S: The Gathering 2007 - 2012 .
FC: The Gathering | 2007 - 2012
1: A story of transplants and travelers who crossed paths at Grace Point, entered into community and became a family
2: 2007 January: members of Grace Point 360 "N2" join Greg Wukasch for launch of new life group, "Acts 2" March: Mike & Jacqui talk with Greg about launching new life group, partnering with Hayden & Amanda Stagg April: massive renovation project begins at the Sharrow house on Candle Park, with the McHales and Staggs helping prepare the place for community June: the first "open house" for a new life group happens where we begin discussing purpose, expectations, values and what this group would be about; the group experiences its first loss as Matt & Julie miscarry July: fist official night as a life group - Sharrows, Pyes, Millers, McHales, Mendozas, Staggs, Laceys, Richards, Crossleys and Roberts make up the first crew! | A History of the Gathering
3: August: group is named "The Gathering" in light of Ted Dekker's The Circle Trilogy books (it was the Stagg's idea); David Miller is born September: first study, Spirit of the Disciplines by Dallas Willard (it was crazy) October: month of changes and heartache, McHales miscarry, Mendozas miscarry and Mike resigns from Walgreens November: we help Grace Point build a Habitat for Humanity house! December: 1st annual Christmas party, hosted by the Millers with caroling from Hayden's pick-up in the heat and the epic gag-filled white elephant gift giving tradition; we pooled resources to buy a bunch of goats, chickens and sheep from World Vision catalog 2008 February: camping trip on Mustang Island (sans any actual fire); Mike joins pastoral team at Grace Point; Love & Respect study March: begin John MacArthur's study of James; Jacqui becomes Pastor Jeff's assistant
4: April: Matthew & Naomi Reyes join the group May: Crossleys and Richards launched out to form new life group (the HOMIES); Samantha McHale is born; farewell for Nate & Kathy Roberts as they move to Dallas June: pool together $1,200 to help a family at Grace Point in crisis August: serve together at the Strong Foundation September: begin verse by verse study of Ephesians, first time rotating facilitating each week November: Naomi Reyes gets baptized December: group runs the Trail of Lights 5k in Austin; 2nd annual Christmas party at the Sharrows 2009 January: Oscar Ramirez and Caleb & Reagan Groom join; group does month of rice and beans and donates savings; guys hunting trip to Stagg Ranch in Mt Pleasant; Ramie Miller baptized; Katy Miller born February: 60/60 experiment with Soul Revolution study; Matt McHales big surprise 30th birthday; Mendozas move into new home; Julian Ramirez begins feeding clinic in Dallas
5: April: begin Colossians study; Lauren Buck joins; Gabriella Mendoza born; Jacob Reyes hit by a car; Brent & Catherine Lacey move to San Diego; camping trip at Broke Oak Cabin (Uvalde, TX) June: Hayden & Amanda Stagg move to Temple (residency); Under the Bridge Local Go project July: Lauren Buck baptized at Paradise Canyon; Millers miscarry August: Joshua Groom born (award winning group photo!) September: Sharrows miscarry; launch Immersion (listening to the NT study) October: group buys 8 Proclaimer! devices to send to mission sites around the world; worship and thanksgiving night around fire pit at Sharrows November: Josiah McHale born; Oscar moves into new home; Mystic Park Nursing Home local Go (the kiddos did most of the work!) December: first Angel Tree project as a group; 3rd annual Christmas party at the Reyes house
7: 2010 January: the "Mission G5" study March: all expense paid trip to Ashville, North Carolina as a group! April: guys do "Be Transformed" study by Bill Loveless; girls study "Quench My Thirsty Soul" May: Run for Hungry Children 5k at Grace Point with group raising over $1,800; Oscar begins dating Anntoinette; Mendozas miscarry June: Troy & Lynn Brock exchange their lives and baptized; Pyes move into new home; begin "Formation" study August: Steve Pye leaves job at Bank of America for Rackspace September: Jacqui and Mellisa become stay at home moms October: Galatians study; Elayna Sharrow born December: Uly graduates from paramedic school; Robbie Reyes born 2011 January: the Reyes Family moves to Oklahoma February: Radical study; Ed & Imelda Khu join; Reagan Groom cancer surgery March: Ulysses Levi Mendoza, Jr born April: guys famous water-less kayak trip on Nueces River May: mission trip to Guaimaca, Honduras to Orphanage Emmanuel, Khu's baptism
9: June: began chronological read through the Bible as a study August: Redemption study December: 6th annual Christmas party at the Millers; Mike leaves staff of Grace Point, begins with C12 Group 2012 February: Uly begins police academy for arson March: Heather Pye born April: Ramie leaves JCI/Toyota for eControls July: Sharrows leave to help start new life groups; Oscar Ramirez takes over leadership of the Gathering; Millers launch neighborhood group ...to be continued!
