Last week I dove into why our new Connect Groups are going to be great for new people. Now let’s explore why our Connect Groups are going to be great for ‘veteran’ people – those who have been at Western Hills for a while.
Routine does bring a certain amount of comfort to our lives. There is trash on Mondays, So You Think You Can Dance on Tuesdays, college football on Saturday, and church on Sunday. It’s why most of us sit in the same row and same seat every Sunday. Or we order the same meal at the same restaurant. It’s why there should always be milk with cookies and jelly with peanut butter.
However, routine has a side-effect. Let me see if I can illustrate it this way.
Amy and I love to eat dessert at The Cheesecake Factory. (I can’t stand their food but that’s a whole other issue.) There is nothing more decadent than staring at that glass case full of cheesecakes. Amy and I have two totally different approaches when it comes to cheesecake. I know what Amy is going to order before we ever enter the door – Dulce De Leche. She may look at other options and even actually think she is going to order something different. But the moment we get to the front and are asked – “How can I help you?” The words fly out of her mouth before she can stop them.
Dulce De Leche.
Don’t get me wrong – it’s a great choice. Nothing wrong with it. It’s a sure bet.
Me? Well…sometimes I don’t even know what I’m getting AFTER I order. I’ve had the Key Lime, Hershey Bar, Reese’s Cup, Red Velvet, Banana Creme, Raspberry, and this weekend – Vanilla Bean. (The Vanilla Bean is awesome. It’s light and fluffy…like the unicorn in Despicable Me.)
Amy has a great thing going with her Dulce De Leche. It has never failed her. There have been instances where she’s has watched me struggle with a bad piece of cheesecake all the while enjoying her Dulce De Leche. But she’s also missed out on some awesome cheesecake. And yes – I reluctantly shared it with her – but the larger point I’m trying to make here is this:
You may have yet to taste your favorite piece of cheesecake because you haven’t forced yourself to try something new.
When it comes to our new Connect Groups – you may have to meet the best friend you’ll ever have because you haven’t had the opportunity to meet anyone new. With our new Connect Groups, we are going to be able to connect with more people, different people. We’re going to be able to experience new things, new teachers, new friends. We will be able to tackle that study on Genesis or parenting or spiritual gifts that we’ve always wanted to but never had the chance.
For some of our veterans, this is also the gentle push out of the nest. God’s wired some of you to be a great Connect Group leader but face it – you’re really comfortable with your Dulce De Leche. Never mind that the Vanilla Bean is better and you’re going to love it more. So these Connect Groups are going to give some of you the opportunity to have 90 days of courage. 90 Days of Bravery to try something new – that’s what I’m praying for some of you!
There’s one more huge benefit that our veterans bring when it comes to these Connect Groups. Experience. The best parenting advice I ever got was from a ‘veteran.’ Apparently I wasn’t handling the terrible twos all that well in that moment. He said to me – “Grant, it’s okay to be frustrated and feel like you want to punt that child into the neighbor’s yard. Just don’t do it. Count to 3, remember that this is what you must look like to God at times, and then keep going.”
That was a 15 second interaction that I’ve remembered for 13 years. He probably didn’t think twice about it. I’ve never forgotten it.
This is what our veterans bring to a Connect Group – experience. Perspective. Younger parents need to hear from older parents that the terrible twos don’t last forever. Older parents need to hear from empty-nesters that it’s possible to survive your teenager learning how to drive. Teenagers need to learn how to love those toddlers. Those elementary kids need some godly teenagers to look up to.
Our veterans bring their focused eyes to a group to help them see where God is working when He’s hard to see.
And all of us benefit when we see God working.