David Taylor is a burly, blue-eyed, country boy with no filter. A few weeks ago when I showed up to church on Sunday morning in ripped jeans, Converse and a t-shirt he said with a mischievous smile, "Hey Alyssa, nice of you to dress up today." It's worth mentioning that he was wearing worn out Wranglers, cowboy boots and an untucked shirt.
David Taylor…by the way, he's never David, always David Taylor. David Taylor and I are probably opposites in every way. We have different political views, we dress differently, we're different generations, lead different lifestyles, grew up in different environments, etc. It makes no sense that we should be friends. But we are.
This kind of weird friendship that shouldn't exist is my favorite kind of friendship. We disagree often. We love making fun of each other. It's real.
I've had the honor of knowing David Taylor since I was 9 years old. He helped teach my Sunday School classes, led my youth group, led, and still leads, men's groups, serves in any way he can and most recently served as Lay Leader of the church. It's safe to say that David Taylor has been involved in every possible group Trietsch has had to offer.
So when I met with him for lunch to talk about Life Groups, I was expecting the typical spiel. I expected him to talk about how great it is and everyone should get involved in a group. I expected him to ask me if I was in a Life Group. Blah blah blah.
I came to our meeting with a long list of questions. I really thought I'd have to dig for information. I asked my first question, "How has your Life Group changed your relationship with God?"
He started to cry instantly. David Taylor is a sentimental man who often gets choked up, but I didn't expect the emotions to freefall so quickly. We sat in silence for a few minutes while he tried to control his tears. As soon as he'd start to speak, his eyes would well up again.
He started with this story as his voice shook:
"150 years ago when I was a young man and hadn't been at Trietsch very long, I was going through a lot of personal issues. My marriage wasn't what it should be, we had money problems, I struggled with alcohol abuse and more of that kind of stuff. Steve Griffin called me up out of the blue. I had spoken to him at church a few times; I looked up to him and admired him, but I didn't realize he noticed me at all.
Anyway, he asked if he could come pick me up and ask me a few questions. I said yes so he picked me up and we drove around Flower Mound for about an hour. He let me just spill my guts about everything that's been going on. Since then, he's been a mentor to me and given me advice whenever anything would come up. He has always been there to encourage me.
Years later, I watched him go through the death of his wife Margaret. It was extremely inspiring because he never got bitter or angry, at least I never saw it. All I saw was open assurance and a peace. He talked about feeling peace a lot and assurance that Margaret was taken care of and Jesus was taking care of both of them. This relationship has emboldened me and encouraged me in my own faith.
I thought this was a once in a lifetime experience, but with Life Groups I get to see growth, openness and closeness with God and His people every week."
David Taylor continued to tell me story after story about how Life Groups and ongoing relationships have helped him experience God's presence on a daily basis, but his first story about Steve stuck with me.
Isn't that what we all want? We just want people we can do life with who remind us that God is with us through all circumstances. We need each other. We need a safe place to talk about how our life really is with God.
Life Groups have nothing to do with age, race, background, gender or lifestyle. It's just a group of random people who can meet on a specific day and time to share life together. My hope is that I can make more of these weird friendships that shouldn't exist like I've made with David Taylor and he's made with others.
David Taylor added, "There's something oddly refreshing about sitting in a room with broken people who know that they're broken and aren't afraid to talk about just how broken they are. My prayer is that everyone gets a chance to experience it."
Our next Life Group launch will be on Sunday, May 7. Visit tmumc.org/life to learn more.