BY ANGELA KIM
Moving to a new area can be really exciting. There are a million places to visit and foods to try; but what happens when the excitement wears off? What if you don’t want to meet all your new friends at a bar or at work? What happens on Sunday when you want to go to church? It’s scary and nerve-wracking. For some of us, co-workers can only give you so much attention and time; and your relationships may always revolve around work. And you can’t really walk up to someone and ask them to be your friend, right? As a Christian, what should we do in this situation? In times of transition and angst, we’ve learned to cling to God for guidance, but it’s really hard when you don’t have a community or church to keep you grounded.
Now, let’s fast-forward and say you end up at ODPC. What now? There are at least 500 people attending service every Sunday, so how do you connect? Many people, especially introverts, have difficulty finding a way to get plugged in at a large church like ODPC and are prone to feel like a small fish in a big, gigantic, stadium-sized pond. It can be extremely intimidating. Even if your relationship with God is solid, you still need community. One of the best ways to find that community is through Small Group.
Now, introducing Jennifer Tanaka and Daniel Jang: both grew up outside the DMV, started out in Foyer (an “open” small group that has no member maximum), and are now leading their own small groups. While both came to the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia (“DMV”) area for different reasons (work and school respectively), they were able to form a connection between their new life and their Christian life. Jennifer and Daniel already had strong relationships with God and attended church on Sundays, but didn’t feel integrated into the church. Again, small fish, BIG pond. One thing a lot of us may forget is that we need to put effort into “plugging in.” Once you take the initiative, joining a small group could change your… everything.
Daniel almost left ODPC, but after hearing a testimony about small groups, he decided to give small groups a chance. With time, he came to realize that “to get the most out of small group, you have to be willing to engage yourself both in giving and receiving from each other’s lives,” and that if you are engaged and seek growth, small groups can take you much deeper than expected. Jennifer, on the other hand, already had good experiences in the past at her previous church, but she realized that “in order to strive towards cultivating genuine community and authentic Bible study discussions with others… [we] first need to make room [for it]…. Some of my most cherished friendships are with people I have been able to get to know in small groups.”
Small groups can lead not only to friendships, but they can also enable you to join other ministries, and attend church events. Weekly small group meetings are far more than “just a Bible study meeting”, it’s where your understanding of the Word can deepen, relationships revolving around God can be formed, and God could very well be working His magic.