By 1989, Our family (or at least CA and I) had moved 12 times. While we'd lived by then 14 years in Crystal Lake, because of those great moves we'd for the most part conditioned ourselves to superficial friends and work friendships. Our family was doing very well. Our two children busy with friends, school, and sports. Yet I especially was feeling the loss of close friendships.
When my sister, who also lived in the Chicago area expressed an interest in finding a good church close by with excellent music, I immediately suggested we visit a mega church that I had been hearing about for a few years. The next Sunday we visited that church, and quite literally our jaws dropped. We'd found a Bublically-based, Christ honoring and serving home church. Our hearts were filled; our spirits expanding.
Our two children loved Sunday mornings, or Saturday nights--we could choose!
We even attended service on Wednesday or Thursday evenings for New Community--a chance for deeper study of the Bible. We were encouraged to join a small group of other attendees in our local area for a deeper, more personal connection within the very large congregation (that was a 25-minute drive distant). We did.
That first Small Group was akin to military school, as our leader was very structured. The 3 other couples were nice people, but everything stayed stiff and formal. Within a year circumstances led to that group disbanding. All good. We weren't anxious to find a new group as our expectations had not nearly been met. Yet, the desire for closer and more supportive friendships still existed in the midst of a very good and busy family life.
Then, in 1994, an acquaintance met through our children's activities invited us to a Sunday brunch. An investigative social event--one to explore interest in forming a new Small Group. We were excited. We liked this couple.
Of the 7 couples, 6 very soon began meeting as a kind-of-sort-of-large Small Group. We met every 1st and 3rd Sunday nights, rotating between homes. We'd found our local connection. Our chance for deeper friendships. My prayers were answered. We've been meeting and eating! (now on the 2nd and 4th Sundays) for almost 23 years.