Last night we had our first small-group meeting with our new church.
If you go to any size-church at all, I highly recommend small groups. If you go to a pretty big church like we do now, I HIGHLY recommend them.
It's been a bit of a struggle the last few weeks - going from a church of two dozen, to a church of 1,500, is a bit overwhelming. We've met lots of nice folks, especially since we started attending Sunday School and Wednesday night Bible study. But - and this is going to sound awful - I'm having a hard time remembering names!
I know! Terrible, right? But, except for a few folks, I've tended to forget their names just as soon as they've shaken my hand! And when you can't remember someone's name, it's hard to make a connection with that person. Am I right?
Apparently the church leadership must know that making connections in such an atmosphere is tough, too, because they just started a new session of small groups.
Oh, I was so excited when I heard the announcement! I'd just been praying, and telling God that it sure would be nice to be in a small group setting so we could get to know some folks better. And then - the very next service! - there it was!
The guy in charge of the groups is so funny with his promos - yesterday I found myself being sad for the day when he wouldn't need to interrupt the announcements anymore.
Last Sunday, he led a "tour group" through the sanctuary, and then demanded $5 each from them before the pastor shut him down. And then he told a really funny story about Quizno's, and how sometimes we get so focused on our problems (or, our sandwich going through the line) that we don't notice anything else around us.
Yesterday, it was a cave man suit - because apparently he was offended by the slogan "Small groups - so easy, a caveman could do it!"
Fortunately (because the church is half an hour from us) there was a group starting up just north of here, about 12 miles, and the children's pastor is the leader.
When we got there last night, we realized we did already know the host family - they're in our Sunday School class (I didn't know their last names, so I didn't recognize it on the group list) and the wife's parents live down here and go to church with my mom. Her sister was best friends with Lauren, the daughter of my friend and former co-worker LaJuan. (And my brother dated her sister briefly, but we won't mention that!)
The couple has a beautiful, brand new home. And a beautiful, nearly 10-month-old daughter! Who was so good the whole night - if Anna Marie had been that calm, I might have been more apt to give motherhood another go!
We laughed. We prayed. We (at least I) ate WAY too much pizza. Anna Marie did kung-fu fighting with two boys in the next room.
After most everyone had left, Jason and I sat and talked with Pastor Bob and his wife for a while. (Ok, so I did most of the talking. What else did you expect?) We had more in common with the folks in the group that we would have imagined.
And we learned we weren't alone in the forgetting names department - one lady who had been there much, much longer than we (like years longer) said she's still meeting people and having that problem.
And poor Anna Marie - when we were discussing what to bring to eat next time we meet (in two weeks, because of Mother's Day) someone jokingly suggested sushi. Which would've been fine by me - but we settled on Mexican food, because, let's face it, who doesn't like Mexican food?
But, just before we left, I made Little AM attempt a bathroom break. And while we were in there, she looked at me with gravest concern and said, "Mom, the next time we come here we're eating sushi, and I don't like sushi!"
Guess she must've freaked out after hearing "sushi" and not heard anything else.
She was much relieved that the menu would be from south of the border, not the Far East.
So, at least I know the names (and some true and untrue facts about, thanks to a game we played) about a dozen of the folks from Cornerstone.
Just 1,488 left to go!