At NSCBC, we believe that multiplying disciples who make disciples is crucial to seeing a gospel movement on the North Shore. Throughout the year, we want to highlight encouraging stories of our people growing through discipleship groups and preparing to multiply their faith. If you are interested in joining a D-Group, to be discipled and make disciples, click here.
Will you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Shauna Anthony and I live in downtown Beverly with my husband Silas. We have been attending NSCBC for about 4 years and have benefited from being part of the community through our small group, serving on Sundays, and living in close proximity to many others who attend, making it easy to do daily life together. I work as a nanny in the North Shore area.
Who is in your discipleship group, and what led you to want to join a D-group?
Lauren M. leads our discipleship group. The other two members are Angela and Jennifer. Jennifer attends Faith Family Church. It has been beautiful to connect to the larger local body this way. I was led to join a discipleship group because of the feedback I was hearing from others who had been involved in one. I knew I needed the elements of accountability from a small group of women to stay in the word consistently and be challenged on both my understanding and application. I knew I needed my Bible comprehension to not only occur in the vacuum of my own mind. It has also complimented being part of a small group, which serves a different need.
What has been the most impactful part of your discipleship group experience so far?
What led me to join a group has also turned out to be the most impactful part for me: the felt need to be held accountable for staying in the word. Prior to starting this year-long commitment in March I was feeling low-grade dissatisfaction; the feeling of seeking to fill a vague sense of longing. The problem was that I knew exactly what I needed. I had at one time tasted the deep satisfaction of dwelling in the word of God. I wanted to want the Lord more. After a few weeks of trying to keep the pace of reading about a book of the Bible a week, coupled with a desire to come with edifying thoughts to share, I was back into the rhythm of intentional daily reading.
I have been greatly encouraged by the mutual desire when we meet to discuss and revel in what we read. There is something really special about sitting in awe together. Inevitably the questions we bring to the table lead us into a deeper awe as we work through the “tough stuff”. The more I read, the more I want to read and to understand. There is nothing like hungering for what actually satisfies.
What is one way you’re growing in your love for God and his word so far this year?
I have been growing in my love for God this year as I work my way through some of the Old Testament that I had never read well before (Leviticus and Numbers being some). The Old Testament has shown me so much about who we are and the character of our covenant-keeping, slow to anger, quick to rescue, sovereign God. He is holy and this makes him worthy of all my trust. I can feel my heart bending more towards him as I consider this week after week.
What is one area of your life where you’ve been spurred on to fresh obedience to Jesus, from being part of your discipleship group?
I have been spurred into obedience to Jesus by a refreshed desire to consider the diet of my mental consumption; what I listen to, read, watch, think on. What I noticed quickly was how much time I actually do have to read the Bible, study it, and spend time in prayer. I realized what it is like to trade out a mindless audiobook for the passage we are reading or a commentary while folding laundry. I am a morning Bible reader and nighttime tv watcher, but I have also realized how refreshing it is to end the day in the word and not just begin it there. I have been convicted of the lesser things I am quick to feed my mind and the numbness that can lead to. It is wild how a song lyric can get stuck in your head and play on repeat. I have begun to imagine if my subconscious could be playing scripture over and over instead and how this ruminating could lead to more Godly reactions and responses.
What is one way that your discipleship group is helping you to love others well (family, friends, co-workers)?
One thing I have been struck with in the past many months is the beauty of what it means to be part of the family of God, both locally and world-wide, arching the span of history. Meeting regularly with these three women, I have been reminded that we are to be as a body would be. If a foot is hurting, then the rest of the body compensates. When we consider this concept, it provides a genuine love and concern for brothers and sisters both known personally and just those we only know of. I can feel myself growing in honest emotion towards all of God’s people for unity and to be sustained as we strive together in the beautiful yet fallen world. In this same way, I have also felt more genuine concern in prayer for the loved ones of my brothers and sisters in Christ.
I want to pray for and care for these three women’s’ family members as if they were my own. We have an incredible source that we pull from in loving others. The figurative head of this body is Jesus. Loving others out of this source has brought refreshed energy and purified motivation to my people-pleasing self!
What is one thing you’re learning in your discipleship group that you want to take with you when you disciple others in the future?
One thing I feel I am learning from my group in regards to discipling is a healthy balance between personal conversation and conversation on the word of God. It is so important to have both these elements. In the past I have struggled with the boldness to turn the tide of a conversation and point emotions to unshakable truths. At other times I can be too agenda focused to slow down and talk about daily life. The truth is that these two topics feed into one another because scripture is the most helpful tool we have in dealing with our daily grind. I desire to have the boldness to bring God into the conversation more readily and naturally as I see how fruitful it is to give him that place of honor.