Growing in Grace
At Capital Group where I currently work, we have a thriving community of over 600 Christians under the name of Capital Group Christian Life Groups. One of our leaders is Andrew. I attend Andrew’s Grace Group regularly. I admire his unwavering reliance on the Lord. I also appreciate how he uses minimal supplemental materials during the studies and keeps the focus on reading the Bible. But Andrew wasn’t always sure he would be leading this group. Here is the story of how he followed God’s calling and became the leader.
Although Andrew had been working at Capital Group since 2004, he had no idea that there was a faithful community of Christians meeting right at his workplace. When one of his friends from Saddleback Church, his local church, found out that Andrew worked at Capital Group, the friend brightened. “Do you know Simon?” he asked. “Simon leads a weekly life group in your office.”
Andrew began attending Simon’s group, held every Wednesday during the lunch hour. As more and more employees attended the meetings, there was not enough space in the conference room. Simon knew that other attendees would need to follow God’s leading by starting new groups to accommodate the demand. He personally asked Andrew if he would be a leader. “I was hesitant at first,” Andrew admits. “I had never led a group before.”
Down to one
While Andrew prayed about the decision, he continued to attend his regular Bible study meetings through Saddleback Church, which he had been attending since 2015. In his quiet time with God, he was led to the realization of how instrumental the Saddleback group was to his walk with God. This got him thinking about the impact that a life group at Capital Group would have too, if only someone would step up to follow God’s leading. With this on his heart, he connected with two other employees at Capital Group, and together the three of them began a new group in 2016. “My co-hosts were a reassurance to me,” Andrew confirms. “I knew I wouldn’t be alone.” They named their study the Grace Group as a reminder of God’s love and promise of salvation through Jesus.
The three hosts had a comfortable structure, sharing the responsibilities. Then, both other co-hosts left the company, leaving only Andrew to host the group. “I was apprehensive about following God’s leading and running the group on my own,” he remembers. “I didn’t feel qualified.”
Andrew’s wife Christine encouraged him to ask for direction in prayer. “All my life, I have had a sense of obedience in carrying out my commitments to God,” Andrew reports. “Through my prayer time, God brought me to the conclusion that leading the Grace Group is what I needed to keep doing.”
As a result of his recent promotion at Capital Group, Andrew often takes trips to other offices. When he can’t make the study, he asks Peter, a manager in his department, to lead the session in his place so he doesn’t have to cancel out. Andrew feels responsible not only to God, but to the group members as well. “We spend so much of our time at work,” he explains. “When deadlines pile up, the group meeting is a weekly reminder that we will always be blessed when we follow God’s leading and devote time to studying the Word.”
When Capital Group made changes in staffing and scheduling, it became more difficult for members to attend consistently. “I was frustrated when our attendance dropped,” Andrew reveals. He empathized with the Old Testament prophets. “The prophets were committed to follow God’s leading, but often times weren’t able to reach their audience in the way they intended,” he notes. “I would feel like that when I would send out the weekly life group invitation to all the members on my email list, but then only one or two would show up.”
Andrew asked Christine for prayer and guidance. She encouraged him to turn to God, and helped him change his perspective. “She helped me see that no matter how many or how few participants come to the group, God blesses our time together,” he smiles. “Even if only one other person comes, He will still speak to us when we follow God’s leading.” God sent Andrew concrete confirmation that his efforts were fruitful. “I started including an inspirational verse when I emailed the study guide to the members,” he explains. “That very day, an employee responded to me who never attends the group in person. He told me that the verse I included was exactly the one he needed at that moment in his life.”
Through daily quiet time and Bible reading, Andrew continues to enrich his relationship with the Lord, which further equips him to be a host. “I ask God to put books on my heart,” he discloses. The Grace Group members read about 25 verses of a book in each weekly meeting until they have read through the entire book. “There is no fancy prep work or tools,” Andrew asserts. “It is strictly the Word.” He also likes to pick books that aren’t as widely known, such a Micah and Esther, and to vary between the Old and New Testament.
When Andrew and Christine welcomed their daughter Eliza into the world in 2017, she brought new perspectives as well. “I suddenly started seeing all the verses through the lens of a father,” Andrew marvels. “It helps me better understand our heavenly Father’s love for me.” In fact, Andrew’s parents and family members are also devoted to follow God’s leading. “As a child, I grew up around people who loved God,” Andrew informs. He and Christine are intent on passing on this blessing to their daughter. “When I obey God by leading the group, I hope to be a role model for her.”
Andrew plans to reach out personally to the members on his invitation list. “Even if they can’t come to the weekly meetings, I will encourage and remind them that we have a community of believers here at work,” he states. “When I pray for the future of the group, I pray that God will bring the people who need to be there.”
When Andrew joined his first small group through Saddleback Church years back, he never thought that he would be leading one himself. “I still feel new at this,” he confides. “Part of what reassures me is knowing that my wife will always be my prayer partner. She has been with me every moment of this journey of leading a life group at work.” He continues, “I’m determined to follow God’s leading in anything He calls me to do. I remind myself that God doesn’t call the equipped. He equips the called.”