Nudges from God

by Juli Lorton

A few years ago, the leaders of our small group announced they were moving to a different church. That left four couples with an important decision: do we stay together and, if so, who will take over leadership? One couple decided to find another group with kids of similar ages, which now left three couples. My husband, Chris, and I were already leading small groups within the student ministry on Tuesday nights, so I was hesitant to step up and take on leadership for an additional group on Wednesdays. I work full time during the school year and didn’t want to overbook our schedule. I loved the remaining group members, however, and wasn’t thrilled about losing that community. I prayed for wisdom and discernment and wasn’t sure what to do.

Chris suggested we at least talk to the Small Groups Director, Julie Zager, about expectations for small group leadership, and she assured us it was okay to start small and focus on the sermon questions printed in the Sunday program, especially given our previous commitment to the student ministry. I still wasn’t convinced after our conversation, but as we walked to the car after a service, one of the couples stopped us in the parking lot and said, “We think the two of you should lead the group and we should open it up to others.”

As we drove home, my husband said, “I’ll lead the group time if you take on communication.” At that point I felt a strong Holy Spirit nudge to say yes. As an educator, planning and communication comes easily for me, and I was impressed that my introverted husband wanted to take on the facilitation role, so I agreed. (By the way, for you introverts out there, Chris likes to joke that if you are the one asking the questions, you don’t have to answer right away!)

The time commitment for small group leadership is flexible and more than doable given the support and resources of the Northshore staff.

Within a few days, seven others joined our group, including several who were skeptical about small groups. Our first gathering went well, and by the end of the six-week series, everyone wanted to continue our weekly meetings and they didn’t even want to take a summer break! Why? Because God brought together an amazing group of people who journeyed together through life’s highs and lows, laughed regularly with gusto, encouraged each other to apply our faith in practical ways, and prayed daily for one another.

Our time together continues to energize and inspire me. I chuckle when I think back to my initial reluctance to say “yes” to the invitation to lead a small group. Thankfully, God kept working on my heart and communicating through the encouragement of others. I almost missed an amazing blessing of authentic community had I dismissed God’s call to give up control of those two hours each week.

The time commitment for small group leadership is flexible and more than doable given the support and resources of the Northshore staff. I strongly encourage others to pay attention to Holy Spirit nudges and be willing to say yes to small group leadership. Agreeing to the invitation to lead a small group might be all that’s separating you from an amazing community here at Northshore. I needed gentle nudges from Julie Zager, my husband, and another family. Maybe I can be one of those nudges for you.


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