Those who participate in a Via de Cristo retreat weekend are encouraged to continue growing in faith by forming “reunion groups.” You may be more familiar with the term “accountability” group. I’ve been a member of small groups like this on and off for over 25 years.
The group I am in right now meets once a month, at our church. We begin with prayer. Each member takes a turn talking about how they are doing in the areas of piety (prayer, worship, confession and other spiritual disciplines), study and action … in other words, how are things between me and God? Practical suggestions and help are sometimes offered by members of the group, but the intent is not to solve problems. Instead it is a safe place to share burdens, request prayer support and be held accountable. We each leave the session with a plan to help us persevere and deepen our faith until we next meet.
Over the years, groups change or end, but the friendships made there last forever. My reunion group sisters have encouraged me and given me the confidence to do things I would never have attempted on my own (for example, this blog). They have been the voice of Christ to me many, many times.
If you’re not in such a group, start one! It’s really not rocket science. Just find a couple of Christian friends who truly want to grow in their faith and knowledge of God; commit to meeting on a regular basis; share with one another; pray together– then sit back and see what God can do! You won’t be disappointed.
If you attend a Lutheran Via de Cristo weekend, you will be encouraged to continue growing in Christ by participating in what’s called a reunion group. This is a small group that meets on a regular basis (monthly, weekly, whatever you choose) to talk about how things are going in the spiritual life of the members.
I have been in a reunion group on and off for over twenty years. The groups change, of course, as people move or their life changes. The group I am in now meets at our church once a month, and each month we discuss an aspect of our Christian walk: piety (this covers things like prayer, worship and moments of closeness to Christ), study or action. Each of us has an opportunity to tell how we’ve been doing in that area and what our plans are for the coming month. We encourage one another and hold each other accountable. We pray together and we pray for each other.
Over time being in such a group together fosters strong bonds. It was my first group that taught me being quiet and shy didn’t mean I couldn’t be a leader and influence others for Christ. The group I am in now started this blog!! My reunion group sisters are the kind of friends who will support me, encourage me and jump in to help if I take on a commitment! They hear my confessions and keep my confidences. Through the years in reunion groups I have helped to plan congregational activities, organized small group Bible studies, participated in “crafty” projects (that one is a real stretch for me), and had fun in the process. Rightly lived, a reunion group becomes a Christian community affecting the world.
If you’re not in a group like this, don’t put it off, it’s too important. You don’t have to go on a Via de Cristo weekend; you don’t have to call it a reunion group; you don’t have to do things exactly as we do. The point is to find a group of others who want to direct their lives to Christ and grow in faith. Meet regularly, pray together, encourage one another, work together for Christ and hold each other accountable. In years to come you’ll look back and be amazed at what God has done through you and how you have grown in faith together.
I hope our readers and my sister bloggers will join in by discussing this further. Have you been in a reunion group (or a similar accountability group)? How did it impact your spiritual growth? I want to hear your stories.
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us knot give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the day approaching.” Hebrews 10: 24-25