Let me tell you a few recent stories about the impact of groups in people’s lives.
Just this summer, a group of men began to pray for a father in the group to be able to have a relationship with his 17-year-old daughter after a bitter divorce. He had not talked to her in 5 years. The group prayed for a month and his daughter called him out of the blue and wanted to get together.
Another man asked for prayer for his 100-year-old mother. He wanted to present the gospel to her. She is Jewish. After two weeks of praying for him in the group, His mother called him and asked him what books of the Bible he would recommend. Because of our recent summer sermon series he told her, Isaiah 53 and the Gospel of John. He also reminded her that when she passed away, she would meet a Jewish rabbi – named Jesus—so she might want to get ready.
Another small group has so surrounded one couple that was on the verge of divorce. They were separating property and money. They joined this group, and they are back together, doing well connected to people who are helping them work through the problems.
Over the last three and a half years groups ministry at Bayside has gone through a revolution. We started four years ago with 543 groups serving a little more than 5,000 people. Then we began to ask people to host groups and invite their friends, family, and co-workers to be in a life-giving group with them. This new strategy changed the dynamic of groups and allowed Bayside to reach out to people in the church and outside the church that had never experienced a life-giving group before. Because of all the people who jumped in and started hosting, we skyrocketed to over 2,145 groups across all the Bayside campuses. This means that over 20,000 people are involved in group meetings where they discuss the Bible, pray for one another, and connect to people spiritually every week.
We are excited about the continual depth and breadth of groups in all of our campuses. We continue to hear stories of transformation, and that come out of 8-12 people meeting in a coffee shop or in a home. Let me give you a glimpse at a few other groups and the impact that they have made.
A year ago, Pastor Andrew and Isabelle were on a soccer field cheering on their son, and a couple was introduced to them. They shared that they were having some difficulties in their marriage, so Pastor Andrew invited the couple to get involved in a marriage group (called, Re|Engage) at the church. In that ministry, the wife came to faith in Christ, and then several months later, the husband came to Christ. They are also healing their marriage through the principles shared at Re|Engage.
Because of a small group, a woman has been healed over the last three years from the horror of constant sexual abuse. She has a new brightness and joy that is wonderful to see. Her marriage is also saved and thriving.
Each week the power of the Scriptures is extended beyond the Sermon through Women’s groups, Men’s groups, Couples groups, New mom’s groups, Singles groups, College groups, Student groups, Recovery groups, and Support groups. Bayside is a dynamic place where people care for people through the power of God in community. Everyone is looking for a few friends to do life with… and that is what they find through the Bayside groups.
– Gil Stieglitz
3 ½ years at Bayside