Do you remember the excitement that you would get back in high school when you browsed through the course catalog to decide what courses you wanted to take? Well, that is the feeling I get each time I browse through an Encounter Church small group catalog and see all the classes that are offered each semester. 


Small groups have been so beneficial to my spiritual growth and my social growth. They have given me opportunities to deepen my relationship with God and connect with others in a manner that I may not have otherwise attempted. Through my participation in small groups, acquaintances have become friends and a few friends have even become mentors to me.


This past semester I attended Pastor Pete's Non-Christian Beliefs and Theologies small group. This class was so insightful as it opened my eyes to the belief systems of various religions and expanded my understanding of how deeply rooted these beliefs are. As a result of taking this class, my compassion for those who are bound in these religions has increased. The awareness that God chose me and gave me His gift of eternal life is all the more special.


Claudette Rogers


Small Groups have been a joy, and they brought friends I would not have any other way. SG’s helped heal my hurts in a way that I never thought possible. I liked to work behind the scenes, ask me and I will do anything for you. Speaking in front of groups was not my forte! They say that speaking in front of people is one of the scariest things that a person can do. Well, that was me.   

Then on a Saturday morning, Dan and I received a call that our youngest son had been killed in a car accident. It’s a call no parent ever hopes to receive. I was not sure how I was going to face life without my son, but God had a plan.  

Nine months later I sat in my office and received a phone call, EMS was at my house. Pastor Philip made some calls from his office, and in a few minutes, he came out and said, “Sweetheart, sit down”. At that moment, I knew what he had to tell me. Dan had a major heart attack at home and passed instantly. I made it through the grief, pain, and hurt. Life does go on with the help of your family, friends, and the two best pastors that God ever put on this earth. It takes time and perhaps you are never the same, but MAYBE that is the way God wants it!

EC SMALL GROUPS- were started, and I taught Sisterhood. I thought maybe with the loss of my son and husband of 53 years, I could help others with their hurts, pain, and past. Show them they could overcome the regrets they have of the past. But what I found and what I didn’t count on was that the Sisters in the class were God’s hands and feet that helped me heal. God healed me by using my sisters. But, still, I can't imagine in my wildest dream how it happened. But it did.   

In Sisterhood the connection is so real! We love each other, cry together, and pray for one another. We laugh a lot. God is so good. I still miss my husband and son, but they are in the place that all of us are striving to get to. So, if you need someone to love you, get in a Small Group! There will be challenges, but you will have God on your side and your new family to guide and lead you.

I read a quote one day that says, “God uses our hurts, our grief, and past to build a platform for our ministry.  So, if you have any hurts that you feel God cannot heal, join or try to host a SMALL GROUP! Watch what God not only can do but what He will do. SMALL GROUPS is a place for sharing, praying, and building friendships. Having fellowship is so important in our lives today, so get in a group!

Remember Jesus fellowshipped with His friends and broke bread, if Jesus needed to fellowship then He wants the same for us.                                                                


The Lord placed the particular Recovery Group on my heart, because of a great need to reach out to those at Encounter Church, and the surrounding community. The sole purpose would be to have a place to come together and share in the ‘journey of grief,’ with like-others who have lost loved ones, through a Bible-based syllabus.

After meeting with Pastor Philip, it was a definite -YES, and we began developing a plan of action and built a team. With this team, we watch the bible-based 13-weekly sessions of, Your Journey – From Mourning to Joy. Little did we know just how powerful each session would be. So much so, we realized that we were walking through the journey, as we dealt with our own loss. 

We laughed – out loud, cried together, hugged each other; totally stopping sometimes, during a session to focus on someone needing to just talk! Together, we worked through some very heart-breaking moments.

The key to this journey of grief is that…WE WORKED THROUGH IT TOGETHER! This is not a journey anyone can walk through alone. We need each other to share our honest feelings, to hold on to, to be accountable to, and to be real. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly!

Personally, this small group has proven to be one of the most valuable groups I’ve participated in. Because of this group, the video sessions, and sharing of my own pain, I have a greater compassion and understanding for those dealing with loss. I’ve made lifetime friends within the group. They know a lot about me and, in turn, I know about them.