17: Letters from the Groupies Favorite Memories & A Blessing for the Future
18: Gathering, I love how comfortable we grew together - how natural it was for everyone to be in our home each week...how weird it felt to not be together on any Thursday. I will cherish the shared adventures, tragedies, firsts, moves, and experiences that drew us together. From invading various maternity wards across San Antonio, moving each others stuff into first/new homes, camping trips, vacations, home projects, caroling in neighborhoods, awesome white elephant gifts, y'all basically making over our house, career changes, the shared struggles to the many decisions, tough conversations and mission trips...so many memories, a lot of key life events shared in just 5 years! We've discussed much (numerous studies, the entire NT, most of the Bible, verse by verse deals, ONE, Love & Respect). I enjoyed seeing each of us experience "firsts" in discovery, learning, applying, sharing, facilitating and various attempts at accountability. I will cherish getting to baptize Uly, Ramie and Ed, as well as celebrate Imelda, Naomi and Lauren's baptisms. It was cool seeing almost all y'all share your testimony in front of dozens to hundreds in Honduras, and watching God use your unique stories to reach different people with HIS message. So many memories, so many milestones, such a unique set of experiences shared by an uncommon gathering...I moved to San Antonio as a foreigner ("yankee") and God blessed me with friends, brothers, sisters, and family in you! Grace & Peace through Christ, | Mike Sharrow
19: Friends, May you always be content with what God gives you and discontent with anything less than what He desires for you. Keep risking loving, being loved, knowing, being known, learning, obeying, asking and listening. Jesus said that "to whom much is given, much is expected." We are wealthy beyond historical comparison, my friends! Steward this season well. The greatest risk isn't offending someone or failing to hold everything together - it's succeeding at insignificance, missing opportunities to worship + building eternal wealth! Stay thirsty my friends - for LIVING water, for deep truth, for the satisfaction of more of Him and less of us. Do not settle for superficial, do not permit your own isolation, do not neglect living out the "one anothers." Do not mistake this weeks agenda for your true mission. Heed Heb 10:24-25, Rom 12, Heb 10, Eph 2:8-10 & 3:16-21, Prov 3:5-6, Col 3:23, Jms 5:16 & 4:17. Carpe Diem!
20: The Gathering has meant the world to me -- I am so grateful for the years we've had together. Opening up our home to host a group for five years was such a blessing. I have treasured sharing it all--the laughing fits, the heartaches, the frustrations, the questions, the hugs, the prayers...all of it. I loved that this was a community that would challenge each other in our pursuit of Christ, would encourage each other in life's struggles, would celebrate all kinds of events and milestones and would be a safe place to process life. I have so many favorite "moments" from the past years--fun nights of gaming, evenings in the L&D waiting rooms, group nights of wrestling with scriptural life application, precious moments in girl time, camping trips, books and studies, and of course, fabulous conversations facilitated by my box of questions. :) There are so many memories and times shared, but something I have loved the most is seeing each other grow in our faith in Jesus and our identity in Him. We have all grown in five years (and the kiddos too!) and it was great to do it together. | Jacqui Sharrow
21: My prayer for the group ongoing is to never cease in our pursuit of Jesus. Our contexts will look different in the years ahead with job changes, children growing, moves, friends and what not--but in everything and in every stage may we pursue Christ and his purpose in our lives. I also pray that we will continue to be intentional in our future relationships, because what we have in The Gathering doesn't just "happen." We must choose to truly live life with others and all the messiness that it entails. Great things happen when we are pursuing Christ with others.
