“My friendships influenced who I was in every way – what I wore, how I acted, what I liked, and even how I spoke,” said Adrianna Monge. “I realized there was nothing God-honoring about my relationships.”
“I grew up in California in a family that professed Christianity, but we never talked about God. I somehow had an understanding of God’s sovereignty and goodness, but I completely lacked an understanding of what a relationship with Christ looked like. I simply agreed that God is real.
“Throughout my time in college, I was living deep in my sin. I idolized my friendships and cared about my friends’ opinion of me more than anything. To continue to feel loved and accepted, I was sleeping with guys, doing drugs, and drinking excessively.
“Because I wanted to be included, I would go to church with my friends. We were inconsistent with what we said we believed and how we lived our lives. Despite my lifestyle and choices, I had a hunger to know God. I knew there was more to life than what I was experiencing. In hindsight, I know it was the Holy Spirit working in me and nudging me towards Him.
“In 2014, while on a trip to Los Angeles, I was reading a book by Judah Smith called Jesus Is. That book so clearly explained the gospel to me. Because I didn’t understand sin before, I didn’t know my need for a savior. I finally realized the importance of Christ’s death on the cross. It was an action out of sacrifice and love, an undeserved grace on me for the sin in my life.
“After a conflict and disagreement with my friends at the time, I found myself completely alone. Suddenly the people I idolized were no longer in my life, and I felt so desperate. After giving my life to Christ, I did not see friends as a group of people that could encourage my faith.
“When I found myself friendless and empty, I reached out to an acquaintance that previously invited me to The Porch, Watermark’s ministry for young adults. It was in the small meet-and-greet moments my first night at The Porch where I felt genuinely seen and acknowledged by people. They were unlike any personal interactions I’d experienced before. My desperation was met with kindness, genuine interest, and engagement. I was looking for new people to surround myself with, and these were the kind of people I wanted to be around.
“Within a month of attending The Porch, I started the Membership Process and joined a community group. Our new friendships were fun, but conversations were very surface level throughout our first year and a half together. As new believers, we were learning more about the Bible and Jesus, but we didn’t know how to be vulnerable with each other.
“When I started going through re:generation, Watermark’s biblical recovery ministry, it brought a new expectation and level of transparency to my community group that wasn’t there before. As we started confessing sins to one another, dealing with conflict, and sharing every bit of our lives, we grew so much closer. The more we pursued transparent, Christ-centered lives, the more we desired to pursue each other relationally.
“Looking back, I can see that the two biggest catalysts in my walk with Christ were going through re:generation and being surrounded by a community of believers. These two areas of my life fueled each other. My group encouraged me through the program, and I was bringing the practices and tools I was learning back to my group. In that season, we steadily grew together as women and daughters of Christ. There are sins I thought I was going to keep secret my entire life, but my community group loved me and showed me grace when I finally confessed. The spiritual disciplines I learned in re:gen have continued to be fostered and encouraged over the years by my community group. Now four years later, we study God’s Word together, we are aware of what is going on in each other’s daily lives, and we’re a prayerful part of decisions each other makes.
“It’s clear to me now that people are an important part of God’s plan for our lives. I am surrounded by a group of women who desire to honor the Lord; I see it in their individual walks with Christ and in their love for people. My life before Christ was marked by inconsistent friends and an unawareness of my own sin, but now it is marked only by His redeeming grace. I have learned the real purpose for friends and community – to be reflections of His provision, grace, and sufficiency in our lives.”
Learn more about community groups and Membership at watermark.org/membership