This post is the second post in a series within a series. Broadly, it is a continuation of my series of posts on the Methodist class meeting for the twenty-first century. (Click here for a link to the last general post in this series, which also contains a link to an outline of the rest of the series.) More specifically, this is the second post in a series written by Nick Weatherford, who is a member of Munger Place Church and a leader of a Kitchen Group, which is a 21st century class meeting. This series will allow you to hear directly from a lay person who is currently leading a class meeting. In the first post, Nick shared his story with you and talked about the role that being in a class meeting played in his recommitting to a life of Christian discipleship. In this post, Nick talks about the impact that leading a Kitchen Group has had on his faith. The third post discusses the impact that Nick believes that these groups are having on Munger Place. In the final post, Nick talks about the impact that he thinks reclaiming the class meeting for the 21st century would have on contemporary United Methodism. I deeply appreciate the time that Nick has taken in writing this series of posts, which will appear throughout the course of this week. He has agreed to follow the discussion and interact with any comments or questions that you may have, so I hope you will take advantage of the opportunity to interact with Nick.
What impact has leading a group had on me and my Christian faith?
Leading a kitchen group has helped me to recognize that the Holy Spirit is active and is always amazing. Only a portion of our meetings revolve around Bible study. I have honestly struggled with that part of our meetings. I was so nervous the first couple of weeks. My voice shook as I stumbled through our lesson. I wanted them to be blessed by this experience the same way that I have been blessed. Christ’s story isn’t contained by whatever text we are studying though. He is present in the lives of our group members today and we need to hear that story as well. Each believer, strong or struggling, new to the faith or old, brings something to the group each week that someone needs to hear.
We pray each week that the Lord will be amongst us and I have come to realize that God is present, and that no matter how much I try to run a good meeting, no matter how eloquent my prayer might be, etc., the success of our groups has nothing to do with the leader at all. The Holy Spirit is truly active in our group, wanting to bless us with his presence. You cannot convince me otherwise. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking miracles and conversions here. Sometimes it’s the small steps or just the love of someone reaching out and offering some encouragement from shared experience. But I can see it. I see it in the relationships that are being formed, the changes occurring in people’s hearts and the resolve of the group to stick it out this time. I have also learned that people long for honest interactions about their faith, doubts, struggles and triumphs. It is difficult to share stories of our faith in work and often with our friends and families.
– Nick Weatherford