The Trial Meeting

We 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’d 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 (the triad, pictured here) were prayed up and prepared with eleven friends and neighbors indicating they would come to our “Coffee & Questions” Trial Meeting. We knew that building the relationships before starting our Q Place was 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 a Q Place is 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 icebreakers, we transitioned into spiritual conversations with this quote from Albert Schweitzer back in 1922: “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.”

Next, 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 seem to believe in God, although the relationship seemed pretty 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: 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 briefly discussed this passage.

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 are interested and gave us their contact information—all seven!

As the triad debriefed and prayed after everyone left, we felt the most appropriate material we could discuss in the coming weeks is “How Could God Allow Suffering & Evil?” from the book Tough Questions. This is a topic of interest to many.

I’m sure the ladies who came are thinking about it, but you never know if they will return. Several who were invited didn’t make it this first evening, but we will invite them again, telling them what we will be discussing. I have 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.” After hearing details about the evening, one of the no-shows was so disappointed she forgot, but says she will be there next time.

Prayer support for us and these precious souls 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.”

Click for a FREE copy of the Trial Meeting Format.

Fran Goodrich
SW Regional Catalyst

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