When Sam and Camilla Reimer moved to Omaha four years ago for medical and dental school after graduating from college, they knew they needed to find a church that spoke the gospel, preached the gospel, and studied the gospel. In college they both came to an understanding that they needed a personal dependence on the Lord. They understood more clearly the importance of the Body of Christ, the Word of God, and gained a new purpose in Jesus Christ. Knowing they wanted to continue this walk, especially as a married couple, they needed to find a church that led this. Citylight was one of the first churches they visited, and they haven’t looked back since that first Sunday. What they didn’t expect was to find a small, missional community - a close family - who led and served the community and one another with love and truth. This family was the medical City Group they joined and have come to depend on and treasure.

“When we came to Omaha in 2020 to start medical and dental school,” Camilla shared, “we fell in love with Citylight. The Bible-based sermons, the worship, the leadership, and the fact they didn’t skim over the tough topics was awesome. A lot of my classmates in medical school came here, too. Through them I was introduced to Dr. Agner, who helps lead a Christian group at UNMC.”

Over the next few years, Camilla and Sam started to develop a relationship with Dale and Angie Agner. Camilla joined a medical student group led by Dale that serves Monday nights with a free medical clinic at the Open Door Mission. After a few years serving and getting to know one another, the Agners started to talk about the possibility of launching a City Group with a medical focus.

“When we started coming to Citylight,” Camilla described, “we loved coming to church but knew we were able to be more anonymous. It’s hard to get to know people and to make real connections.”

“We were coming here every Sunday and we just felt like something was missing,” Sam added. “We didn’t know a lot of people. You see groups of people talking after church and we would kind of slide out. We had the space but didn’t know how to fill it. At that time, we filled out the "get connected" cards and found one. With that first City Group, we felt we were a part of the community. We knew and saw people on Sundays. Joining a City Group really filled us and that piece that I felt was missing. Being in community like that makes church more enjoyable and fun. Getting to meet new people and being surrounded by completely different people who have a foundation in Christ, brought us closer to the Church.”

When the Agners shared this new City Group concept, both Sam and Camilla knew it was where God wanted them. Not long after, the medical City Group officially launched.

“This City Group is primarily composed of those in the medical community,” Camilla described. “A lot of UNMC and Creighton medical students who volunteer Monday nights all started out together. When the Agners approached us with their thoughts on starting a City Group and the vision, we felt called by God to join. We had been going to other City Groups, but knew God was pulling us into this City Group.”

From the start, the Agners and the students clearly knew the goal of their City Group: how do we, as medical professionals, be servants of Christ within our practices? It was a common ground with everyone and a yearning to understand and to lead intentionally.

“It’s a tough balance,” Sam and Camilla both shared. “In our training, it’s seen as inappropriate to put your faith out there with patients. It’s labeled as coercive. We don’t get education on how to be Christian doctors, but in our City Group we are now learning how to share and show the love of Christ within the medical field. We can come together to discuss not only our individual experiences of the week, but also our shared experiences from serving together various Monday nights. Dr. Agner has been an amazing teacher in how to pray with patients, and he has given us all the hands on opportunity to learn the skill and finesse of prayer in medicine. Being a part of this group has been a time of growth, really diving into how to be a Christ follower, a Gospel spreader, and a servant, both in and out of medicine.”

Every week, the medical City Group meets on Wednesdays with their Bibles spread out and surrounded by a home cooked meal provided by Angie. These two things, along with the Agner’s leadership, have created a culture of honesty, vulnerability, and love.

“The Agners have a heart for service and are great role models to us,” Camilla said with gratitude. “Through showcasing sacrifice, vulnerability, and transparency with what they are doing, what they are giving up, and with their trials and struggles, we then all contribute our own and learn from one another in discussion. We don’t hide things because they don’t hide from us. They have shared so many stories on how Dr. Agner, being a family practice doctor, implements his Jesus story and faith with all his patients. There is a time and place, every patient is different, and he talks about all his interactions and how they pray for them. He makes a priority of sharing.”

