This year was my first time being in a St Mick’s Growth Group, and I don’t think it could have come at a better time! 2023 saw me start my first year of uni, as well as two new jobs. All of these changes were blessings, and equal parts exciting and terrifying. As the year began, I couldn’t help but feel daunted by all of the unknowns. I was hopeful that my first Growth Group would provide some wisdom and encouragement as I entered this tumultuous season; and I was right!
This year, I have been a part of Rob and Margaret Thomas’ young adult Growth Group. It is a joyful place to return to every week; full of good food, fellowship, and some spirited debates about which Arnotts Cream is the worst (the Orange Creams were staunchly opposed). In our studies, we’ve tackled Numbers, Habakkuk and Mark; as well as the concept of discipleship and talking to others about Jesus. I’ve enjoyed the careful detail we paid to the Old Testament– it made sense of passages that I normally steer away from. But I think my personal favourite study was delving into Mark’s gospel. There was a question at the end of every study that asked where the passage fit into the wider narrative of God’s plan for both Jesus and ourselves. Not only did that question prompt me to consider how these stories directly affected me, but it also opened up conversations that helped me get to know my group better.
That’s probably my favourite thing about being in a Growth Group– the connections you make with others. My group encourages me faithfully with their prayers, and being able to cheer them on in their own faith has brought me great joy. There is nothing cooler than rejoicing together as God answers our prayers for one another. These heartfelt relationships have also resulted in a good deal of fun. My group has especially enjoyed going all-out with our 7pm supper themes–decking out the lawn with decorations for an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ theme and handing out party bags for our ‘children’s birthday party’ week.
But even better, these relationships have created a strong support network, a testament to Christ’s vision of the church. They remind me of Ephesians 4:10, which tells us that “speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” Growth Group provides a great opportunity to examine and explore God’s truth, which allows us all to grow together. My group has encouraged me and prayed for me as I encountered all of the changes 2023 had to offer, and I have loved being able to do the same for them. I am constantly learning from my group’s faithfulness, patience and compassion, and am spurred on by their zest for the Lord.
I would encourage everyone to seek out a Growth Group that speaks the truth in love, and I look forward to continuing growing with my group in 2024.
Please get in touch with the office if you’d like to join a growth group for the remainder of 2023 (or next year). Or let us know if you’d like to consider leading your own group too: