Rachel French has faith.  She had been a member in the Greenbrier Estates small group in Garner for over a year.  When Fall 2017 was approaching, Rachel sensed God nudging her to step out and begin a small group in her community of Willow Spring.  It was a tough decision to leave.

Rachel took a risk, leaving the comfort a small group which had loved and encouraged her for over a year with no guarantee of success in launching a new group.  She didn’t have any members, experience, or group prospects.  It was pure faith in God on her part.  When she told me she was going to do it, I blurted out, “Rachel, when we were looking for people to leave their group, we weren’t talking to you!!”  I said this in love, I assure you, and she laughed along with me.

You see, Rachel is important to my family.  We were both members in the same small group.  She is a single mom with an upper-elementary age daughter, Cami, who plays well with the kids in our group and is loved dearly by the adults.  Cami doesn’t have many Christian male role models in her life.  Some of the key men (and women) she does have in her life are in the Greenbrier group, making this decision especially tough.  My wife Heather was Cami’s first Kidcity small group leader when she was 4.  I was Cami’s second Kidcity small group leader when she was 5.  If you see a little girl run across the Hope atrium on a Saturday night to jump into my arms, it’s Cami.  She’s done that for as long as I remember, and I never get tired of it.  Earlier this year, Cami wrote a worship song and sang it to our small group.  Every man in the group let her know how amazing the song was and how beautiful she sounded.  I know this group meant a lot to Rachel.

However, Rachel was courageous about starting a women’s group, and she was excited.  After collecting cards and names of prospects for new All-Play groups, I think she had maybe 1 prospective member.  Over the next couple of weeks, a couple more were added.  They responded and some showed, but eventually they found different reasons not to attend.  She was back down to one true member: herself.

She called me.  I’m sure you can imagine the thoughts she expressed of disappointment, frustration, and doubt.  Also among them was something I didn’t expect:  courage.  She was not afraid to keep trying.  It takes courage to take a risk.  Still, I hated to see my sister in Christ feel like she was being rejected.  I told her if it doesn’t work out, we would be so happy for her and Cami to come back.

Rachel decided to try another week because a couple of members led her to believe they would be there.  No one showed.  It wasn’t the first time this has happened to a small group leader, and it certainly won’t be the last.


I called and encouraged her that she did her best, and we agreed that there is just not a lot of prospects her area.  We decided she would come back to our group.

[Enter THE LORD]

Within a day, we got a prospect in her area.  Within a few more days, someone at work heard me telling the story and said, “I live in that area, I’d love to be in her group!”

In God’s eyes, success isn’t measured in the numbers or results, it’s measured in our faithfulness and obedience to Him.  Jossy Chacko, a leading equipping pastor in India, said that “risk” is just the business word for “faith.”  As a former salesperson, I agree.  I see that Rachel’s risk also shows her faithfulness to God and her faith in God.  Want to show your faith?  Take a risk and do what you know God is leading you to do.

That challenges me.  I hope it challenges you, too.  Take risks, make sacrifices, make space in your life to impact others, make multiple invites even if they are rejected, and “know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

I don’t know how Rachel’s group will end up, but she now has at least 3 committed members, and God’s not done yet.  Rachel is at peace with whether the group lasts or not, and has told me she knows that if it fails, she tried and that is worth the risk.

Rachel is right, the invite is worth the risk.  Stepping out in faith to give others hope where you are is always worth the risk.  The trials are worth the risk, because God cares even more than we do about your future small group, and he wants you to succeed.  He is truly fighting for us!  The only time we fail is when we don’t try.

What’s a risk you need to take for Jesus?

What’s holding you back?

Who can you lean on?  Don’t go it alone, reach out to someone you trust and share about your convictions and get feedback.

And hey, if you know a woman west of the 40/42 area looking for a small group, ask her to take a risk a request to be in Rachel’s group with this link: