Story Teller: Abel Rodriguez

Abel Rodriguez felt compelled to be in a small group.

Abel had been attending Eastside for a few months at the invitation of his brother and sister-in-law.  He had initially resisted going to church but changed his mind when he realized that the choices he was making were taking him down the wrong path.

Abel decided to make Eastside his church home and attended a meeting to learn more about small groups, gatherings of people who meet weekly to make friends, follow Jesus, and make a difference.  Abel was chosen to lead a group, but the group members couldn’t make their schedules line up, so the group ended up folding.

Abel continued to attend church, but he still felt strongly about being in a small group.  He knew it would be easy to fly under the radar in a big church without ever developing the kind of friendships that truly impact our lives.

Abel learned that Eastside was going to start forming small groups based around people’s interests and passions.  Since he loves to hike, Abel decided to start a hiking group with Bernardo and Monica, the brother and sister-in-law who had invited him to Eastside.

Abel, Bernardo, and Monica now have 30 group members who meet on Saturday mornings at a local hiking trail.

One Saturday when they had just finished their hike and were having breakfast, Mark, a member of the group, saw a woman eating alone, so he struck up a conversation with her.  When the woman told Mark that she had been lonely, he invited her to join their group and to visit Eastside.  They prayed for her, and she went on her way.

The following week, the woman attended church.  She reached out to Abel, thanking him and his group for inviting her, telling them she could not wait to start hiking with her new-found friends.

If you’re interested in leading a little community of people who gather to make friends, follow Jesus, and make a difference, visit eastside.com/lead to learn more.  Not ready to lead a group just yet? We've got a group for you to join: eastside.com/groups

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24-25 (ESV)