Building a Community

by Allison Kunz

Categories: Youth Ministry

In a community the size of LOPC, it can be hard to find a place where you are truly known. That’s where small groups come in. Last year, shortly after my husband and I moved to California, we participated in a young adults’ small group through LOPC. It’s through this small group that we were able to make many of our closest friends. Small groups like these draw members of our community closer together, supporting one another along our own personal journeys of faith.

One of my favorite things about small groups is that they aren’t just for adults! Youth and children at LOPC have opportunities to participate in small groups on Sunday mornings and during youth group programs – like By the Way and Youth on Wednesday – arranged by grade and gender guided by a caring advisor. After hearing the day’s Bible lesson, these groups gather to share joys and concerns from their lives while discussing the topic of the day. In these groups, many of our youth find a unique place where they can truly be themselves, accepted for who they are.

When P.J. (18) first started coming to BTW as a freshman, he was doubting his faith and struggling at school. Though nervous about his first visit, he found a warm welcome that developed over time into a close bond with the guys in his small group. That summer he went on the youth mission trip to Seattle, which is where the guys started to open up to each other. P.J. says that’s when they started to deeply consider their beliefs together; ” I could actually sit down and talk with them about my belief in God. I learned to respect others’ beliefs and fortify my own beliefs a little more. There’s no other place where I’ve done this, actually.” The group had earned its members’ trust, opening the door to discussion of deeper things going on in their lives in a way they could not share with friends at school.

“I never thought I’d have that many close friends that I could see every Sunday,” P.J. reflects.

P.J. dreams that everyone would find a group they can trust, with whom they can share their true selves. If we could make his dream a reality, every person finding a small group to call their own, it would be a huge deal! If you are interested in finding a small group for yourself or for your child, or leading a small group of youth or children, please contact Chris Baldwin at

P.J. with some of the guys in his small group.