It was nearly three years ago that I had a life changing experience. I attended a training for counselors led by Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend. I expected it would be like many of the trainings I had experienced that focused on information. However, this training was both educational and experiential. I was learning valuable information on how people grow but what was really transforming was vulnerably connecting with others in a group process format. What I experienced was deep level healing by connecting with strangers (they all became close friends by the end) and sharing all my strengths and weaknesses, failures and successes, and fears and dreams. I experienced the power that occurs when people who are committed to loving and exhorting one another come together with the sole purpose of helping one another grow.
Since then, I have been passionate about helping others experience the transforming power of connecting to others in authentic and vulnerable relationships. At Crossroads we offer several growth groups. You may be asking, “What is a growth group?” Simply put, a growth group consists of 3-10 people who are invested in and committed to the personal, emotional, relational, and spiritual growth of themselves and of the other group members. Currently, Crossroads offers the following growth groups:
- Connected Man
- Connected Woman
- Connected Marriage
- Marriage Intensive
Growth Group Components
One of the components of a growth group is safety. Safety in terms of there being a level of trust that group members can rely on one another to keep personal information private and confidential. Safety also refers to there being no judgement. Safety allows for a sense of acceptance which is an important aspect if group members are to experience growth and transformation.
Another key component of growth groups that results when safety has been established is vulnerability. When group members have a level of safety and trust they will often reveal their true selves. Past hurts, current struggles, and the good and bad we all have inside are openly talked about. Why is vulnerability so important? The answer is when we share our vulnerability with others we allow them to give us what we often cannot give to ourselves: honest feedback and compassion. We also learn an all important universal lesson: “You mean, I’m not the only one who feels this way.” or “You struggle with that too.” Vulnerability helps you to know you are not alone and combats the feeling of shame that many people experience.
Drs. Cloud and Townsend write and speak extensively on the role grace and truth play in the growth process. Grace without truth is license; truth without grace is judgement. The growth groups at Crossroads have a balanced approach between grace and truth. Members are committed to supporting and accepting one another while also challenging and exhorting one another by speaking the truth in love.
The Power to Change
We cannot change on our own. We need others. The reason why we cannot change on our own is that we are created for and need relationship. This need for others starts with birth. We are born completely helpless and rely on people for survival. Our families are supposed to give us what we need to grow. Some families do a good job. Other families do not. All families fail in giving us all that we need. One of the benefits of growth groups is they can help us to get what we did not receive in our families.
Growth groups can also help us to heal relational hurts. These types of hurts can only be healed in relationship with safe people. For example, the man who grew up with a distant father and did not receive the love and guidance he needed can experience healing through being a part of a group where others can help him to receive care and valuable feedback. The group can help him to see the good in himself and to transcend what he did not get from his father.
Connection to God and others in authentic relationship is vital if we are going to experience growth. The bottom line is we need others to help us change. Chances are you had someone invest in you. Think about it! It could have been a coach, teacher, mentor, advisor, parent, counselor, or friend. The concept of the “self-made man” is a myth. Psalms 27:17 says, ” As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Growth groups give us the opportunity to sharpen and be sharpened.
Are you ready to grow? If the answer is yes you have to get connected and stay connected. Take control of your growth process and call us at 623-680-3486 to learn more about our growth groups. One of the best investments you can make is in your growth. Let us partner with you as you work to reach your full growth potential. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.