When Brondelyn walks into Bellevue, you can tell she is comfortable in her environment. She knows the place, she knows where she’s going, and she feels right at home. But that wasn’t always the case. It wasn’t until she made the step toward connecting in a group that Bellevue began to feel like the family she needed.
“I came to Bellevue in 2016, during a very difficult period of my life,” Brondelyn shared. “I was in the beginning stages of divorce, and I was looking for biblical counseling. During that time, my counselor urged me to stay connected.”
Brondelyn had been an active member at another church but started realizing she needed something different during this difficult season of life. So, somewhat reluctantly, she decided to try Bellevue.
“Bellevue was much bigger than what I thought I needed,” she said. “At first, I didn’t see where I could fit from the outside looking in….I was a very broken individual because of the challenges in my marriage and struggling to keep that together. My husband was working out of town, so I felt like a single mom. There were just a lot of different things going on, and I didn’t have anything pouring into me.”
Knowing she needed to dig deeper than simply attending the worship service each week, she began considering the idea of joining a Life Group. She tried a few classes, but the Lord kept drawing her back to one.
“When I looked at the list of classes, there was one that just kept popping up at me,” she said. “So, a few weeks later I finally went. It was an adult women’s class, maybe 10 women in the class. They were very loving and very inviting.”
Even though Brondelyn felt broken, overwhelmed, and depressed, the ladies welcomed and loved on her as she came back each week. Over time, God used the people in her Life Group to begin the process of healing.
“The biggest thing that impacted me was that the women just enjoyed being together. They went to lunch after class and invited me. And that’s what I needed at that time. I am relatively versed in Scripture and the teaching was great, but the fact that they were loving to me—that’s what I needed at that stage in my life.”
For Brondelyn, being part of a group has been fundamental part to her spiritual growth. When she came to Bellevue, she felt the healing love of Christ as she stayed connected to the Body. Now, after being poured into by other believers, she is able to extend that same love and care to others.
“Now the leader of our group has transitioned to a different class, and she handed the class over to me. I’m realizing that God orchestrated the whole thing. God directed me and He has been using the group itself to keep me connected….They loved on me and they loved on my boys. It was a group of single women who were comfortable in their singleness—I had never seen that before! God knew it was what I needed in that season.”
Being in a group not only helped heal Brondelyn—as she came to church each week, it also gave her purpose and a place to belong. And in a church the size of Bellevue, it even gave her direction.
“Groups gave me a place to go. When I got here, I knew I was going to the West Entrance, and I knew the room I was going to. A group gives you a place to be."
For Brondelyn, being part of a group has made all the difference in feeling connected and being fed spiritually.
“It’s not enough to just come to Bellevue every Sunday. You need that smaller group where you will feel connected. If not, you are missing out on the blessing you can have at Bellevue. I really believe you get that through Groups—to know if you don’t show up, someone is going to call and be interested in how you’re doing. Something like that is everything to someone who is hurting.”
For those who have tried a group and haven’t quite found your fit, Brondelyn has a word of encouragement:
“Keep at it. Keep looking. Don’t shy away. There IS a group for you. You need the connection and somebody needs you. There are so many people who come to Bellevue every Sunday and they have all kinds of needs. And if they hear what you’ve experienced, that makes all the difference for them.”
To find the group for you, visit Bellevue’s Groups Expo Sunday, January 15, in the East and West Lobbies. You can also see a full list of groups at bellevue.org/groups.