On Opportunity, 2: Support/Fellowship Groups

Phyllis Nissila

birds of a featherMy support/fellowship group has been discussing the value of prayerfully and carefully chosen associations of like-minded, like-spirited people with whom one has the opportunity to safely learn and grow.

We have been discussing the advantages of our own group, acknowledging several essential attributes that have contributed to both its longevity and its effectiveness.

Honing those attributes down to the basics looks like this:

-Listening (no matter how many times it takes to process what we are going through),

-Honesty (and the healthy pursuit thereof), and

-Kindness (with no qualifications).

We realize we ask a lot of ourselves and the group, that we have set the bar high. So, to the above list, add:

-Patience.

Through time these values have brought each of us closer to each other and closer to the Lord. We have refined our fellowship even as we have been refined by each other and the Holy Spirit.

Our group is “scheduled” “as needed.” A “meeting” can consist of two on a phone or Online, or four or more in a room,  pre-planned.

Although other information is frequently discussed, our primary source of guidance is God’s Word.

We are works—and a work—in progress….

The opportunities such a support/fellowship group offers are many:

-A safe place within which to process and to proceed,

-Accountability,

-Comfort,

-Encouragement,

-Protection, and

-Guidance.

Additionally, a core support group is a safe place to carefully examine other associations, groups, or ad hoc affiliations accessed as required, or desired by one or more members and a place to later debrief, if needed.

~~~

I encourage you, too, to pray for a good support and/or fellowship group with which to become engaged, if you do not already belong to one. I also encourage you to not leave—or come back to—your comfort zone without checking in.

Your group can start with as few as two, the number Jesus selected when He sent His followers out on the first mission trip. A small gathering, whether just two—or six or ten—is ideal, however, and gives time for all needs to be addressed.

And although Jesus is no longer organizing events on earth, He has promised that where at least two are gathered in His name, He is there in spirit (Matthew 18:20).

~~~

P.S. I salute today the faithful, courageous, tenacious, committed, bright, fun, and eternal sisterhood of my support group. I cannot tell you how many opportunities you have given me to renew, refresh, re-energize, and re-group over the years.

And to think, in the eternal scope of things, we’ve only just begun!

***

Image from the public domain.

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4 Responses to On Opportunity, 2: Support/Fellowship Groups

  1. pnissila says:

    And thanks for being a loyal member for so long, “Carl.” :) We’ve come a long way, no?!

    In Him,
    P.

  2. Cathy says:

    Many Evangelical Churches use a Fellowship, that was originally used by Ignatius Loyola, in Spiritual Excercises. They don’t even have a Clue! The format is to break down a group (Cell) into 12 people, like the Apostles, and have 1 member, as the Leader.
    This makes me very upset, to see the Infiltration, of Jesuit Ideas, in Protestant Churches.
    I like the idea, of Fellowship, not so Organized, between Lke-Minded people worshipping the Lord.
    Jesus, indeed sent his Disciples, by Two! Any number is fine, even 12….but make no person Leader. We have, but One Leader, and His name is Christ JESUS!

    • pnissila says:

      HI, Cathy! Yes, I wonder if many in the “non-Catholic” community really understand the history of the Jesuits so-called “spiritual exercises,” and other practices.

      And to he leadership of Christ: Amen!

      Blessings,
      P.

  3. Carl Gordon says:

    “Safe place” makes my shoulders lower from my earlobes, and breathe a sign of relief! All I can say is, “Me too!” :D

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