Amy Carroll » Investing Passionately » An Open Circle

An Open Circle

About six months ago, I felt worn slap out. I had a lot on my plate, and I started looking for what needed to go. One of the areas that I took a long look at was my involvement in a women’s Life Group at our church, the Connections Class.

When several of us started the class years ago, we were filled with vision and excitement. A multi-aged women’s class seemed like just what our church needed. It was an unfilled niche, and I dreamed of God using our class to build a culture of mentoring. The class has been wonderful and is a group of women I love. However, years later, I had lost steam, so I was praying through what I should do next.

Just when I thought it was time to hang up my teacher hat, God breathed fresh life into our class. We worked together on a re-launch including sending out over 100 invitations to women in our church without a Life Group and to visitors. We planned a party to open up our circle.

Over 20 women came to our Soak-In-Summer Social, and many have joined our group permanently. It has been a breath of fresh air to have new friends with us every week along with the established friendships in the group! Attendence was a little sparse because of  end-of-summer vacation time, but here’s a pic of our group last Sunday.

Connections ClassOur precious Connections Class with old friends and new

I’d love to follow up along with encouragement from today’s devotion with a “Welcome to My World” giveaway so you can open your circle too! Just leave a comment with an idea you have to invite other people into your circle, or if you’re busy, just leave the word “Welcome!”

Here’s what you could win:


Party invites
Plates, cups and napkins
A $10 Starbucks gift card to invite a new friend to coffee

You could use your supplies for a little neighborhood dessert get together, a sandwich lunch for new friends at work or any gathering you can dream up! I’d love to challenge everyone to welcome someone new into your world this month.

Also, congratulations to these winners of The Best Yes giveaway:

Sherri M.     10:14 am 8.13.14

Jennifer O.    10:13 pm 8.13.14

Kim G.          10.17 pm 8.13.14

Janice           10:19 am 8.14.14

Jenny            11:27 pm 8.14.14

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  1. Tiffiny Palm says:

    We recently moved to a very small town and it is very close knit. We stiawall attend church an hour away. We haven’t been led yet to find something closer. So I hsve been trying to think of something to open the circle. I want my house to be open to other women to fellowship with. To help other families who move into this very small community to feel welcomed. I have been in this situations so many times myself, feeling that I dont belong, not welcomed and not wanted. I want to be someone who makes a difference.

  2. I like to try and meet a variety of persons. You never know where you find wisdom.

  3. One of my favorite things is inviting stay-at-home moms and their little ones over for bruch or lunch! My girls are are not quite so little any more, but I haven’t forgotten how lonely it can be, being home all day longing for just a few minutes of adult conversation and affirmation!

  4. I have just begun receiving Proverbs 31 devotions. What a blessing they have been to me. I also pull a small thought from the devotion along with the verses and text them to my daughters who live out of state (NJ) due to job or school.
    The Lord has opened the door for me to be Women’s Ministry Leader in our small church. These devotions will be used at our monthly Saturday coffees.
    I have the idea of printing small coffee cup invites for new as well as ‘old’ member to come and join this time of fellowship.
    Thanks for all you do to keep women encouraged and looking to God as leader.

  5. I would love to hear more in detail regarding the Connections Class. It sounds wonderful 🙂 I liked the devotional today very much. I do not like to be a newbie at all so I enjoy putting myself out there to newbies.

  6. Barbara a. hackman says:

    There are many people around me/us that need a hug and prayers. I know I have needed that in the last months. So often we ask the question ,”How are you?” And the response is,”I am fine.”. It really only takes a few more minutes to really find out how a person is doing.Jesus showed true caring of the people around Him when he was here bodily on earth. We too need to show that by listening, praying for others, taking a few minutes to also listen to what God wants us to do or say for others. It is a precious treasure to give to others our love and caring. Being Jesus hands, and feet, and words spoken is truly moments of love. I encourage you to take time even if it stretches you. You will not regret it. It will turn into wonderful caring and fellowship.

  7. Enjoyed the devotion on Proverbs 31 and got your blog link from that! Wonderful devotion. Living in a rural farming community we have many small churches that have been established for years. In the ministry field it alarms me how many young new families are not attending church or have a Christian group to connect with. I am part of a steering team that is beginning a Christian group for all the new young moms in our community (38 to be exact). We hope and pray that many moms will come to know Christ and raise their children to know and love Jesus. It is so vital to be welcoming to anyone that visits your church and get them involved in a small group!
    Blessings in your ministry Amy.

  8. A very fitting encouragement for the start of a new school year 🙂 I will be looking for new faces at school as I walk the kids and visit with friends before school starts.

  9. Sharon Volkman says:

    To bring all age groups of women together by having them share their best desserts and maybe recipes too.

  10. Thanks for sharing. A cookout is a wonderful way to invite people over and get to know them more. Or maybe an ice cream social too? 😉


  11. Oh, Amy, your devotion was convicting and timely and BEAUTIFUL. As a woman who is still living in a house that isn’t yet “home”, in a community that isn’t yet comfortable, I could TOTALLY relate to your “gym moment.” Just this week as I’ve sat at “parent night” in five new school buildings, I’ve had to battle those feelings of loneliness as I’ve watched many “natives” congregating in the hallways and the classrooms of my kids’ new schools. The crazy part is that I’ve been on the other side of this situation many times, too. It’s SO HARD to leave one hand open when our hands are filled with friends, family, and community. I LOVE this line in your P31 devo today—“God asks us to keep one hand free, always looking for one more new friend to draw into the loop.” I am praying to be a one-handed friend. And if someday I feel “at home” in my new town, I want to be the woman who keeps her eyes open for those who don’t. Thanks for speaking to my heart and inspiring me today. So glad to be your teammate at P31, Amy!