22: My best memories of the Gathering is their presence as a 'stand in' for our family that lives so far away. I will be eternally grateful for the people that waited for us in the waiting room when Samantha and Josiah were born. I cherish that most of my Thanksgiving pictures over the last 6 years involve members of my Gathering Family. I love - and know with certainty - that God provided each of you to us as our family/community during our stay here in San Antonio. It makes me smile to see y'all in the pictures of my albums over the last half decade...I can't help but praise God for the growing families that have blossomed before our eyes. I am eternally grateful for the support system that this group has provided for one another with a community-wide experience of loss and grief over the last 5 years. I know this isn't by accident and love that we have witnessed and experienced God's grace through similar grieving periods. I am encouraged by families that have 'moved on' or just moved-away - that are still connected by phone, text, email. I cherish that we still get together to celebrate our friendship and 'fill up' on one another's company. It certainly bears a mark of eternity, and it makes me proud to be a part of this group - and even reassured about the uncertainty of the changing future. Favorite 'event' memories will always be our Mustang Island camping trip, our free trip to NC, our Honduras mission experience, the Gathering Christmas parties, the 'family' that made our quiet holidays special & significant, and the JOY at finishing 26.2 miles and seeing 'my' people cheering me through the finish line. At this current phase of life, the Gathering represents to me support and encouragement -- countless text messages received and scripted post-midnight, the endless play dates that balance sanity, the spiritual accountability that is necessary to survive the challenging dichotomy that is being a stay at home mom. You are - each of you - a gift to my soul. I have learned from each of you. I have been ministered to be each of you. I have been challenged and shaken and re-centered by each of you. I praise God that we will have eternity to celebrate as brothers & sisters in Christ, even as we tweak what this current season looks like. Thank you for being my family...
23: I pray a particular hand of blessing and protection on the marriages in the current group. I pray for continued accountability - particularly in this arena - that no matter what direction or distance, we might still be accountable the available to one another as a support system as we pursue Christ-like marriages in purity and fervor. I pray not for a duplication of this Gathering experience - but for a multiplication of its impacts and blessing as we each move forward into different areas, meet and impact different persons and families, and take with us the great things that God designed specifically for and through this group. The closing of this chapter doesn't mean an end to these influences but a spurring on of more. I pray for the blessings of generations that will come from this group - for all the babies born thus far, for the children that we don't yet know about. I pray for spiritual influence in our homes and families that will continue on. I anticipate the day 10-20 yrs from now when we can check in to see the accretion of these Christ-like influences! And, I pray for a consistency in friendship - that what has proved "tried and true" over the last 5+ years will continue as such in the distant and immediate future. | - Julie McHale
24: I remember riding home from one of our first meetings and wondering how in the world this group got put together. We had doctors, engineers, fire fighters, etc...I asked myself, "Is this going to work?" But work it did. Heck, we were voted the world's greatest life group not too long ago! The memories from that laser tag game will stay with me for a long time. I won't soon forget the way all of you came around us when we were hurting with our miscarriage. The fun we had (at least some of us) kayaking/carrying our kayaks on the Nueces...I know you all still have the smell of our POOP tent in your noses from our camping trip. It really is too hot to carol in San Antonio but we made it happen and made people cry. I think it was for joy? This group has been my family for the last 5 years and will be for years to come. I love you guys. | Creepers?
