them through life. We have to know how to ask questions, make the call or text to check in, and be willing to take action when there’s a need.
Life Groups are one of the greatest ways that I know to learn to live out the greatest commandment to love God and love others. We, of course, then learn how to love our neighbors and how to do the Great Commission to make disciples. So, I invite you to get be in a Life Group this season and do life together. If you aren’t in a Life Group yet, you can still go to covenantgrove.org, go to the Life Group page and find more information. If you are in a Life Group, be committed to do life with others. Don’t just show up but be fully present and ready to journey together!