February 4, 2013

To Know and be Known

Computer servers around the world "know" me as a number.  I prefer to be known as a unique person. Patsy, with an overdeveloped sense of whimsy and an underdeveloped sense of punctuality. Or, Patsy, who is fond of practical theology and disinterested in politics. For me, one-on-one interactions and small group meetings are a way to know others and be known in a deep, meaningful way.

Limit the size. I have mentored women and been ministered to most effectively in groups of two to six people. My Campus Crusade Action Groups in college and my one-on-one discipleship appointments in a local ministry fit the style of a quiet woman like me. I do attend noisy "small" groups of 25+ people and learn a lot by listening, but I rarely get a chance to say anything of a personal nature. It takes me an eternity to warm up to a crowd and be known by them.

Make it intentional. To form a bond of fellowship, I need to meet with other believers regularly outside of the worship service. In our fast-paced world of  two-income families and other commitments, it is hard for me to find a small amount of time to do what will encourage me for a longer time. So, I agreed to meet another pastor's wife the first Tuesday evening of every month. We reserve the time on our calendars and try not to let other events crowd it out.

Aim for balance. Knowledge is a two-way street, and we need each other in the endeavor. I want to be more open with other women so that they understand me as well as I know them. I learn more of how to show love to others when I learn more about them and vice versa.

Keep it Christ-centered. There is some value in learning that another woman loves shoes or ice hockey, but discussions with others must go beyond what non-Christians talk about. Studying God's Word or a Christian book together helps us to focus on the truth about God and to see ourselves in the right perspective. One book I use is Legacy of Faith, From Women of the Bible to Women of Today by Lydia Brownback (ISBN 978-0875520049). This publication shows that modern women face the same sort of trials and temptations and can flee to the same God for grace as the women mentioned in the Bible.

Participating in small groups, with their care and nurture of individuals, can help Christian women see that they are more than a number in God's eyes. This process of knowing and being known happens for the ones giving mentoring and ministry as well as the ones receiving it.


  1. "Knowledge is a two-way street." I'm a very private person, so I struggle with this one. Many of the pastor's wivese whom I most admire are transparent about their struggles. I need to learn from them!

  2. After working as a counselor, it's taken me a while to remember that I'm supposed to share my struggles, too. I have been blessed with a few choice friends who have helped me learn that I can be transparent. :)

    Small groups have been a great blessing to my family at different times. Since we've not typically been in one place for more than a few months, we've been thankful for the ability to "plug in" to small groups so that we have a chance to get to know people and families beyond saying hello on Sunday mornings.

    In our new church the small group is intentional about being a welcoming place for sharing those struggles that you know you need to share, but not wanting to let the whole world know. We have been able to be open in a way I'm not used to experiencing. It's also the first place you go when you need physical help: say for instance your entire family is sick and no one has strength to do anything for about a week; small group was the first to jump in and bring meals and offer help. There wasn't one person who organized it, it just happened naturally.

    I could go on, but I'll just say, that when God does bring people into your life with whom you can be transparent and know that they love you, it helps you love God more. I want to be that for other people.

  3. Thanks for telling us about other benefits of small groups, CristyLynn.

  4. Yes, I guess I got carried away with how much we've appreciated small groups, but the point was really that in that small group setting, I felt free to work on being transparent. I have a hard time asking for help, for lots of different reasons (some not so sanctified), and in this setting, it's been easier for me to learn how to do that. Anyway, I'm kind of sleep deprived, so I'm sure I rambled a good bit. :)


Join the conversation!
All comments become the property of Sunday Women.

COMMENTING HINTS: If you are baffled by the "Comment As_____" choices, you can simply select "Anonymous" and include your name in the comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...