Posted by: Brad Stanford | October 3, 2009

Full Circle

There are starts and stops in life, aren’t there? You get to the top of elementary school, only to find yourself at the bottom of jr. high. You get out of schooling and into life, only to find yourself in an entry-level position. You work your way to the top, only to find the “top” is the lowest member of the board.

Or in other areas: your kids all leave home, and you’re at the bottom of the Empty Nester’s club. You retire and find yourself at the bottom of the Honey Do list.

I was practicing songs for the upcoming small group (from church) that’s going to start on our side of town. I brought out an old song and started playing, and I was instantly transported to the first small group I was ever in, and ever got to lead worship in. Every face was there: The Miles, The Jacksons, Miss Mindy, Hedi, and the occasional visitors. I thought of how sweet that time was, and how much I miss that particular group. Each time I lead worship for a small group, all of them will be in the room with us in Spirit.

When I met them for the first time, I was way behind on the spiritual curve. I had a lot to learn, and I knew it. I shut my mouth, dove in, and humbled myself into discipleship relationships. Those small group years were the most valuable years of my life. It was during this time that I received the vision for Hope Canyon, which has led to our recent move, spawning this blog. Eventually, we became small group leaders, and then moved on to lead part of the children’s ministry for two years after that.

And now, it’s full circle. It’s time help a new small group find the life, community, and joy that God has promised His followers.  I’ve seen the full life cycle of a group, and now I’m helping to start another one. This is the way of things.

As I sat and worshiped tonight, I heard the voices of my first small group family worshiping right along with me from wherever they were. I was encouraged once again to dive in with everything. You never know how long you have together. There’s not enough time to be hidden or to hold back. It’s all or nothing for me. Because I already know the joy waiting for me on the other side of the door. That’s the benefit of the full circle.

And to the Miles, The Jacksons, Miss Mindy, Hedi – I still can’t do this without you.

Love ya.



  1. Dude! You expressed in words something I’ve felt over and over. It’s amazing how much memory can be packed into the present. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for reminding us of sweet times.

  2. That’s awesome, Brad. Cell is still an encouragement to us and we cherish the relationships we formed in that season. Though I think we did everything “wrong,” according to some, you can never fault us for being family! I learned more from that time than realized at the time.

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