Tag Archives: small groups

Reunion Group Relationships

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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

 

 

 

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Remembering Old Friends

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“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

 

Where a Reborn Christian Belongs

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I responded to our friend, “the smart blonde” on her blog, but I have also been mulling over what I could post her that goes along with our rebirth theme.  Like our fellow blogger, many people return from a Via de Cristo/Cursillo/Emmaus weekend excited, joyful and energized.  Over time these feelings fade.  Does that mean the experience is not valid?  Is it just a way to manipulate and deceive us?

Think about the apostle Peter’s experience of the transfiguration in Matthew 17.  Jesus takes Peter and a few others to a high mountain where they see him in a completely new way:

“…His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And behold , there appeared to them Moses and Elijah talking with Him.” Matthew 17:2-3

As amazing as this experience was, Peter and the others were not allowed to stay there forever.  They had to go back down to daily life where all the same struggles were waiting.  When Jesus was crucified, did they begin to wonder if their time on the mountain really meant anything?  They may have.  They certainly seemed to forget it pretty quickly.  Peter even denies Christ!  However, they had seen who Jesus really was, and in the end that causes some significant changes in them.

The big thing we experience on a weekend is loving, Christian fellowship.  We focus on Christ, thereby “renewing our minds” and we receive and give  unconditional love in an accepting community.  It gives us a taste of what the body of Christ should be.

A friend of mine once said the weekend is like a honeymoon, but persevering in the Christian life with the friends we make on that weekend is like marriage.  The honeymoon is wonderful and exciting and fun — but brief.  Marriage on the other hand, takes effort and commitment.  There are peaks and valleys.  But how satisfying it is to look back years later to see how we have grown and changed and accomplished so many things together.

So, getting back to my title, a reborn Christian belongs in the world and also in fellowship with other Christians.  You don’t have to go on a Via de Cristo weekend to do this.  But try to find a small group of Christian friends, meet regularly and be accountable about sharing your faith life and struggles.  It may be a prayer group, a Bible study group, a ministry team, a couples group.  Pray together, find ways to serve together, study together.  If you do these things you will find the message of the Via de Cristo weekend is still alive and working in your life.

How do others who have made this weekend feel?  What has helped you keep the mountain top experience alive?