Grassroots are the Best Roots
Last week I had the chance to sit with a lovely group of women and hear the stories about how they came to be involved with a Journey Group.
We gathered around a table, squeezing in close to make room for everyone. We ate pizza and salad and I listened as they started with the first woman to attend an Open Hearts training telling the story of how she returned from her time at Maranatha to start a group in her church. One by one the story unfolded.
I smiled as I listened to how she asked a friend to lead a group with her, her friend hadn’t been to an OHM training, but she agreed to help her lead the first group. Slowly they added more ladies to their circle, some attending an OHM training seminar and some not. The cost and time away from work made it feel challenging for many of these ladies to receive training. But that didn’t stop them from continuing to have groups. In the past ten years they’ve started groups at three different churches!
Over the years they came to feel that they might be “breaking the rules”, having people lead groups whom we hadn’t officially trained. They weren’t sure how to stay connected to OHM, knowing that they had grown their small groups in a way that didn’t fit the model they’d heard presented.
My time in Texas as a ministry leader trying to grow groups and develop leaders gave me an understanding of their reality. I “broke the rules” too, having people who hadn’t yet been to Michigan for training lead groups. We couldn’t afford to send them and we had so many people wanting to be in groups that I risked pairing up men and women who had been through group several times with trained, experienced leaders to lead our groups.
It was my joy to bless these ladies and the work they are doing and to let them know they aren’t “breaking the rules” and they are very welcome and wanted in our community of leaders.
They were thrilled to know they can come to a Leader Training Weekend, even though they haven’t been to The Journey yet. They were excited to learn they can purchase leader guides for those leading groups who haven’t been “officially trained” yet. I told them I would be sure to have their names added to our Regional Network of leaders so they can be “in the know” of what’s going on in the OHM community.
Grass roots leaders are the foundation OHM is built on. As I sat at this table with these ladies I found myself imaging a similar group of ladies nearly 30 years ago sitting in a circle talking about their notes from the Dan Allender seminar they’d attended. They started without any training and slowly developed the methods and materials we use today.
This week the new 9 week curriculum is available for sale on the OHM website. We believe it is the next step in continuing to grow the ministry that started with that circle of women years ago. If you are reading this then I suspect you are a grassroots leader for us, or you have the potential to become one. We are grateful to have you in our circle.
Tracy Johnson, Interim Executive Director