Sam added,

“Now, as Camilla and I are about to start our own careers, we take their lessons and ask ourselves how are we going to incorporate that in our practice? How will we show God’s love and hope to all our patients, to the staff and employees? The Agners are so willing to share the good and the bad. They challenge us to develop as a couple.”

Conversations also change each week in the medical City Group. As they discuss scripture and application, the City Group members ask questions and share current struggles. The group considers what everyone is going through in life, and then tailor discussion to what is going on and how to dive into growing with God’s truth. Members study and learn how to address conflict with coworkers, with family, and with one another in a way to glorify God but also stand in truth. Some Wednesday nights at City Group look completely different.

“Some nights after dinner, we just sing worship songs for a while,” Sam described with thankfulness. “We also love it when we go around and ask what is going on in our lives and how we can pray for one another. That aspect of our City Group, outside of our own personal family, it’s like we have this other family who are God believers and who are praying for us. It’s a reminder we aren’t alone, and it’s become a great time during the week, to put our busy lives aside, and focus on God and be surrounded in a community with faithful people.”

The Agner’s vulnerability and honesty has also made a big impact on Sam and Camilla’s marriage.

“I’ve learned more about myself and about each other,” Camilla said. “I’ve learned what sacrifice looks like. By being a servant and serving others and Sam. A lot of that stems from our City Group leaders. They have spurred conversations with Sam and me. Like where do we, as a couple, feel God is calling us? I’ve learned that there are things that, even though they are good, you may have to give up. When we learn to step back, it gives more time and space for Jesus to step in. We are more intentional as a couple now. Before, we would go through the motions of relaxing at night in front of a favorite show. Now, we are talking intentionally about topics that matter, about the future, and we discuss what we talked about in City Group. We take what we hear in City Group and apply it in our individual life and marriage.”

Sam agreed and replied

“we have a great marriage and are blessed by God. We are always open with one another, but through our City Group, we have been given an opportunity to continue the conversation. Camilla and I challenge each other, and we share perspectives. It has opened my mind. When we first started going to City Group it was on Friday nights. Friday nights were our date nights, but we figured out quickly, it was a better placement of our time. We got to be together but in a place that more intentionally grew our faith and community together. Now, our City Group meets Wednesday nights, and we still make it a priority. City Group is the best break from school for us and to go together and continue to grow together as a couple. It’s wonderful.”

This May, the Reimers will be moving. Camilla will be assigned to a new medical school for her residency. As they look ahead, both Sam and Camilla feel an abundance of gratitude and conviction.

“When we move, we are hopeful to find a church, but also to find another small group,” Camilla revealed. “Our biggest miss from our time in Omaha will be our City Group. We have gained the knowledge of how important a small group is for us. We will now find a small group or even start one. It’s been a great foundation.”

“Before joining our City Group,” Sam quickly offered after Camilla, “the idea of us starting our own small group probably would have been zero. Through this City Group and the Agners, and what we have experienced, we are more confident and equipped in starting a small group.”

The Reimer’s concluded with this:

“We can’t thank the Agners enough. Their generosity, guidance, love and wisdom to us and the entire group has been huge. They are a couple who we will remember how we journeyed forward together in Christ’s love, and what it means to be a Christian medical profession. We have learned how to have a successful marriage, what to prioritize in that, leaning on one another, sharing, and talking with one another. They have taught us to dig deeper in community, to probe in conversation and make it more of a discussion of growth instead of just casual chit chat. We will take what we have learned and pass it on to others, plant with others, and be better followers of Christ.”

The Reimers came to Omaha expecting to further their understanding in medicine. They now leave Omaha with that plus more than they ever imagined. Through God's Church and a small group of people who they call family, they see now more clearly that God called them to medicine for the purpose to serve and love Him through their marriage, community, and now, their profession.

To join a missional community, find out more about City Groups at citylightomaha.org/citygroups

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