If you are trying to walk the journey of grief alone and are struggling, our Encounter Church GriefShare Recovery Group, is for you. 

Lastly, GET IN A GROUP! 

Roxanne Langston


I love small groups! In a group you get to know your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ on a personal level. We share in hardships and victories, praises and thanksgivings. We pray for each other and develop bonds and friendships and accountability to each other.

I really enjoy the studies that are in-depth to learn more about Jesus Christ our Savior. 

Oh, and I cannot leave out the food that is always such a delight. 

So in all, I enjoy the fellowship, friendship and the food that small groups offer. 

Get in a group ... you’ll love it!


When I was first asked to head up this group, I was very hesitant because I had only ever seen the Pastors lead this group.  My thought process was “Who in the world was I in the grand scheme compared to our amazing pastors and how am I going to pray with and for people?”  I felt very timid in this area, but I also knew that I could not let fear win.  I also know that Pastor Philip recognizes potential in each of us that we ourselves probably would not see.  He would not have asked me if he did not believe I was capable and that I needed to grow and stretch for God in this area. The group started with some amazing prayer warriors like Nancy Winship, Annette Phillips, Laura Ramagos, Schwanna Clark, and Wendy Wiegel.  These ladies are great examples of prayer warriors and awesome encouragers.  They reminded me it is all God, and He just wants a willing vessel.  

Something special happens when a group of people come together specifically to spend time with God praying.   Matthew18:19 says, “I promise… when two of you on earth agree about something you are praying for, My Father in heaven will do it for you.”   Your relationship with God becomes more intimate.  Your relationship with others goes to another level because you are in the spiritual trenches together!  It could be standing in the gap for someone who is weak at the moment, praying for each other’s families or praying for revival in this nation.  There is nothing to big or small for God.  Here is one of my favorite scriptures for the Hour of Power Prayer Group“The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.”  (James 5:16 MSG) That’s just one person.  Can you imagine what kind of force we are when two, three, thirteen, or hundred gather, lining our wills with God’s and speaking His Word over situations as we pray?  All I can say is WOW!!!  There are no words to describe how amazing it is to stand in prayer with the fellow believers who have been a part of this prayer group.

I love the Small Groups I have been able to be a part of.  It enforces that we were not meant to do this life alone.  It is refreshing when you find out you are not the only one going through stuff.  Like Pastor Philip says, “You Too?”  It is invigorating when you know you have people, you are connected with. Folks you can count on, give godly advice to, and encourage one another even if it’s just giving a scripture, a smile, or a hug.  If you are not part of a group, what are you waiting for?  It has been life changing for me and I know it will be for you too!

Jory & Victoria

We took the SYMBIS Small Group (Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts) and it was amazing!! The curriculum taught us so much about each other, our soon-to-be marriage. It taught us how we can sustain a long and happy relationship under GodDemetris and Arnold Howard led the course and were great mentors. We started the Small Group by taking individual assessments that showed us our relationship personalities and mindsets. It revealed potential relationship roadblocks from unresolved past trauma. The SG showed our strengths and weaknesses in the relationship and our views on potential roles in our marriage. Jory and I learned the different needs we each have and took away skills to help resolve conflicts. Because of this, we have a much more joyful relationship together. Scripture ran like a thread throughout every lesson as we dug deep into the roots of what makes a long-lasting marriage. We are so grateful for this SG and plan to take everything we have learned into our future together! We advise every engaged couple to take this course and assessment!

Thanks, Victoria and Jory


I took the Freedom Small Group and all I can say is that it changed me for the better! It opened my eyes to things that I thought I let go of, and things I did not even know were bothering me. Cathy Clifford taught this and is the best mentor I could have asked for. I have struggled with hurts, wounds, and disappointments in my past. Taking the Freedom Course showed me what walking in Freedom is really like.


I learned I needed to let go of the hurtful things and learn how to love myself as Jesus loves me. Thank you, JESUS, for dying on the cross for me so I can live and have eternal life and freedom. At the end of this class, I never felt so much peace fall over me!