Tuesday, June 28, 2011

my thoughts: be part of a community

I originally wrote this piece for another blog back in October of 2010. Unfortunately it didn't get picked. Oh well. That doesn't mean you can't read it!:

An Intimidating Start
Three years ago I walked into a room full of military wives who I did not know. I had no idea what branch of service their husbands were in, if they had kids and how many, if they lived on or off base, why they were in that room with me or if we would even get along. But I was taking a step out of my comfort zone and into a community. And not just any community: a gospel-centered community.

At our church, we called them “growth groups”. I’ve heard them called small groups, accountability groups or community groups. No matter the name, their goals should all be the same: to foster community around the truth of the gospel. A small group should be a place where we learn obedience to the Lord and how to live out this thing we call Christianity. It should be a group that holds each member accountable to that end.

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Why Community?
Have you ever stopped to wonder why gospel-centered community is such a major part of the Christian lifestyle? After all, that’s what church really is: a community. But why can’t we just have a private, personal faith?

Let’s go back to the very beginning; to the creation story. Although we know that God, Christ and the Holy Spirit are eternal and existed prior to this account, it’s where the story begins for us. In the first chapter of Genesis, the world is being created and all that is in it. In Genesis 1:26 we read, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness…’” Did you catch that? Notice He did not say, in my likeness, but in our likeness. Right off the bat we see something about the Lord. We see community.

We aren’t called to live in community because that is how God designed us, although He did design us that way. We are called to live in community because that’s the very nature of God himself. He is community. He is three in one: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. When He says He will create man in our likeness, part of that likeness is community. You see, there has always been community and there always will be (Revelation 7:9).

What Does that Mean for Me?
Jesus makes it clear in John 17:21-22 that we are to be in community with one another, just as He and God are in community. If He makes mention of it in a prayer to the Father, it must be pretty important!

The particular group that I became a part of three years ago was made up of some pretty awesome women. And even though I'm not a part of that group anymore, I am so thankful that I took the first step into that room and out of my comfort zone. I have made some incredible friends with ladies who I now consider to be my sisters in Christ. I would encourage you, if you haven’t already, to seek out a similar group. It isn’t until we get connected and involved in a community that God can truly shape and mold us into the people He created us to be.


I saw this tweet the other day and thought it was very fitting: “Showing up for church is not being in community, that's just being in a crowd” - Tim Keller. Anyone can be part of a crowd. But as Christians we need to be part of a community. So my challenge to you is this: step out, get connected, meet other women like you and see what the Lord does.

So what about it? Have you had a similar experience? Are you in a small group? Do you need to be?

ps- I love and miss you ladies!!!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jessi!

    Thanks for your sweet comment on my blog! AND thanks for the curtain rod tip! I went back and changed it on my blog so everyone can see how easy that storage solution really is!

    This was such a great post. I have a group of friends from my church and we are so close. You are right - it's all about stepping out of your comfort zone...

    Have a great day!