About this time last year we launched our GRACE Groups network at St. Andrew’s. GRACE Groups are geographically defined and exist to Glorify God, build Relationships, do Acts of Service, create Caring Community and further our spiritual Education (G. R. A. C. E.).
These groups have been a joy to oversee and to participate in. My group has done some gardening around the church, had some really great times of fellowship, studied John Ortberg’s God is Closer than You Think and made Christmas tree ornaments for the children of our church as a ‘thank you’ for their presentation on Pagaent Sunday in Advent.
Through my group I have gotten to know some of the folks in the pews, been encouraging of them as well as encouraged by them, and shared in times that simply did my soul some real good.
Tonite, after arriving home from my regular class at the gym, I was called by my co-leader to come over to the church for a moment. When I arrived, I found my group BBQing burgers, putting out salads and wearing “happy birthday” hats. My birthday isn’t for another 5 days, but my group wanted to celebrate with me and they wanted to surprise me. They succeeded in both.
In the five points that make up the GRACE acronym, I think Caring Community might be the most nebulous. But my group showed me this evening what that looks like. By coming together, gathering a little food and sharing their time and laughter, my group showed the depth of their care for me. And I was so touched and so blessed by it.
If you are a member of St. A’s and want to get connected with a GRACE Group, please come speak to me about it. If you are already involved with a GRACE Group or if you are a coordinator, why not spend a little time thinking about how you can embody Caring Community? Ask yourself if there is someone in your group or in your neighborhood who could use a kind little touch – a bit of baking, a “thinking of you” card, an errand that they might need help with – to brighten their day. When we care for others, we show God’s love and kindness to them in ways that are deeper than words.
Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. (Romans 12:10 NLT)