Our Own Private Eden

Chris Ames —  July 5, 2009 — 18 Comments

Our church does this thing that is fairly popular with Evangelicals. They facilitate the process for regular attenders to form “small groups”. We meet once a week, usually 3-4 weeks in a row and then we take a week off each month. You’re matched up by age, location, and stage of life.

In our group we do bible studies and read books together. Often, we choose topics related to marriage and child-raising. It’s pretty laid back and it has added tremendous value to our marital relationship and our parenting ability.

One of the unexpected delights (and disappointments) is that we are encouraged to break up every year and a half or so and form a new group. This is usually a sad time at first, but it keeps the cast of characters in our lives fresh and unique. You end up befriending people who have the very basics in common with you, and sometimes little else. If it wasn’t for small group you never would have met.

Our good friends Jody, Jennifer and baby Makenna, who we met via small group, are an excellent example. I don’t golf. I’m not “outdoorsy”. I don’t have a green thumb. On the surface, Jody and I don’t have a great deal in common. Needless to say, we don’t run in the same social circles. But we’re friends now. And we have way more in common that I ever would have imagined in the beginning. He’s the kind of guy you do not want to be around if you have a weak bladder because he is so funny he will make you pee your pants. His dedication to his family and wife is an example to me.

One of the benefits we’ve enjoyed from being his friend is that on the 4th of July we get an all access pass to a well-manicured private golf course. We relax. We let the kids run as fast and (almost) as far as they want. It’s refreshing and beautiful.

While all the well-to-do rich folk are enjoying perfectly grilled filet mignon and salmon on the deck of the clubhouse, we’re lounging about on the back nine, sipping sweet tea and chewing on the Colonel’s extra crispy fried chicken, in our own private Eden.

It’s a tradition I hope we keep for many years to come.

Chris Ames


I am an Internet citizen, sarcasm enthusiast, and digital practitioner. I am married to the lovely Dewdette and we have 3 children: The Artist, The Smiling One, and Boy.

18 responses to Our Own Private Eden

  1. I am in a small group at NP right now and we are coming up on the end of our time together. It is very sad for me to think about this because I have become close with all of the people in our group (especially considering I was not keen on the idea of small groups when we first started, and now I can't imagine not being in one). I imagine it will be difficult to go back to Brown's Bridge and form a new group when the time comes, but as you say "it keeps the cast of characters in our lives fresh and unique". Thanks for the inspiring outlook.

    • That's great, Adam. It was really hard at first. But now that I can look back over the span of 5 groups I can really see the wisdom in doing it this way.


  2. Wow Dewde. Pretty rad…almost brought a tear to the ol' eye.
    Maybe the husband and I will join a small group after all – we went to Starting Point, but never reached out any further. You think I can request to be paired up with someone who has awesome video editing skills so my memories of it will be as poignant? ;-)

  3. Great video! Those are the prettiest little girls and the most handsome little boy I've ever seen. We miss you guys!

  4. You make some great videos Chris.

  5. Great video Chris! Matt and I were saying how we always love your videos, so creative!
    Hope ya'll are doing well!

  6. Superb film Chris. Just about to link to it on my blog. (http://www.timrylands.com/blog) A warm, sun kissed evening and an excellent example of how a film about "a moment to remember" should be composed. Nice work sir!
    Tim Rylands

  7. Love the video. What kind of camera are you using?

    • Thx Jay. It's a few years old and starting to feel a bit dated now, but it is the Canon HV20. Hit the scene with the first crop of consumer level HD camcorders.

      If it keeps taking video like that I may never need to upgrade.



  8. What a great post…sorry i could not make it.

  9. Chris,

    Man… I love your videos. This reminded me of how much fun my family had being involved in "Life Groups" over the last several years. We used to host a large one at our small house, and it was amazing. I'm hoping we get connected with another one this fall.

    Oh, and I think this is the happiest anyone has ever been … In a sand trap.

    • Dude. Next time you find yourself in a sand trap just kick off those shoes and socks and frolic like nobody's business.

      That would be my motto if *I* golfed.


  10. very nice thing you do… nice video as well

  11. Ok, you almost made move back….I soooo miss small group time.

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