We had been meeting together for a couple months. This was a new group for us and while we liked everyone there, we certainly didn’t feel like we really knew them yet. We would hang out, snack, make small talk, all the usual things we tend to throw under the word “fellowship”. Incidentally, who outside of church ever uses the word “fellowship”?? Can’t we come up with something better? Anything?? The dictionary suggests “informal chumminess” as an acceptable alternative… Umm, JUST NO.
Then one week we began to talk about how we started coming to church and when we got saved. It was actually relatively light conversation as people started to share about the events that led them to where they were now in their walk with God. Again, it was great, and we all were enjoying it, but it was also hovering very on the surface. And then one person had the courage to join the conversation by quietly saying, “I’m not even really sure that I’m saved.” The dominoes began to fall along with all of our facades as another person said, “Me too.” And another, “Me too.” And another.
It only took one person willing to be transparent to break down the walls of “image” and usher in an authenticity that was contagious. Suddenly we were talking openly about our doubts, our struggles with faith and belief, asking our questions that up until a few moments before we were certain “good Christians shouldn’t ask”. It was raw and it was real and it was a turning point for our group. From that moment on, we knew each other. Nothing was off the table. We were able to openly share what was going on in our lives knowing it would be met with grace instead of judgement, and in the safety of that environment, our relationships with God and with each other flourished. All because one person was willing to show up, join in, and be real.
Are you ready and/or willing to put in the time and transparency it takes to grow together in your relationships? Are you ready and/or willing to put in the time and transparency it takes to grow in your relationship with God? We have to decide to show up, join in the conversation, and get real about it if we want to grow in our relationships with God and with each other. And in doing that, we will set others free and give them permission to do the same.
Group Discussion Questions
Have you ever been a part of a “team” in some way? What teams were you on growing up?
Question 1: Tell about a time that you “judged a book by its cover” with someone. What made you change your mind about them?
Question 2: What are some common ways that people put up facades, or put on acts to convince everyone that they have it all together? Have you ever been guilty of any of these?
Question 3: Read Romans 15:7 and Romans 14:1.
What does this verse show us about how we should respond to each other? What do you think about that? Is that easy or hard for you? Why?
Question 4: Why do you think God wants us to be transparent with each other? (See James 5:16)
Question 5: What are some things that someone or this group could do to make you feel comfortable and safe enough for you to be open and transparent?
Ask God to help you be honest about who you are and to be bold enough to share it. Pray that your group would be a place where people would feel free to be their true selves and ask that as you begin to get real about your “stuff” that God would use that to heal those dark places that have been brought to the light so that you can move forward in your walk with Him.