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      Alicia, I’m so glad I’m your teammate too! Our last move was a really hard one, and it took me a long time to feel really established. I think God is using for good in that it’s made me so very aware. Praying for you as you settle into your new home. I know it won’t take long for new friends to embrace you–who WOULDN’T love you instantly?! I did. 🙂

  12. Amanda Evans says:

    I’m considering starting a women’s bible study in my home. My family and I are also hosting neighborhood get-togethers a few times a year, our last one was an ice cream social.

  13. I just became a “mom” again! My husband & I have temporary custody of a beautiful 5 year old (mother is incarcerated). I haven’t been “getting ready for kindergarten” in 27 years! I’m hoping to connect through the school PTA and the new church we’ll be attending this fall!

    Welcome! 🙂

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      Wow, Tammy! What an amazing new start. I’m praying for you as soon as I hit reply!

  14. Larri Lyn says:

    for the past 2 years, we have had a women’s cancer support group for women in our additional women are being diagnosed recently, there is a need to not only reach out to them but also those within our community.we do not want to lose the intimacy, the accountability,nor the feeling of a sanctuary. we need to share God’s love,did they feel the support necessary to this time and they are not walking alone. Please pray for us that we may meetthem at the place they are currently walking and are able to share God with them in the most intimate way.

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      This sounds wonderful, Larri Lyn. I love your heart!

  15. Tricia Speaker says:

    It’s been about a year since I’ve returned to church, Bible classes. Have helped me tremendously. I wish a very big Welcome!

  16. When my husband & I married 3 years ago, he was involved in a very large church. I knew some of the people but no close friendships. Although I was the ‘newbie’, we began inviting people over for supper – it was amazing to hear comments “no one has ever had us in their home”, ‘ no one invites us with our kids – why do you do that?’ It just amazes me how a simple meal says so much & opens a door to a level of intimacy & vulnerability. Recently, my husband invited a man over (while I was out of town) fixed a frozen pizza & salad & was amazed at how the evening went as they shared! What a sweet gift to my heart as we serve this way. I’d love to win the set!

  17. This is right where God has me this year: helping people, keeping my eyes up and not looking at the ground, and building relationships. Thank you for being an instrument that God uses. 🙂

  18. I am starting a small group through my church in the fall! Thanks for this giveaway!

  19. Shirley Smedley-Theiss says:

    WELCOME! I left a comment on your page through Prov.
    Loved your post today. It fit me exactly.

  20. Thank you for writing this post . . . my prayer is that each woman that reads this would be challenged to reach out to just one person a day. Whether it is in the neighborhood, workplace, school, game . . . I was that “someone” coming back to the States after living abroad for 25 years. It wasn’t easy. I did feel like a foreigner. God in His grace and mercy put me in people’s path to connect with. Thank you, again.

  21. We recently moved into a new home and we have been very intentional about getting to know our neighbors. It’s amazing that so many people have lived here for many years and don’t really know each other. We have had a great response inviting people into our home and next month we are starting a neighborhood Bible study.

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      I love that you were the one to reach out even though you were the new one! I know your new friends are blessed to have you as a neighbor.

  22. Thank you for the devotion today. Our church has grown from 50 in February to 220 last Sunday. God is good. With all,the new faces it is good to be reminded about keeping one hand open. We are starting a new small group at our home in two weeks. I’m praying for God to just take our group and help us connect and move in a mighty way.

  23. Loved the devotion today and the reminder of how we should be “open” and “welcoming” to others and show God’s love. Thank you & God bless!

  24. I am a teacher and we always want our children to feel welcome at our school each and every single day. Two days ago a new friend joined us from Illinois (we are in SC) I was so proud of how well my students embraced our new friend and invited her to be a part of our classroom. The devotion this morning reminded me to be thankful for the examples of my students! In addition, my personal children are 5 years apart – one a boy, the other a girl. I watch their relationship with one another and am so blessed at how, even though they are very different in personality, they continually include one another in their lives! Thank you for the reminder that we should all, young and old, always be inviting. ( There is a wonderful book written by William Purkey called Inviting School Success – I’m not sure it is still in print but goes beautifully with today’s devotion!)

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      As a former teacher, I’m in love with how you’re applying this in your classroom. Your kids are blessed to have you!

  25. It is always refreshing to pause from our own agendas and every day demands and reach out to someone. I’ve learned what my heart feels like when God gives me an appointment about someone. He keeps that person on my heart until I act. Either in praying for them or reaching out and extending myself. Even if it calls me out of my comfort zone. Just the other day I responded to this feeling God gave me about a younger Mom in our church. We now have a brunch date set. She thanked me for reaching out to her. We look forward to getting to know one another better. It will a refreshing time for both of us:)

  26. I came over from Proverbs 31-great post!
    I am actually starting a neighborhood women’s bible study in 2 1/2 weeks.
    This idea of reaching out has begun taking on new meaning for me and I am praying the right ladies attend.
    Please pray as well if you think of it. Thanks! 🙂