Making Room at the Table

10/05/2017 .
Katie Brown  .  Storytelling Intern

Brittany’s small group might be growing quickly, but it’s still just as small in one particular area: height. Currently, young children outnumber the adults in Brittany’s group and that’s how she likes it. In this group, the kids are actively involved and are learning what it means to trust God right along with their parents.

There is no kids table at this Bible study; all the members are actively included regardless of age. “Everyone sits at the table and we put on the video from whatever series we’re doing and we watch it while the kids play then at the end we make sure we all come together and say a prayer together,” Brittany said. “We try to keep the prayers simple in our group so they can understand it and we try to keep some consistency to the prayer so a lot of times they will kind of repeat what we say.”

Brittany’s group is clearly filling a big need at church. The group has grown quite rapidly. “All of a sudden it just kind of exploded at Saddleback when people started hearing about it,” Brittany explained. “I’m not sure how many we can fit. We have a full house.”

Brittany and her husband had searched for a group that would fit their needs but couldn’t find anything. “I think family groups like ours are rare because a lot of people with small kids are overwhelmed at the thought of trying to add something else to their schedule,” Brittany said. "I just kind of decided to start my own, it wasn’t really something I prepared to do. I just did it.”

During Saddleback’s Daring Faith campaign, Brittany and her husband attended a service dedicated to the importance of small groups. After the service, anyone who was interested in forming their own group could grab a packet and get started. This opportunity was the answer to Brittany and her husband’s search for a small group; they would form their own.

The first two families to join actually had no connection to Saddleback. One is a family of Brittany already was close with and the other is from the Navy base where Brittany used to live. “Neither one of the first families that joined actually attended Saddleback. From there, it’s just gotten really popular as people hear about it,” Brittany said.

At first, she didn’t feel qualified to be a small group leader. “I don’t see myself as a teacher and definitely not as a pastor type. I did not feel comfortable about trying to teach other people about the Bible, but Saddleback really does make it so easy,” Brittany said. The group has already grown faster than she anticipated and everyone, regardless of age, benefits from the weekly gathering.

“We do have kids with bedtimes, we do get interrupted and it does get really loud sometimes," Brittany said. "But we are involved in something that most people in a similar life stage at Saddleback just can’t get involved in at all. And our kids are getting something out of it.”

At this point, all the children in the group are under the age of nine, but they all enjoy coming and playing with their new friends. “They’re pretty young. It's nice to know that the friends that they hang out with every week come from families of the same faith and the same moral background,” Brittany said.

Brittany is excited to see how the group will get even better in the future. “Everyone as a parent wants their kids to follow the Lord, so it’s nice to get all that ingrained when they’re so young,” Brittany said. “It’s nice to be in a group with people who are in similar life stage, but also to have kids to grow up together, to go through those stages together.”

She encourages other people to form groups like hers that incorporate children as much as possible. “There’s a huge need and desire for those types of groups,” Brittany said. “If you can’t find something you’re looking for, start one anyway. You’ll be surprised how many people want the exact same thing.”

Click HERE to learn more about joining or forming small groups.

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