Many of you received an email this week about our new Neighborhood Groups. I invited each of you to simply hit “reply” just to let me know that you received the email and you had read through the invitation and information. Many did more than hit “reply”. You shared your excitement, encouragement and hope. Thank you! For the next several weeks, Rev. Wray and I will be sharing more about our Neighborhood Groups, even as our groups begin. This week, I want to share several Frequently Asked Questions along with a couple of next steps.
What is a Neighborhood Group and why are we doing this?
We’ll be unpacking the “What” over the next few weeks. For now, the Neighborhood Group (NG) initiative is an attempt to connect all of our active members with other active members who live nearby. In Western Loudoun, “nearby” means something different than in, say, River Creek. We are asking each NG to prayerfully come together for one activity each quarter of the year. The first will share Holy Communion.
Simple. While a number of our long-time members have a solid network of other long-time members, many of our newer members do not. The NG initiative grew out of our recent “Shelter at Home” response to COVID-19, and out of our Methodist heritage, as an attempt to connect families and individuals where we live.
Also, NGs provide an organic means by which to reach out to those who are new, first-time visitors, friends, and acquaintances, etc. right in your neighborhood. If you were new to Leesburg and visited LUMC, would you rather have a visit/phone call from someone who live miles away, or someone who lived right around the corner?
Do I have to participate?
No. Some who choose not to participate already have a supportive, caring, serving network within LUMC. If so, that’s great! We do not want to replace that. Keep doing what you are doing. We would ask, however, that you expand your horizon and look for ways to include those who are new.
Do I have to give up my current small group/circle/discipleship group?
Absolutely not. In fact, as you get to know others in your neighborhood, we encourage you to invite them to your small group, women’s circle, or discipleship group.
What is expected of me?
Graciously receive and respond to the outreach of your NG’s Point Person. Thank them for taking on this role, and offer to help in whatever way you can. If your NG does not have a Point Person, consider either stepping into this role, or expressing your support and willingness to help. Third, join with others in your NG to pray, discuss, and discern what God may be calling you to do.
We’ll share additional FAQs next week. Until then, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask Rev. Wray or me.
“Now to Christ who is able to far more than we can ask or imagine, according to his power at work within us…” (Ephesians 3:20).
And to God be the glory!
Rev. Jim Wishmyer