The "Fearful" First Meeting

calming-your-fears_featured-imageWe were all set, excited, and a little nervous! A few minutes after 7 p.m. my doorbell rang. Our first trial meeting participant was here! I had been holding on to Exodus 14:14 for several days: The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm. Now all I had to do was put that command into practice!

Brianne, Leah, and I were prayed up and prepared with eleven friends and neighbors indicating they would come to a trial meeting for our “Coffee & Questions” group. Building relationships before inviting these friends had been crucial, and now came the moment of truth!

What were we hoping and praying would happen?

It was simple: We hoped they would come and see what our group (a Q Place) would be like. A trial meeting is a come-once-and-try-it-out Q Place, where people experience how safe it feels for them to talk about life, God, and the Bible. Planning and preparation is crucial. We had discussed the trial meeting format and knew our part in it.

Soon seven women (plus our triad) were buzzing around my kitchen drinking coffee and eating ice cream with simple toppings. Then, in the living room after a couple of icebreaker questions, we transitioned into spiritual conversations with this quote from Albert Schweitzer:

“There is one elementary fact which is quite obvious. The disastrous feature of our civilization is that it is far more developed materially than spiritually.”

After we discussed that statement for a few minutes, Leah introduced our spiritual question:

“Would you be willing to share who God was for you as a child and who he is now?
And if you could ask him one question and knew he’d answer, what would you ask and why?”

We learned a great deal about each person from the brief answers. A few ladies got choked up, even though they didn’t go into detail. Most seemed to believe in God, although the relationship seemed fuzzy for a few. The main question they had for God was “Why?” Why so many hardships? Why so much suffering? Why do bad things happen to good people?

Brianne read Proverbs 4:5-7, which we briefly discussed:

Get wisdom; develop good judgment.
Don’t forget my words or turn away from them.
Don’t turn your back on wisdom, for she will protect you.
Love her, and she will guard you.
Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do!
And whatever else you do, develop good judgment.

We concluded by asking who would be interested in trying a discussion group for about six weeks based on the questions they had for God. All seven were interested and gave us their contact information—all seven!

Several who were invited didn’t make it on the first evening, so we invited them again, telling them what we would be discussing. After hearing details about the evening, one of the no-shows was so disappointed that she had forgotten, but said she would be there the next time.

Later that week I received a couple emails thanking us for the “interesting and thought-provoking evening.” One woman wrote, “I’ve thought many times about the input from each person. Asking the question of what God meant to us as a child compared to today has stayed with me, and I’ve mentioned it to others as well.”

Prayer support for these precious friends (and us!) is critical! As E.M. Bounds says,

“[The prayer closet] is the battlefield of the church . . . the base of supplies for the Christian and the church. Cut off from it there is nothing left but retreat and disaster.”

Fran Goodrich
Q Place Blog Editor

Click here to see a video about how other groups like mine got started and sign up for our FREE online Q Place Coaching to start your own group for spiritual seekers!