About six years ago, Barry and Becky Swihart visited The Village and quickly found this was not just another place that they could dismiss and move on from. Everything seemed to line up with what they desired for their family—however, when they rooted themselves in a Home Group, they quickly found that this was not perfect but rather messy.
Part of the Swiharts’ initial desire to come to The Village was due to the birth of their first child. “We wanted to come to a church where we could grow deeper in the Word and be challenged to have a deeper walk with Christ, as well as a place our children could grow,” Barry said.
One weekend Matt Chandler’s message stirred Barry to pursue a Home Group. At his previous church, Barry himself led a small group. Someone referred the Swiharts to Tony and Amy Lopez’s Home Group. They started attending but quickly found reasons not to come back.
A funny thing happened when the Swiharts decided to leave their Home Group—they couldn’t
“Becky and I would come home after Home Group and discuss our annoyances with that evening’s group and how we wished things were handled differently,” Barry said. “We conjured up ways to break the news to our Home Group that we were leaving.”
But a funny thing happened when they decided to leave—they couldn’t. Barry said, “We just kept coming back. I can recall God placing it on my heart that we were just going to keep coming back.”
From then on the Lord worked on the couple’s hearts, and the Swiharts began to see transformation in the lives of the group. Not only that, Barry and Becky grew closer to one another. They saw firsthand how God was using their leaders, Tony and Amy, as instruments in their lives.
“I began to genuinely care for the people in our group and, more importantly, there was a deeper desire to know the God that had always been there for me,” Barry said.
This attitude overflowed into his work life as well after his job promotion. Before, Barry strived to attain it for his own, personal reasons. “But now that promotion is ultimately seen as a platform for me to be a leader, to use my profession to bring glory to [the Lord].”
In the beginning Barry and Becky wanted little part in the messy stories and backgrounds of their Home Group. God continued to use Tony and Amy to press on their hearts and to keep returning. The Swiharts discovered deeper wells to their relationships—not only in their group and with each other, but with their dear and loving Savior.