At first glance, you might think that Caroline and Tim Telaneus and the members of their community group have been lifelong friends. The love of Christ and the care that Tim and Caroline, Kacie and Tyler Martin, Darrell and Sarah Weisinger, Kristen and Jeff Fraser, and Brittany and Daniel Smith share for one another is obvious. As the Lord has worked in and through the lives of each person in this group, their commitment to both Christ and to one another has grown. Here’s a look at how the Lord has moved in the lives of these families over the last several years.
How has God used this community group to strengthen and encourage you?
Tim Telaneus: “A couple of years ago, I was diagnosed with cancer – and faced several weeks of changing treatment plans, scheduling a surgery, and a lot of unknowns. In this time of uncertainty, our community group was in touch constantly, sat with us when we needed to cry, sent us Scripture, prayed for us, and listened to us when we needed to talk. We’re on the other side of that diagnosis now, and I am so thankful for the way our community was there for us.”
Caroline Telaneus: “I don’t know how people walk through any difficult time – a loss of a parent, a major illness, or the daily struggles of parenting – without other believers around them. Our community group felt as close as family when Tim was diagnosed with cancer and when we lost Tim’s father more recently. They were tangible evidence of God’s care for us, and I was constantly surprised and blessed by their prayers and support.”
How has the Lord drawn you together over the years?
Sarah Weisinger: “It was a really big adjustment for me moving from a single girls community group to being in community with couples after Darrell and I got married. I wondered how I’d be vulnerable with another group. But the only way to have authentic community is to resist believing the lies we can tell ourselves about getting to know new people (i.e., Do I really matter to this new group?) and just jump in.
“I’m so glad we committed to being authentic, because we really needed encouragement during our struggle with infertility. The group was so faithful to pray for us, talk with us, and share Scripture with us. And when we finally were expecting, they celebrated with us. During good times and difficult times, they were faithful to point us to God’s Word, and that’s the most valuable thing any friend can do.”
Daniel Smith: “We’ve moved from reporting a big decision to the group to processing big decisions before taking action. God wants to provide us with wisdom not only through His Word, but also through His people.”
Caroline Telaneus: “The way we process big decisions has changed a lot over the years. We’ve gone from announcing, ‘We bought a car,’ to fully sharing about our finances and debt. God has provided other believers we can rely on for input on big decisions.”
How have you seen the Lord at work in the lives of others in your community group?
Tyler Martin: “I’ve seen each one of these guys go through difficult situations and I admire the way they demonstrate what it means to trust God. An example of that was watching Daniel navigate through an extended job search. He stayed faithful, sought counsel, and used that time to draw closer to the Lord. It was such an encouragement to us all.”
Kacie Martin: “It has been fun to see the growth in each of us over the last few years. As time goes on, we all continue to work toward knowing and being known. Knowing the day-to-day struggles, hurts, fears, and insecurities we each have and confessing where we fall short.”
How has the group helped you in marriage and parenting?
Kristen Fraser: “Navigating the journey of parenting from a like-minded biblical perspective has been a game-changer in the way we shepherd our sons. There are times we’ve grown weary with discipline, but the encouragement from our group through specific Scripture like Galatians 6:9 has helped us guide and care for our boys in the most loving way. I love how the men in our group are not only committed to being excellent in their jobs, they are committed to being faithful husbands and fathers and are committed each week to share and spur one another on the way we are called to in Hebrews 10:24-25.”
Kacie Martin: “When we have been at the lowest points in our marriage – from miscarriages to the loss of a parent to conflict – we have been prayed for, counseled biblically, and felt prioritized. Through God’s provision of community, I have learned how to be a better wife, parent, and friend.”
Tyler Martin: “We have a ton of fun as a group and laugh a lot. Even though our families are growing, and life is really busy, every couple is committed to abiding with Christ and prioritizing community. It has been such a gift.”