The Honor of a Lifetime (a small group leaders memoir)

The last 6 months leading up to LT were stock full of trials, uncertainty, and fear.  Twice I considered not coming out to Colorado and instead considered staying at home, seeing a counselor, or perhaps  working through my emotions alone in Columbus.  Even a week and a half before we left, I still was unsure if I would make the 20 hour trek out to the mountains.

Obviously I am out here now, and I credit a single phone call (and God)  to me locking in my summer in Colorado.  Diane Gress called me one day while I was at drill, so my day had been exhausting and I was far from wanting to discuss LT.  The call came regardless and I was asked to small group lead.  The mental and emotional state I was in at this moment caused my entire body to scream, no don’t do it Isaiah, you aren’t worthy of leading anyone much less yourself, of course I was well aware this was the devil trying to hinder me, so I said “yes” without really even processing what that meant.  Unfortunately, now I didn’t have a choice to go or not…gosh I am so glad that call came through.  And like you all know, on May 22nd I arrived in Colorado.

No matter how hard I tried though,  I could not get the anxiety of small group leading to leave.  As the first Tuesday came closer and closer, all I could keep thinking was, you’re going to mess up, they won’t learn anything, you’ll hinder their spiritual journey.  It’s funny when I am reminded of my insecurities in situations like this, but even more funny to see God come through in crazy ways despite my fears.  Of course the first small group was amazing!  What should’ve been a 2 hour small group quickly turned into a 4 hour small group full of vulnerability, testimonies, and crazy bonding.  I got to know each of the men far more than I had ever expected, and we had 9 more Tuesdays to go.

Another great aspect of small group leading is the intentional time I get to spend with my guys one-on-one.  Mark Petruzzi has become my consistent gym partner, Brendan Walters  is my best friend, so we do just about everything together, Nate Smith and I tackled an intense 14er only 11 days in, Hunter Barney and Ethan Patel (please only call him EJ he doesn’t enjoy being called any other name) are my roommates, and every moment spent with them is an incredible blessing from God.


Nate and I on top of our mountain
Brendan and I sleeping outside in hammocks

God continues to humble me every day as I press into the role of small group leading.  In the midst of my insecurities and fear, men in my small group and even outside of my small group have encouraged my leadership skills and all I can do is point to God.  I am not yet to the point where I can look at my life and say, dang Isaiah you’re such a good leader and your small group is going so well, but hearing those words from these guys has lead me to realize that we as humans can never stand in the way of God’s work.  Despite how much I may doubt myself, God continues to work through me even when I don’t see it.



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