By James Skeen
No church building to meet in, no white shirts and ties, no callings or protocol…… At the beginning of 2019, President Nelson asked us to gather together in our homes with friends and family to study Jesus’ gospel, to support one another, to feel God’s spirit, to learn of Jesus and to become one in Christ.
Not being very successful with Family Home Evenings throughout our lives, my wife and I decided to approach Come Follow Me from a different angle. We knew our non-member neighbors had been struggling with personal issues and family contention. They had been to church with us before, but had never been willing to accept an invitation to meet with the missionaries. My wife and I made the decision to invite them to meet with us each week to study the New Testament and seek support through the Lord’s teachings and words. We gave them the Come Follow Me manual and explained that we wanted to encourage and reassure them of God’s love during their time of need. And so 2019 began with my wife and I and our neighbors meeting each week to study the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. As time passed our little group began to grow. Others who were in need began to hear about our meeting and started to attend. It didn’t take too long and our group of four grew to 15 people at times. Each week the group encouraged one another to spread the word of what we were doing and invite anyone who might benefit from being with us to come and participate. Over the course of the year, many people, members and non-members visited our group, some just once, and others many times. Each week we discussed the simple and liberating principles of the gospel and what they meant to each of us. We explored moments of personal struggle that people in our group were having and searched for the Lord’s teachings that would best support that person in need.
Our meetings weren’t about trying to uncover any deep dark secret in the gospel; rather we focused on the love, the healthiness, the freedom, the strength, and the hope of Jesus’ teachings and how those teachings can affect our daily life.
As this beautiful year of learning about the gospel came to an end it reminded me of the simplicity of the Lord’s promise, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Mathew 18:20)
Being a part of this experience made me reflect. I thought of the many moments where a small group of believers have gathered in His name and the change that came to those people and the world; Joseph Smith and a band of followers in a little log cabin, Peter and a group of disciples gathered in an upper room, Lehi and his family together in a tent, Adam and Eve under a tree communing with God but most of all I thought of a mom and dad and a handful of shepherds gathered in a stable around a child in a manger; No church building to meet in, no white shirts and ties, no callings or protocol just the opportunity to gather as one to worship, commune and experience the love of our Savior.