Build deeper connections
Here's what we know...
Three in five Americans reported being chronically lonely in 2019 and that number was on the rise. Science has also proven that poor social connections have a greater negative impact on our health than obesity, excess alcohol consumption, and lack of exercise. So how do we create environments where we can thrive within the type of community we were created to embody?
Proximity groups provide opportunities to build deeper relationships with 3-5 other individuals or 2-3 couples. The goal of proximity groups is to provide friendships where we can be honest, transparent, and known by those who share our values and our faith.
Ephesians 4:2-4 says, "Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called."
It's difficult to build friendships that last but if we quit trying we will continue to struggle with loneliness. We were created to live in community by a God who exists in community. Let's strive together to create community where we can know and be known.
How Proximity Groups work
After registering below we will reach out regarding your group and then place you with a group of other individuals or couples. Then we will establish a group leader and set you free to plan your meetings. We are asking groups to meet at least 6 times before the end of 2024. During each meeting you will be provided with questions to help facilitate a deeper conversation rather than simply chatting about the weather or sports. the goal of each meeting is not to dig into each other's personal lives but to be honest about what we are feeling and experiencing with the goal of building relationships that are built on transparency. If you are already a part of a small group, it is likely that you will be connected with others in your small group who register.
Here are some things we really want you to know:
- There will be a group leader who is the main contact for the pastors but they are not responsible for the group. The point of Proximity Groups is for everyone to share an equal role. Everyone is committing to be open and honest, everyone should be willing to share, and everyone is responsible for the success of the group.
- While there are no rules about how or when to meet (other than meeting 6 times this year) we do ask that children not be present during your meeting times. We all know as parents that when our kids are around it is difficult to focus on other things for an extended period of time. Proximity Group conversations should be a place where you are free to be you and not needing to worry about being 'mom' or 'dad' for a while. Get a sitter or send them to the grandparents, you'll thank us later. And you can make your meetings fun! Go out to dinner, go bowling, go somewhere you can laugh as you build community together. Make each meeting something to look forward to.
- This is an experiment. Will this solve all of the loneliness in our culture? No. Could it be a step in the right direction? We hope so! We are going to try this for 2024. If it's a dud, we will move on and try something else. If it works, we will keep going, but we wanted to take steps to creating a deeper sense of community where people can belong. We want you to find your people.
So, if this sounds like something that is worth a try, register below and we will get you connected. Let's fill our lives with people who love us and have our backs every day. You were made to thrive in community, not simply survive on your own.