25: I have had the blessing of being with this group since its inception. The way that this eclectic group of people has been able to work together for this long is amazing and definitely of God. We are moving on to different things for various reasons but I do feel that this is where God has brought us and not of our own doing. We have hit somewhat of a static period of late and I know that is truly just the ebb and flow of a group like this. I pray that we all can move on into this new period with open minds and hearts as to where God would move us. He calls us to action and this is an action - whether we stay put in the group or move into another or start a new ministry, these are actions. If we are active in seeking His will, He will bless our endeavors. My hope is that we can remain friends. The friendship will have a different feel, but different can definitely be better. May the essence of what we tried to accomplish here be the driving force behind our search for the next step and our motivation to want more from what we find. God bless us all, everyone. | Matt McHale
26: One of the things I love about this group is, for the first time in my life it allowed me to experience what true fellowship really look like and feels like. This group has pushed and stretched me in ways, that without each of you I would still be left wondering what community really is. My prayer for the group is that each of us will go and find or lead new communities and be able to share what God has blessed us with in this group. I also pray that we stay in contact with each other and are always pursuing and encouraging one another. - Ulysses Leonardo Mendoza
28: Dear Gathering Friends, Words cannot begin to describe how much the Lord has blessed us by being a part of this group! We have shared in so many joys & sorrows through these last five years and I will truly cherish those moments in my heart as a picture of what it looks like to "carry each others burdens." You have pointed me toward Christ as we've studied & discussed the Word together and through conversations I've had with you. This is what I value the most in a group. I also thank you for being there for us during the most difficult time in our life, but then sharing in the joy with us as we welcomed Gaby and Levi into this world! I will miss how we met on a consistent basis (for the most part) and made a commitment to pursue Christ above anything else. Even when we faltered, there was someone there to encourage or challenge us to keep going! I have mixed emotions as we move forward but do believe that God will use this for His glory in different ways, I just need to be open to it! Love in Christ, | Mellisa Mendoza
29: I pray that each of us pursues the Lord and looks to Him as our true inheritance while we live the day to day moments. Let this truth change us at our very core, so it affects what we do, think or say. Regardless of the situation you are in...choose Him!
30: I will always appreciate how we set a high bar of expectation for commitment and intimacy in community. I would not be the same were it not for the regular time - especially with the guys - to spur me on or spur me out of spiritual complacency. This, and the lifelong memories from outings and trips mean that each of you will always be cherished in my heart. - Ramie Miller
31: My prayer of blessing for the group comes straight from the first chapter of Philippians: I hope that in our prayers for each other, we would always pray with joy, because of our partnership in the Gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that He who began a good work in us will carry it to completion!
32: For me, memories come and go all too soon, but a few things I will treasure are: (a) Play dates throughout the week with the Gathering women (b) Many spiritually challenging moments, and (c) Fellowship with community each week!
33: The Gathering has been a place "to grow and build each other up in love (Eph 4:15)," yet as we embark upon a new season, maybe the center of Christian community is connecting with a few. May we not be afraid to "connect with a few as intimately as the various parts of my body work together, as cooperatively as my fingers are working to type these words (Dr Larry Crabb)." May we BE living proof of the Church, "held together by every supporting ligament." (Eph 4:15-16) - Vanessa Miller
34: There have been so many memories forged in these years. One of them that stands out the most is when the guys went on the hunting trip. It was good to spend time with other Christian guys. It was refreshing to be able to just relax and relate one to another. - Steve Pye
35: I would wish a blessing on the roads or paths that God has for those in the group. As we leave this and embark on the next chapter in our lives that we have the courage to pursue God with all abandon to seek out His will in our lives.
36: I'll remember the hike in North Carolina to Chimney Rock, everyone celebrating at the top...that hike in Honduras and the picture of us all holding hands. I treasured the constant accountability to study weekly and the encouragement to grow spiritually. - Liz Pye
37: May you find true friendships, may you allow others to see your vulnerability and allow others to encourage you and pray for you always!
