I grew up in a non-christian family, when I was 13, I followed my mother to a church. However, I had a bad experience and grew up with the idea that Christianity would be easier if it was only between me and God. No one else needed to know about my life, and I was fine as long as I read the bible on my own each day.
One day, my classmate, Carlin, invited me to check out Youth Impact. I was shocked by how friendly everyone was, and thought they were being fake. I didn’t understand Life Group because it was against what I believed in. To be honest, Life Group felt like a chore. I didn’t mind coming back to Youth Impact each week, but I would intentionally skip Life Group by giving excuses.
I later realized the real reason why I didn’t enjoy lifegroup was the fear of what people might think about me through my sharing during discussions. Thoughts such as, “Am I doing the right thing? What if I say the wrong thing, will I get punished?” were amongst those thoughts which flooded my mind when I was with any lifegroup members. I found it hard to be myself, and for a few years, i distant from the lifegroup, only coming mostly for worship experiences.
Last year, I was heavily involved in the planning of camps for my school CCA. The planning process required me to commit many hours, and I prioritized camp preparations over Worship Experience. Thankfully, my lifegroup leader, Yiling, never gave up and often checked in on me but i often brushed her off. I did feel a distance in my relationship with God. It worsened to the point where I could no longer experience God in my life anymore. I fell back into my old sinful ways and continued straying further and further away from God.
I came to a point where I knew some things had to be changed. I knew I was not right with God and last year, I decided to rededicate my life to God. I didn’t know what to do, but God did. God did a renovation in my heart, starting with the wrong belief I had that Christianity was only between me and God.
This year, my lifegroup leader shared about serving in Life Group. Remembering a promise I made to Yiling to be more active in lifegroup, I decided to offer my help. While thinking of suitable icebreaker games, that fear of men invaded my mind. My thoughts told me that I lacked experience in serving compared to other members. Worst, the thoughts told me I was not good enough to serve God.
However, God is a gracious God. Even when I was giving Him excuses to avoid confronting my fears, I remembered Him gently speaking to me about being fearless. God told me that there was no need to fear and to give it a shot. That gentleness from God won me over.
The first time I served in icebreakers, I realized my games were not suitable because there were more people than expected. The fear that I might mess up started to flood my mind, and I panicked. I was forced to think on my feet. But from that first icebreaker, my mind started to think of ways I could improve so that future lifegroup sessions could be made better. I was aware that this was my way of serving God. I wanted things to be better so that it could reach and help everyone in lifegroup. This small thought sparked an interest in me feeling a burden for my lifegroup. I found myself trying to grow closer to my lifegroup members, even having an interest in their lives.
During the recent series in Youth Impact, ‘Culture of the House’, I learnt that Life Groups are a vital part of Impact Life Church. During Life Group discussion, my group shared how we envision our lifegroup to be. One factor everyone pointed out was that we wanted to be people who could better connect with each other within our lifegroup.
If we could show love to our own community by being real and transparent, then we would be able to extend that same love to our newcomers as well.
I became more aware that loving people was not just the leader’s role. There were things we could do better as a lifegroup and this is the responsibility of the entire lifegroup.
God is interested in people. That means none of us were made to do life on our own.
With that conviction, I made a personal decision to make the lifegroup mine. I stopped viewing lifegroup members as just my Saturday friends and knew if I wanted to see change, my relationship with my lifegroup members had to go beyond Saturdays. I longed for lifegroup sessions to become a time where we could genuinely sit down and get to know one another on a deeper level. That change in belief saw a change in how I approached lifegroup. I no longer found excuses to run away. I wanted deeper and meaningful conversations with my lifegroup instead of superficial ones. Through my little acts of serving, I received even more from lifegroup sessions.
Now I see why we are made for community - because none of us can do life on our own. As I grew in relationships, God helped me battle my fear of men. For the past 3 years, I had never gone for DNA or Basic Ministry Training (BMT) because I feared I wasn’t good enough or prepared enough to serve. I fear making mistakes and felt unqualified. During a sermon, I remembered hearing that God doesn’t call the qualified, but qualifies the called. Through that, I realised that it was indeed my own fear of judgement that stopped me from being able to serve others. This was not a matter of competency.
“As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend”.
- Proverbs 27:17
Through the current sermon series, Relationship Goals, I realised that it God-centered community will help me to grow. This verse speaks to me about the importance of having good friends who can sharpen one another in our walk with God. I want to encourage everyone out there, keep pursuing and building healthy relationships with those around you. Doing life with God is not just between you and Him. God cares about people, and that means we should too, starting with our own lifegroup members.