I’ve been at Hope for about five years now. A lot has stayed the same in those five years, but a lot has also changed. The Bible continues to be preached, community continues to be emphasized, and people keep coming in the doors. But as our church gets bigger it gets harder to maintain some of those tighter relationships.
I’ve made several deep friendships over the years. When I got married a-year-and-a-half ago, five of the six men who stood up there with me were Hopesters. Hope’s blessings to me and my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ have been countless. But amidst all the blessings, those of us who call Hope home are continually faced with the challenge of shrinking Hope.
By shrinking Hope, of course I don’t mean finding ways to lose hope in this world. I simply mean that we need to find ways to keep Hope small. Or – as pastor Steve says – to make sure the middle name in Hope Community Church remains “Community.”
Here are some way that my wife Rachel and I have been able to retain some of that community as Hope continues to grow:
Small Group: My wife and I actually met in a small group, the same group we continual to meet with weekly. There were five people in our wedding (three groomsmen, two bridesmaids) who we met in this same small group (as well as many other good friends).
Connection Time: When possible, my wife and I make sure to do our best to fight the madness of connection time, get some coffee, and connect with old friends and new faces between services.
Events: My wife and I always make it an effort to attend Hope’s events. I encourage her to attend women’s events, and she encourages me to attend the men’s events.
Throughout Hope’s growth, its two buildings, the parking challenges, and the long commute from White Bear Lake (some of our friend’s comment we live in Canada), maintaining intimate relationships has sometimes been challenging. Yet, my wife and I continue to work and make sure Community is our church’s middle name.
I’ve been thinking about this lately, and thought it might be helpful to ask how others have sought community amidst a sea of people on Sunday mornings.
So, what about you? What are some things that you’ve found helpful in “shrinking Hope,” and how do you remain a committed part of Hope’s body?