The Restoration Project is the first church where my husband and I have been actively involved in successful, meaningful small groups. We had been to churches that espoused the importance of groups, but we just never felt the inclination to join. Years later, I found myself at TRP. I can say that when I started attending, I was one of the older parishioners (still am). In fact, there were times I felt out of place because I was so much older. I couldn’t fathom that college kids would have any desire to hang out with me.
At the time, Josh was preaching through 1 Timothy and was really pushing the importance of a Paul/Timothy type of relationship. As a result, I became connected with two people—two people, who remain very important in my life. I can’t imagine going through life without them. They are two much younger people … who would’ve thought?! I have learned so much from them throughout the past few years.
I also began going to Josh and Kate’s for “Tuesday Night Dinners.” This was a very low-key, non-threatening way to start building relationships with some pretty incredible people. Then I began going to a women’s book club where I met more people. And I managed to rope my husband, Tracy, into attending an N.T. Wright book study (Surprised by Scripture). I think that group hooked him.
All this to say, we began to see firsthand what an integral part small groups are to investing in a local church.
Fast forward a few years. Tracy and I have hosted three different small groups in our home. I’ve gone from being the “newbie,” who was trying to get involved to being the one who is working to build and sustain meaningful relationships. They really are a beautiful thing.
This semester, we weren’t going to host a group. Our daughter is graduating high school in May. Our schedules are jammed every night. Blah, blah, blah. It was Tracy, who said, “I’ll miss not seeing everyone every Thursday.” I agreed, and I’m so glad I did. The relationships that have been cultivated are precious to us. I know it’s cliché, but I can’t imagine “doing life” without these people.
The website defines small groups as “the lifeblood of TRP.” They truly are. They are a way to plug in, to connect with others you might only see for a few moments after church each week. I can’t stress enough how important your involvement is. Get connected. Make relationships. Do life together. We need you.
Suzi Peterson is a member of the leadership team at TRP. She is a skilled impressionist, and she makes a mean chocolate meringue pie. (Ok. Neither of those things are true. But she is one of the kindest, most generous people you’ll ever meet. We are lucky she decided to stick around and bring her family.)