“God has shown us what he really wants us to do. Not just meeting on Thursdays, not just going through a Bible study, but living in community,” Alice explained.
Missional community P31 lives in community by sharing a meal together, studying the Word, praying for each other, and serving the church and the city. Originally a co-ed singles group, P31 became a women’s missional community when the women decided they would be more transparent if they separated. Since then, P31 has seen a few different leaders and a few members come and go, but the aim of the group has remained the same: to serve God and his people.
Though the women come from different backgrounds, professions and experiences, they are able to learn from and encourage one another. They have discovered the growth that comes from vulnerability with one another.
“We are totally real and open with one another—completely transparent—and I think that’s provided a lot of unity between us,” Tanya expressed.
Over the years, the group has built a firm foundation in Christ and learned more about him through Scripture, which has inspired them to pursue opportunities to serve the city. While they have been trying to figure out the best place to serve the city together, currently they serve the church by providing meals to the green room during the Sunday services at The Austin Stone. This has taught them a lot about what service means.
“It’s just a way to say thanks, and make the band’s life a little easier,” Lisa described, “and it’s been a learning experience because we’re serving people who you don’t think of as needing help, but they need to be served too. I’ve realized that everyone has a poverty within them.”
“Through serving with the group, I’ve been challenged to serve people who others don’t necessarily think ‘need’ to be served, like my co-workers,” Jennifer added.
Experiences such as this one encourage the women to share the gospel with those they encounter in their daily lives.
“The cool thing about us is a lot of our families aren’t Christian,” remarked Lisa, “and I think being in this group helps us to minister to them.”
Alice, a preschool teacher, has gotten to talk with some of her students’ parents about God.
“It’s really neat to have those opportunities even in public school where it’s not necessarily allowed.”
As with any community, the women have faced challenges, but they have seen the evidence of God’s work in them through overcoming these hardships.
“There was a lot of tension at one point. We were all ready to call it quits and just go our separate ways,” explained Alice.
But after praying about it, the group decided to stick together.
I think after that there was a shift in my thinking from What can this group offer me? to How can I serve the other women in this group?” said Tanya.
Faye finds it is this sort of attitude that helps her be a better leader for the group.
“I used to critique leadership, but after leading the group I’ve learned a lot. I didn’t want to do it at first, but God has blessed it.”
Faye and the group have been focusing on the theme of equipping. Along with equipping the whole group to share the gospel with those around them, Faye is focusing on equipping the women to be leaders. Alice is currently co-leading with the intention of taking over the leadership role when Faye gets married and joins a group with her new husband. Along with that, Jennifer plans on getting baptized in the near future, an event the group is already excited about.
“Being a part of this community has challenged me to get out of my comfort zone, to make disciples,” Faye admitted. “I’m excited to see what God is going to do.”