“I was ‘for’ community, but I just didn’t think I needed it. I was successful in business and felt confident in my decisions. The idea of true and complete authenticity was a foreign concept.” – Peter Tredennick
“So many people go through life putting on a good face,” said Peter Tredennick. “If you’re lucky they’ll share 50% of what’s going on, and a good friend might share 95%. But the remaining two to five percent – nobody wants to go there, or at least I didn’t want to share it freely. That last bit of information says a lot about exactly who I am.
“I was really good at checking the box when it came to my Christian walk. I led a Sunday school class at another church in the area, doing my Bible study and lesson plan each week before every Sunday. I was ‘for’ community, but I just didn’t think I needed it. I was successful in business and felt confident in my decisions. The idea of true and complete authenticity was a foreign concept.
“I’d always had great relationships with my buddies. But when my wife, Julie, and I came to Watermark and we joined a community group, we discovered a new level of consistent authenticity. I never expected that God would use community with other believers to change my life.
“I thought I had a pretty good idea about what to expect from a community group, but I was surprised by the true authenticity I saw there. Whatever the guys were struggling with what was talked about in the group. I was good at sharing 98% of what was going on in my life. These guys asked about the other two percent every week.
“The last two percent of the truth about me was that, apart from Christ, I could be materialistic, reckless and selfish. I thought I treated people well, but my community group loved me enough to say that my point of view wasn’t always right. We talked about what the Bible says about how to care for my wife, my kids, and the people I work with. We all learned about how to best handle difficult conversations at work and at home, and how to approach all my relationships biblically.
“I appreciated everything I had learned from my group, but I felt even more thankful when we went through a season of trials and illness. Within 24 months, my dad was diagnosed with a brain tumor and had about 18 months to live. My wife was diagnosed with tumors on her optic nerves which required both surgery and radiation so she could avoid going blind. Then to end 2016, our daughter underwent spinal surgery. It has been a crazy couple of years.
“I believe that God put community in our lives to walk with us through this difficult time. We were surrounded by women and men who loved, supported, and shared wisdom with us that prepared us for this time. The Lord was with our family every step of the way.
“I’m sure that if we were not in community, we would have survived the last 24 months, but we would not have grown in our relationships with Christ. Our community group has been there to process hard questions and show us where to look in God’s Word as we searched for answers. Through their example, I have learned to support others and trust in God’s love and grace. Today I have a much greater appreciation of every day God has given us.
“I don’t think my story is just about the hard times we’ve gone through. Difficult times are just part of life. The biggest difference that God has made in my life lately is that I have a thirst for God’s Word that I never had before. Our life at home is different, too. Julie and I always thought our marriage was good, but I compared us to people who were not doing such a good job. The community group has dramatically changed our marriage for the better because they have modeled how to best walk through communication and conflict. The group has encouraged me to step up and be a true spiritual leader and servant to my wife.
“There are still times when I don’t think I need help or I just don’t want to hear the feedback I might get from the group. That’s often a tell-tale sign that I have blinders on and am in need of accountability. You’d think that talking about all of the junk going on in our lives would be embarrassing, but it’s been the opposite. I’ve found a lot of freedom.
“If I was talking to a guy who was hesitant to jump into community, I’d tell him that I never could have experienced the spiritual growth I have without community. I’d also tell him not to wait. A few years ago, I didn’t know how much better my walk with Christ could be because of community.
“For me, biblical community has been about getting into the game with others and maximizing everything God intended me to be. I can’t imagine going through the last two years without these guys. Five years ago, my life was good, but today I’m a better Christ-follower, father, husband, employer, and friend because of how God has used my community group.”