Touching lives one heart at a time, changing the world one life at a time
What could be more fun and fulfilling than time spent in intimate conversation with a small group of friends about the One you love?
That’s why I love care groups. I believe everyone needs to belong to a care group at some point in his life.
Most Christian churches have care groups which consist of small circles of people of the same sex and age group who bond together on a regular basis and help one another reach their God-given destiny. This is a far cry from most “emotional support groups” or gangs that influence you to get drunk or get wasted and ultimately cause you to sink further down the hole of depression and emptiness. Care groups are different. And believe me, you need something like this in your life. I know I need this.
I’m blessed to be a care group (CG) leader of a group of women who help one another in their personal adventures with God, sharing in the joys and triumphs of overcoming spiritual battles, the amazing insights and realizations, the precious lessons of life, and the sheer joy of revelation upon revelation of God’s amazing love as proven through actual experience time and time again. This, and a whole lot more, are the stuff that make care groups something to really look forward to each week, or each month, depending on the schedule.
Our CG meetings often churn out such precious nuggets of wisdom borne from experience that I’ve decided to write down each lesson as far as I could remember. Yes, I may be the leader of my group, but I do learn a lot from my CG members. In fact, I learn a lot more from them than they do from me.
Care groups push you out of a self-centered existence into a life meant for others.
So here’s my partial list of IGCG, or Insights I’ve Gained from my Care Group:
- The power of praying for one another. I’ve witnessed how committed group members often make the happy discovery that praying for one another can be very powerful, as God rewards those who look out for others instead of focusing too much on their own needs. Care groups push you out of a self-centered existence into a life meant for others.
- Faith can move mountains and cause floods to recede. The previous week was marked with torrential downpours that caused flooding in many areas. Two my CG members actually saw the flood instantly recede from their homes when they prayed and stretched forth their hands at the rising water.
Your personal struggles are not always about you. They’re about the people who will be blessed through you. That is the reason why every struggle is worth fighting for.
This reminded me of a the time when a storm hit a few years back, and I stood in our porch and stretched forth my hand towards my mother’s house nextdoor and prayed for her protection. The next day, I saw on Facebook how the strong winds had felled down the largest, sturdiest trees in our village, along with the roofs of some houses, while not even a single tree or plant in my mother’s yard had been affected. Amazing.
- You can measure one’s spiritual temperature by his commitment to the care group. Whenever love gets cold, one could think of a hundred reasons and a million excuses not to come to the CG meeting.
- Jesus meant for us to be motivated by compassion whenever we pray for healing to others. Because one could easily do that as an automatic gesture—without looking into the person’s eyes and actually feeling their need. This often happens when, for instance, a friend would ask you to pray long-distance, via text or private message, for the brother of her boss’ sister’s neighbor. Or for the mother of a classmate’s uncle’s cousin.
As much as possible, pray for healing in person and, whenever possible, go with a small group of other believers. The latter should prevent the possibility of people worshipping you as a superstar healer because they saw you lay your hand on the sick and he got healed. I’ve got a lot more to share about this, which deserves another blog post.
- The gift of giving. I’ve always thought I had the gift of giving, just because I’ve always enjoyed giving to others and feeding hungry people. Lately, I realized I may not have that gift after all. That’s because I’ve seen people who are naturally inclined to give to others in need despite the fact that they had almost nothing. I mean, these people I am talking about do not even have enough money for their own needs. And yet, they give naturally—like it was second nature to them, willingly, automatically, without second thoughts. Now, these people obviously have that gift. I do not.
- Working for the Kingdom can make you a constant target of the enemy.You don’t know how many times we’ve all battled against pains and sicknesses—all kinds of obstacles and hindrances that the enemy throws at you to cause you to become discouraged, doubtful, and depressed. Oftentimes, the enemy uses your loved ones and family members and emotional weaknesses to throw you off guard. These are things meant to delay or stop anything you might be doing for the Kingdom. But the good thing is that we are not unaware of the enemy’s schemes, and we possess the POWER to overcome them by faith. Being in a caregroup is like being in a special tactical warriors’ team. As Jesus said, there is POWER in our agreement and collective fight. A united stand unleashes heaven’s power against the powers of darkness.
Most young people are teachable and open. Thus, they are able to grasp more spiritual truths than most adults can.
These ones I’ve learned from having care groups composed of newbies and young people:
- Being a discipler is pretty much like taking care of a plant from the moment you sowed a seed. It takes a lot of patience, it takes much time waiting for it to finally sprout some leaves, and the diligence to regularly nourish it with water, sunlight and nutrients. And did I say it takes patience, patience, patience…
Yes, there are times in a CG leader’s life when you feel like nothing’s happening, like all your efforts are just one big waste of time. But more often than not, your CG could surprise you when you least expect it—you would hear their testimonies, their exploits with the Lord. And just like a mother with her children, you would be able to see with your own eyes how they’ve grown in their faith. And it would all be worth it.
And then, you’d realize it wasn’t you at all that made them suddenly bloom. It was God.
- Most (that is, not all) young people are teachable and open. Thus they are able to grasp more spiritual truths than most adults can. Young people are smart. Be like the young people ;-).
Many adults respond to spiritual truths with this learning defect we call AKNY or “Alam ko na yan (I already know that).” And the sad thing is that spiritual truths are not learned the same way as physical or natural truths. Spiritual truths have a way of masquerading as being too simple, too “babyish”, too basic, too trivial. Spiritual truths are precious gems hiding in plain sight. And they could only be seen through the eyes of those with childlike faith.
Spiritual truths are precious gems hiding in plain sight. And they could only be seen through the eyes of those with childlike faith.
- Life coaches. I heard that many people in the West hire life coaches to help them get their lives in order, pursue the right goals, and move towards the right direction. Well, CGs are like getting top-notch life coaches for free, and the best part of it is that they do not give advice out of mere human wisdom. Holy Spirit-given wisdom is always the best and can stand through eternity.
- Raising from the ground up, starting from scratch. Many CG leaders prefer mentoring those who already exhibit leadership qualities and tend to avoid the newbies, or those who still seem to require “much work”, or even those who appear to be total wrecks. They are unaware of the sheer joy of “starting from scratch” and watching the gradual transformation of an ugly worm into a beautiful butterfly. These are moments reserved for those who have the patience and who persevere to the end. These are the joys reserved for the true spiritual father or mother.