Small Groups Are Scary

Small Groups Are Scary

Small groups are scary.  At least that’s what I thought most of my life as I skillfully did everything I could possibly do to avoid being a part of one.

They gave me visions of sitting criss-cross applesauce in small circles, singing kumbaya, with forced sharing of intimate stories and lots of crying.  Not my thing.

It wasn’t until I arrived in Cedar Rapids in my late 20’s that I made any real effort of actually trying one.  I’ll be honest, the first couple I tried to be a part of eventually flopped, ended, or disintegrated into messes, which just cemented in my head even more that they weren’t worth my time.

So with a not-worth-my-time attitude and my propensity towards being as introverted as one can be,  I thought my time in small groups was over. JUST NOT GOING TO DO IT. No, no, no, no, no. No Thank You.

Until last year. I tried again. This time, it was a Bible study group of women. I only joined it because my husband was a part of the same Bible study organization, as were my kids—and even though each met on a different day, we’d be studying the same curriculum and daily questions together. So weighed down by sheer mom-guilt alone, I decided I should try it.

This particular group was super-structured, and involved intense, weekly individual homework. It wasn’t too big, or too small. We (15 ladies) had a set timeframe of starting and stopping, set number of questions to answer, and a set number of minutes for “socializing” which was great for my general let’s-just-dig-in-the-Word-and-get-on-with-it mindset. You know what?? I LOVED IT!!!!  Turns out, I just do really well with structure. Like, SUPER structured. No sugary snacks, no coffee time, just a tiny bit of socializing, and lots and lots and lots of Bible study in and out of the meeting.

This revelation has been huge. Small groups are scary when they are a structure that doesn’t fit how I’m wired, but there are so many out there! And so many options!

So if you have given up on them, or are weirdly wired like me and just need structure to function, can I encourage you to try again? And maybe again? And then maybe one more time? And maybe once more after that?

Leah Carolan
Director of Worship & Media


Did you enjoy this article? Did you laugh, cry, or learn something new?  Let Leah know.

    My Small Group Is Better Than Your Small Group

    My Small Group Is Better Than Your Small Group

    In truth I hope your small group is ‘as good as’ or ‘even better than’ mine!

    I wish I could wave a magic wand and grant everybody the kind of small group experience that I have. My small group is made up of six women. We’ve been meeting for two years. We have seen some of the highs and lows of life and we have borne them together. When it’s time to celebrate, we do it together. When it’s time to mourn, we are there with good food and a listening ear. Of course we all have families, responsibilities, and work waiting for us. However, we prioritize this time together because we are called to be in community. One that points us towards others and towards Christ.

    The truth of it is that because we have chosen to be vulnerable, to reveal our hearts and our sins with each other, this has allowed our group to flourish. There is unity is knowing the struggles are shared. We bear each other’s burdens in this way.

    Staying at a surface level and refusing to reveal the actual details and sin in your life is the kiss of death for a group.

    It’s tempting to hole up in your own home, your own mind, and your own heart. It’s so incredibly tempting to say NO to the invitation to be vulnerable. It’s so comfortable to sit on your own and ignore the call in your heart to connect, because connection takes WORK, and who wants to do more work?

    More than likely if you are saying no to connecting, to being vulnerable, it’s because you’ve been hurt before. You can’t live for long without getting hurt in this broken world, however I encourage you to take the risk. God will see the step you are taking to connect and He will honor that.

    If you are ready to take the step of joining a small group, or taking your current small group deeper into connection, I’m ready to help you.

    At Cedar Hills we are committed to seeing small groups grow and mature into a beautiful group of Christians who are speaking truth and love to each other.

    It takes guts to be in a small group, but it also reveals God’s glory.

    Lindsey Ungs
    Connection & Communication Architect

    Did you enjoy this article? Did you laugh, cry or learn something new? Let Lindsey know.

      An Evening With Miniatures

      Monday, October 24, 2022, 6:30 – 8:00 PM

      See and hear the magical story of miniature houses created by Joyce Firzlaff, in the Gathering Space at Cedar Hills Community Church.

      Joyce  Firzlaff will have a short presentation and several award  winning houses will be on display.  Cookies and Coffee served.    Door Prize.

      Tim Vink – Guest Speaker November 6

      We will gather for our annual Congregational Celebration on Sunday, Nov. 6 at 10am in between services.  (No Adult Sunday classes this day, but the children will still have classes). Cake and coffee to be served.  We will finish around 10:45am.

      This year we welcome special guest speaker Tim Vink from the Alliance of Reformed Churches.

      Tim Vink grew up in Minnesota on the lakes and sports fields but also in the pews of a vibrant congregation of Jesus. His life verse from Luke 12:48 was etched in him by strong Christian parents, “To whom much is given, much will be expected.” The emphasis was full of grace from God, and full of potential and opportunity.

      Through 35 years of evangelism, disciple-making, and helping diverse churches plant more reproducing churches, Tim has experienced the power of making Jesus our model for ministry today. Working with a multiplication mindset, embracing the fullness of the gospel of Jesus and New Testament patterns of Kingdom growth, and receiving all the help offered by the same Holy Spirit—the dynamic results have been life-giving for hundreds of new churches and tens of thousands of people. The Alliance of Reformed Churches will be an exciting next chapter where Tim serves as the Director of Spiritual Leadership and Outreach.