38: I just want everyone to know what this GROUP-the Gathering-has meant to me...You have become my foundation in San Antonio, where I receive encouragement from, my security blanket, network, in essence mi FAMILIA! For a Latino, "Family" is everything; I grew up doing, spending, & sharing my most important times w/my family & while not having a family here in SA. I consider the Gathering that. It is because of that I have remained here. Being single w/all married couples was not what I wanted to do, but it was clearly what God intended for me & planned. Since my arrival, I have learned to love better, I have learned to understand accountability better, and I have been encouraged by the examples of true love + dedication that you all exemplify in your marriages. Thank you for this opportunity to live out community w/you all. I have tried w/words to express my feelings but they are simply insufficient. Know that I sense + have experienced your love for me and I treasure that and the memories that came w/it. In particular, I remember how caring each of you were a few years ago when we were having game night and I was exhausted, went over to the couch to sit down + ended up falling asleep. You were all so kind to allow me the opportunity for rest, despite everyone else being involved in the group activity. I loved the picture of everyone pointing @ me. Just shows how I & my family have been accepted & cared for by you all. Same applies to my move from the apartment to my current home and all of the packing those involved did on my behalf. Thank you! | - Oscar Ramirez
39: My prayer for this group is for each family & then collectively. I desire to see each of your families to to richly & intentionally grow in the Lord. That your marriages will be beacons of hope in this darkened community. That people will look @ your relationship & desire that same type of love, admiration, self-sacrifice that exists. They will see, hear & feel that something is different & that because of your commitment to Christ in your home, that it will draw others to that warmness of Jesus. I want each of your homes to become "centers" o mini gatherings, where people go to feel welcomed, loved, receive encouragement, & find the true source of Living Water. I see the Great Commission happening in 6 add'l homes w/the blessing of experience we have all received as it is showered & passed onward to other needy families. I pray that you will all continue to daily seek him as individuals, couples & as families, knowing that the hope of eternity is what we strive for.
40: I loved that the group accepted us so quickly. For such a tight group to honestly welcome us with open arms was amazing. While The Gathering was certainly nostalgic, I never felt like the "good old days" were in the past. I'll never forget freezing in a deer blind with McHale, who I had known for about 3 weeks. We spent hours looking down a dirt road for a wild boar that didn't exist. I believe he has a picture of me holding my .45 like the gangster that I was in my younger years. I'll always remember our visits to the Broke Oak cabin, fishing on the coast, and random sporting events (really? WNBA game?). There was a stretch of time when the ladies were cranking out babies once a month (collectively, not each). I'll always remember praying over each of our blossoming families. I feel that I've changed quite a bit during our time together. Personally, I have plenty to go still but these last several years have shaped me for sure. I'm honored to be a member of a group that cared so much about my well-being that they were willing to risk friendship in order to say difficult things.
41: I pray that each of us continues to pursue Christ in a tight community of believers who will encourage, care for and correct as needed. I pray that years from now we each look back at our time together as something that propelled us further. I pray that this isn't the best highlight on our Walk, let us each keep growing closer to Him. - Caleb Groom
42: The Gathering, How do I begin to express what this group has meant to me? When we left Abilene for San Antonio we left some dear friends and I prayed and trusted God for even better here. And He definitely delivered! In this group we found not only friends but a local family. We had wanted the opportunity to really do life with others pursuing Christ and this was a wonderful experience. God says there is a time for everything and we will treasure the memories we have made with each and every one of you. I am so appreciative of the support in being the wife, mother & most importantly woman of God He has called me to be. Thank you for sharing in Joshua's birth, many milestones, job changes, return to school for Caleb, that nasty cancer business, as well as North Carolina and Honduras. While we shared many high and lows and major life experiences, the meat of what this group was about for me was the relentless pursuit of Christ and each other week in, week out. How precious every email, text and certainly face to face encounter became during the week, apart from Gathering on Thursday (or Sunday) nights! This is where friendships grew and we could delve deeper into one another. I thank God for each of you and am grateful that we are forever family. I do not for a second believe that this marks the end of this family, any more than moving to San Antonio marked the end of connection with our actual family. I love you guys! | - Reagan Groom
43: I pray, more than anything, that we would continue to pursue God, grow in our love for Him & pursue others for Him wherever He takes us. I pray that this season of change would draw us nearer to Him & be a catalyst for growth & stretching in our relationship w/God. We will forever be family because of our relationship w/God and the time we have spent living together as family. Let's love each other well!
