Fall is fast approaching and for me, autumn represents new beginnings. I think it’s a holdover from school days when I gathered my books and notebooks and headed into a new school year full of optimism and excitement. As an adult, I try to channel Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in You’ve Got Mail by buying new office supplies—a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils just might be the thing this year!
Fall is a great time for Society Church, because Community Groups are starting up again. Last year, I was a newbie to Society. I knew hardly anyone beyond my sister and a childhood friend who both call this community home, but I liked what I saw on Sundays and wanted more. Church wasn’t a new experience for me, but I came into Society knowing my priorities for a faith community had changed a bit. I was exploring and looking for a place that taught the Bible in more detail, aimed it’s outreach on local efforts that I could participate in, and was home to some creative folks I could hang out with and be artsy.
It’s a big deal to choose where you worship. Church is a place to learn about who God is, how to connect with Him in a deeper and more meaningful way, and a place to find friends and spiritual “family.” Faith is intimate: on Sundays, I open my heart and soul to the music we sing and respond to sermons with the understanding that they are shaping my spiritual life in significant ways. In short, a faith community can be one of the most influential communities you belong to, just short of your own family.
Last Fall, I joined the Women’s Community Group that meets on Wednesday nights. I didn’t know anyone there, but I decided that if Society was going to be my home, I needed to make friends. Wednesdays were a game changer for me.
The format is simple—we spend a few minutes doing a meet and greet and then dive into questions that reflect on Sunday’s sermon. Wednesdays are actually a little easier for me to consistently attend compared to Sundays—sometimes a weekend trip to my parents or out of town with friends will keep me from church on a Sunday. Wednesdays are perfect, however, because it’s in the middle of my workweek and I’m always in town. I can listen to the Sunday morning podcast to catch that week’s sermon if I was out of town. Even when I miss the sermon, there’s enough recap in our discussion time that I don’t feel out of the loop.
My Women’s Group—it really does feel like my group of friends now!—saw me through big transitions last year. They listened to me process a hard job situation, prayed for me through weeks of interviews, coached me through the transition into a new state job, and gave me tips on good Sacramento neighborhoods when I started apartment hunting. I made friends—real friends to meander through McKinley Park with and to call in the middle of the week to catch up or ask for advice.
Society Church practices the value of intentional, authentic community, which means it’s a really good place to make new friends. Strangers can become acquaintances on a Sunday morning. Acquaintances can become friends in a Community Group. Casual friends can become close friends through hanging out one on one. It’s not as linear as that, of course—I mean, you could bump into someone on Sunday morning, hit it off and go to lunch afterward, and find yourself with a new friend. But, there’s something wonderful about the intentionality of a Community Group that makes it so much easier to get to know other people and to be known.
Jesus practiced intentional community, too. He preached to thousands of strangers (Luke 5:1), lived among a community of acquaintances where he taught and contributed to the common good (Luke 10:1), discipled a group of 12 (Matthew 10:2-4), and seemed to have an especially close relationship with Peter, James, and John (Matthew 17:1; Mark 9:2-8; John 19:26-27). He models relational health for us.
During Summer, Society Community Groups were on break, but the women of Society hung out all summer. We met a few times at a café and took over the patio—we sipped iced coffee and shared decadent brownies and farmer’s market strawberries with each other.
Around May, I started a fun Ceramics class and posted pictures on Instagram of my creations. Next thing I know, I had a whole group of gals who wanted to come join me. It was such a hit, we scheduled a private class for Society women and 15 of us sculpted cheese plates and tried our hands at the potter’s wheel. Now, I have a whole group of friends who drop into Ceramics classes with me. It’s great!
Fall is a great time to start something new. If you’re looking for spiritual enrichment and meaningful connections, check out one of our Community Groups. There’s a group for everyone and they meet all over Sac on different nights of the week, so you can find something that fits your life. You can find details about each group, including themes, dates, and times, on our website. As for me? I can’t wait to dive back in on Wednesday nights with my girls!