We recently had a great conversation with our Next Steps & Event Lead, Ryan Stewart, about his experiences with LifeGroups at RG.
Q: What is your history with groups at RG?
A: My wife, Ashley, came to RiverGlen first and though I was reluctant, eventually I came along. I was recovering from a traumatic brain injury that I got while I was deployed with the Air Force. I was having a mental health crisis and I needed hope. Everywhere I turned I ran into a wall.
I didn't know where else to go so I started coming to church. I was moved by a message Ben gave and decided to be baptized. I still had a lot of big questions and I didn't have a place to ask them. I heard about the Alpha group. At Alpha, they tell you to ask whatever questions you want, and I said "well I hope you're ready, here it comes".
Q: How were your questions about God and faith received at Alpha?
A: There was no judgment at all. Everyone was glad that I was asking hard questions and was accepting of where I was at in my faith journey at that time. Everyone was respectful of my opinions and wanted to discuss them. It felt like a safe space. This allowed me to come to peace with the unknowns in faith.
Q: What were your next steps after Alpha?
A: My table group at Alpha connected really well and we decided to do Rooted together. Rooted allowed us to go deeper into the Bible and answered more of my questions and grew my spiritual disciples.
After Rooted we continued to meet as a LifeGroup. I still come to my life group leader with questions, a huge part of my spiritual growth was through that life group. A group to walk through everything with. Post covid we are all doing things alone and are isolated. It gave me an outlet to go and talk to someone. It’s not all spiritual: helping with life stuff, having fun, helping through struggles, that's stuff is important too.
Q: What would you say to someone who is unsure about joining a group?
A: I find that there are 2 kinds of people when it comes to hesitancy to join a group. One kind says "that's not for me, my wife is making me talk to you". To that person I say, what do you have to lose? It's a free meal and a chance to ask questions. In a society where people are judgmental, this is a judgment-free zone.
The other kind of person is new to church or new to RG. Doesn't have a community here. Maybe they have faith but want to go deeper. Or maybe you think that Alpha and Rooted aren't deep enough... This is your chance to help others go deeper and answer their questions. Jumping into an established group can be tough, jump into Alpha and start fresh and create community.
The next sessions of Alpha and Rooted start next week. I hope to see you guys there!