44: I know we’ve been truly blessed to be part of the group. I am thankful for everything the group has done for us, from welcoming us with open arms, including us in your lives, to loving us unconditionally. My favorite memories will be guy time, getting to know each of you better. Most of all it will be our trip to Honduras. I’m grateful to have been baptized there as most of group was able to be witness to our increasing obedience to God. I really enjoyed getting together each evening to discover what each of us had done and to be intentional in our prayers when the day was done. I hope that we continue to bond and become closer as we move forward. | - Ed Khu
46: Hi guys, For me group has truly been a blessing in more ways than I can describe. Meeting every Thurs was a great way to keep me motivated spiritually during hard times and tough days at work. The most memorable moment for me was the unexpected baptism in Honduras. I had deep and complicated reasons why I wanted to wait and God simply had other plans for me. The way that events unfolded to culminate in my baptism was truly an amazing intervention from God in my life and a sign for me to realize how deeply involved He is in the details of my life. Group has also helped me mature spiritually and as a person. I love the fact that you guys keep me honest with myself and hold me accountable to my shortcomings in a loving and respectful way. I love the intimacy and the friendships that are so different and wholesome than anything I experienced before. I appreciate girl time because I the women in this group inspire me by example and thanks to the girls now I know what a woman after the heart of God looks like. | - Imelda Khu
48: When we first moved to San Antonio, it took us about a year to really get plugged in to a small group. What began as a big group meeting at the Wukasch house (the original Gathering folks will remember this group), eventually branched out and became The Gathering. This was our first real glimpse of what "home away from home" actually looked like, and how the body of Christ was truly meant to work. We both began to learn what committed, invested, unconditional fellowship with other believers should like. The majority of you rejoiced with us through the healthy births of three babies, and also mourned with us at the loss of two babies, our first pregnancy before Ruby, and then Mary Amanda this year. The support and love we received from Christ through each of you has truly changed our lives, and we will never forget HIS faithfulness because of you. When God sent us to San Antonio for medical school, he didn't just place us in a town, he placed us in a family. We love you guys. | - Hayden & Amanda Stagg
49: A blessing for the group: May everyday we spend walking with God bring the truth of who He is, and all Christ is in us, into clearer focus. And may a clearer vision of Him give us an unquenchable hunger and thirst to passionately pursue and love Him with all of our heart, soul, strength and mind until we meet Him face to face in glory. Halleluiah and Amen!
50: I loved the authenticity of the group and how each person adhered to a "come as you are" mindset. Matthew & I had just moved to San Antonio, knew very few people + were struggling w/trying to have a second child - the Gathering immediately became our family and prayed + loved us through a difficult time. We will always be grateful. Oh, and of course we will always have the best memories of our trip to NC! | - Matthew & Naomi Reyes
51: I pray that wherever the members of the Gathering are in life that they will seek community w/other believers. I pray that they will keep Christ as the focus of their lives and be blessed w/loving family, children, work that is rewarding + church community.
52: A note from the "Godfather" of the Gathering... | What began as a simple whisper from God "Open up your home and watch what I do", flourished when you all decided to put your individuality away and collectively, passionately and lovingly to pursue Christ within a family called the Gathering. What an absolute blessing it has been to watch Him grow your family. What a joy it has been to hear of your adventures in Kingdom work. What a privilege it has been to know that God allowed me to be a little part of it. I pray that you remember the Gathering never ends. It will continue every time you laugh with brothers and sisters around a meal. It will expand each time you share the good news of Jesus Christ. It will flourish whenever you recount stories with your children. Family never ends. Bless you for your obedience and your example of showing us what true community is all about. Running the Race, | Greg Wukasch
53: Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. (Romans 12:1)
54: They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. | You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. | Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. | Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.
55: Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of His return is drawing near. | Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. | Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.