      Fall Choir

      Join the choir this Fall season! Rehearsals are on Wednesdays, starting Oct. 12 at 6:45pm in the Lime Room (right hallway, all the way to the end).  Choir will be singing at the 8:30am service three Sundays this Fall – October 30, November 13 and December 11.

      Choir is open to high school age and up.  If you know you part (Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass) that is helpful! But we can also help you find your voice part by range.

      Questions? Contact Stuart Geiger


        If You Teach It, They Will Listen

        If You Teach It, They Will Listen

        My fourth grader has been sitting in service with us since he aged out of Children’s Church. I knew he had the ability to sit that long, but I wondered how well he would listen to the teaching. I found out Sunday afternoon.

        After hearing a sermon on the four chairs and the new Like Jesus app, he was moved to come home and download it on to his device. My husband and I looked at each other with a shocked expression. He was listening.

        He then proceeded to take the four chairs survey on the app. He said he did not know every word, but that he could generally figure out what they were asking. Then, from the other room, we heard him watching the video that corresponded with the survey. Wow.

        What a great lesson for me as a parent. My fourth grader was ready and willing to engage with the teaching at church. I see it as my job not to get in his way, but to facilitate whatever learning I can.

        Lindsey Ungs
        Connection & Communication Architect

        Did you enjoy this article? Did you laugh, cry or learn something new? Let Lindsey know.

          Like Jesus

          Like Jesus

          When we hang out with my grandson Mikah we play lots of games to keep him entertained. Many of the games go something like this: “What does a cow say?” If he does not moo then we all moo. Repeat until Mikah says, “Moo.”

          We moo, cluck, oink, baa, and growl (with claws up!), then we branch out to truck and tractor sounds. We seek unusual sounds to make. What does a golf cart say? What does a giraffe say? What does a rhinoceros say?

          Our journey to grow like Jesus is not a game, but it works like this toddler game. What does Jesus say? What does Jesus do? What does Jesus think? What does Jesus value? Once we figure it out we keep at it until we sound and look and live like Jesus.

          “Whoever claims to live in Jesus must live as Jesus did” (1 John 2:6).

          The Apostle Paul talked about it this way in Galatians 3:27, “And all who have been united with Jesus in baptism have put on Jesus, like putting on new clothes.”

          I’m certain that those who watch us make animal noises for Mikah can tell which animal we are imitating. I wonder if, as the world watches us, they can tell when we sound and look and live like Jesus?

          I think they can!

          Kent Landhuis
          Pastor of Teaching & Leadership

          Did you enjoy this article? Did you laugh, cry or learn something new? Let Kent know.

            Little Lights

            LITTLE LIGHTS

            The more I get into Scripture the more the fake versions of Jesus I have held in my head slowly get melted away.

            I just finished up another journey through the Bible and the last thing that caught my attention was in the final scenes of John’s revelation where we are told there is no longer a need for the sun, moon, or stars because Jesus is our light. We sing songs about this!

            “No need for the sunshine in heaven we’re told —the light of the world is Jesus.” 

            I’ve gone my whole life understanding that Jesus would be the light in heaven. Then I read this in Revelation 22:5: “Night will be no more; people will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, because the Lord God will give them light, and they will reign forever and ever.”

            Isn’t that beautiful? Not only is Jesus the light, but we are each given light and reign with it forever.  Someone said to me, “Oh, like how the moon reflects the sun!” and I had the thought, “Yes, it must be something like that!” Jesus is the light and the source of our light that we are each given is Jesus.

            Imagine a place where each walks around glowing in the glory of the son, and in the glory of the son’s light enveloping them as well.

            Does that change your view of heaven?

            The more I get into scripture the more I discover these little details that I had gotten “wrong” or maybe just “not quite right.” But these details matter!

            I want to be LIKE JESUS—but I want that view, that Truth, that understanding to be completely and fully true. As we press in to know Him more and more may He continue to show us more of His Truth!

            Leah Carolan
            Director of Worship & Media


            Did you enjoy this article? Did you laugh, cry, or learn something new?  Let Leah know.

              Have the Gift of Hospitality?

              Do you have the gift of hospitality?  If so, you may be interested in learning about the role of an usher.

              Ushers welcome people into the church and worship services with a friendly face.  They also assist our visitors with questions, materials and help them find a seat.

              Everyone is welcome to learn more about this volunteer opportunity to display our value of hospitality! Join Gary Sager and Jim Boeke for an informational meeting Sunday, Sept 25 at 9:45am in the Gathering Space.

              Women’s Tuesday Bible Study

              Bible Study with Joanne Lodge

              Tuesday mornings 10am.  This women’s Bible study is led by gifted Bible teacher Joanne Lodge and is open to women of all ages.  The group is currently studying the book of Romans.   New participants are welcome to jump in at any time during the study – no registration required.

              When: Tuesdays at 10am
              Where: Red room
              Teacher: Joanne Lodge
              Materials needed: Bible and paper for notes if desired.

              Love. Belong. Serve.