When Someone Sees in You What You Cannot See Yourself
Lately I’ve been writing all kinds of stuff about my new church, Thoburn UMC, because I am so thrilled to have finally found a home there. Tonight in small groups, things were a little bit unconventional because we watched a video on the prophets, so I don’t have much to share about our actual discussion.
Before we hunkered down for the video, though, our group leader and the church’s associate pastor, Pastor Adam, shared an update about the small group that my current group recently split off from. He said that all of them had admitted to never reading scripture cover-to-cover, and how they had all independently made the decision to do so, something they discovered last week at their small group.
And it got me thinking about how much I am growing to treasure this group I have become a part of. See, I also have never read the Bible cover-to-cover, and I had always been ashamed of that. So last year I had committed to doing so, and I got as far as Numbers 16 before I tossed my Bible away in horror and haven’t picked it up since (well, I’ve picked it up of course, but not to read Numbers, that’s for sure!).
But since these people courageously shared that they are in the same boat as me, and will likely have some of the same jarring experiences I did, I have found that I can do this. I can pick up my Bible again and continue what I started last year. And that is a gift that my old church—for all that I appreciate about it—could not give me because I knew I could never just vent my fears to them about what I encounter in scripture without it turning in to a debate.
And that is not all that happened at small groups tonight; I have saved the best for last.
Before the group started, Pastor Adam took me aside and privately asked me a question that left me entirely stunned and at a complete loss for words.
Before I explain what he asked me, let me explain the concept of small groups at Thoburn. Basically, the idea is for the groups to multiply. As a group becomes larger than 12 or so, it is the pastors’ vision that the group would split into two, with two separate leaders. And as those groups become larger, they would also split, and so on. So the groups become more numerous, but remain small and intimate.
So each group needs to have an acting leader, and a potential leader for when the groups split.
Have you guessed what Pastor Adam asked me yet? I’m sure you can, and thus understand why I was so utterly stunned. I’ve only been going to Thoburn for a few months now, and have generally been my normal, quiet, introverted yet rather opinionated self. And yet, he asked me to lead the new group when ours split.
I actually, literally asked him if he was serious, and after small groups when I decided to agree to lead it, I was certain he had asked me as a last resort, because everyone else in the room was married and had a lot of other responsibilities. And yet, he told me I was his first choice, because I seem grounded and steady in my faith, and I demonstrate a desire to grow.
And really…isn’t this what the Church is supposed to be about? Believers edifying one another? Seeing potential in one another that you might not be able to see for yourself? I felt so encouraged after our discussion, and while I am one of the youngest in our group and feel wildly under-qualified for this, I had to ask myself this question. How, after talking about how God uses ordinary people to fulfill his purposes just like he did with the prophets, could I tell my pastor I wasn’t the right person to do this?
So my introverted little self is going to leap outside my comfort zone and do something I am very, very nervous to do: in the future at some point, I will be facilitating a small group at Thoburn.
Cheers to spiritual growth and overcoming your demons of inadequacy!