Living Life With a Small Group
Sometimes it’s hard to find a good fit. Even in church.
This was the case for Leah Hatfield—a single, young homeowner, medical care manager, and follower of Jesus—as she searched for a small group…a place to belong.
“I finally had a house, space, and freedom in my life,” Leah said. “Yet, I was starving to be part of something. I just couldn’t find the right place.”
“If there’s not a group for me, I guess I could start one,” she told staff at Southeast’s Southwest Campus. “I felt there had to be other singles who were also trying to find their place. I just had to trust God that He would bring other singles who were supposed to be there.”
Leah put her “group stress” aside.
“I decided if God brought one person, it would be okay,” she said. “In the training to be a group leader, I learned a small group is simply people who love Jesus doing life together. That doesn’t have to be awkward or uncomfortable.”
It turned out that it wasn’t hard for anyone who came without knowing anyone.
Alex Diehl had searched for community for years before going to the singles group meeting at Leah’s house. It became all he hoped it would be.
“I’ve learned what it’s like to truly be in community and what it means to have a strong Christian circle that will hold me accountable, but do it in a loving way,” he said. “I don’t feel ashamed of the things I’ve been through or done, and I feel like I’ve found my life group.”
Dan Copenhaver moved to Louisville during COVID—not the easiest time to find community. He, too, took a chance on a group of strangers.
“People in this Bible study have become my closest friends—my ‘away’ family,” Dan said. “We do our best to connect in our study and outside of it, even though we are geographically in various parts of Louisville. I have learned to trust each person over time, and I look forward to seeing the work God continues to do through our group in the future.”
In just a year, the group became so much more than Leah ever dreamed. Singles began coming from different campuses and parts of the community until there were more than a dozen meeting together each week.
“Our Bible study is rich,” Leah said. “We encourage one another. We do life together. We show up when things are difficult and things are great. People share like they’ve never shared before. It’s become a safe place to grow.”
Leah also cooks for her friends.
“I quickly felt people in our group (were eating) alone all the time,” she said. “So, I began cooking dinner once a week for them. That became so important. We need that time to eat together and share our day. Now, we may do potluck or order pizza…no matter what we do that week, everyone has a seat at the table.”
Doing life together happens throughout the week. While some meet for dinner after work, others see a movie, go running, or help one another with projects at their homes.
Saundra Bryant knew from the beginning this small group was for her.
“I felt comfortable and welcomed,” she said. “This group is ‘my people.’ I look forward to getting together with them no matter what is happening. I feel that I can share personal feelings and each one would help me in different ways. I want to serve and help them however I can.”
Leah said hosting a group has changed her life as well as that of others.
“It’s so easy,” she said. “And it’s so important. Our lives have changed because we do life together.”