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
“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17
I was recently looking some old file folders with information I kept about Via de Cristo. It reminded me of many of the people with whom I served on retreat teams, met in small groups, planned activities and served the Lord. Many of these folks were part of my church family. It was a busy and productive season of my life. Now I go to another church, where my husband is the Pastor. I’m still in touch with some of those friends, but others have moved or just moved on. Life changes.
However, thinking about them reminds me of how influential our friends are in encouraging us in our Christian walk. Being in an accountability group (Via de Cristo calls them reunion groups) makes it harder to procrastinate or slack off in our spiritual disciplines. Having a close group of friends to help you when you have an idea you’d like to try (like this blog) is encouraging, too. There are so many things I’ve done that I would never have dared try without my friends. There are so many insights I would have missed without them there to notice and tell me. My friends gave me confidence; they prayed for me; they loved me and supported me even when I messed up. They were God’s gift to me.
So today I am remembering and give thanks for all my friends, old and new: for the things they have to teach me and the many ways they help me in my Christian journey. Don’t be a lone ranger Christian. Take friends with you wherever you walk.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up. Again, if two lie together, they are warm; how can one be warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him. A threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
I was recently meeting with my Via de Cristo reunion group (this is a small group of people who have attended a weekend and meet regularly to discuss their spiritual lives together). Our topic for the day was piety, and true piety, of course, includes prayer.
Some of our conversation centered around morning devotions, and devotionals we have used. It made me remember a little book I really liked called Daily Strength for Daily Needs by Mary Wilder Tileston. I decided to look her up and here’s what I found:
Mary Wilder Tileston had a great love for spiritual literature. Although she lived in the 19th century, her devotional selections capture biblical truths and values that will always endure. Joy and Strength is a compilation of thoughts and writings from giants of the faith including St. Augustine, Thomas a Kempis, Frederick William Faber and hundred of others. A previous book compiled by Tileston, Daily Strength for Daily Needs, shares the same love of literature and insight presented in Joy and Strength. – See more at: http://www.backtothebible.org/authors/mary-wilder-tileston#sthash.DCGB5z0T.dpuf
Now I know why I enjoyed her devotions so much: I also love spiritual literature. Each devotion (there are 365 in both books) start with a Bible verse, often include a poem, and then one or more quotes on the spiritual life. If you think you might like her devotionals, the best part is you can get Daily Strength for Daily Needs FREE. Yes,it is in the public domain and you can get it through Amazon.com as a free ebook.
Do you use a devotional? What is your favorite? Bloggers and commenters, we want to hear from you!