Living in Community
If you have attended South Delta Baptist Church, even for one week, then the phrase, "join a community group" will not be new to you. Jeff Vanderstelt, the author of Gospel Fluency, the book that was handed out to our church family in November, makes a great case for the importance of community and living in community with one another. He says, "While corporate gatherings, teachings, and one-on-one conversations teach us a lot of new information, most learning, modelling, and sharpening takes place between others in the community as they serve together and experience life together -- think of a healthy family or successful sports team. We are disciplined by being around other disciples through life -- think of Jesus' community of disciples."
At its core, joining a community group is about so much more than just showing up to someone's house every week and doing a study. It is about doing life together. It is about sharing the good times and the trials. It is about being on mission together and serving the greater community together.
A community group is a place that allows individuals to grow in their faith as they experience life together with their intimate community. One member of our congregation shared with me that at first, she was hesitant to join a community group because her life was so packed with things to do and places to be. However, she trusted that joining a group was a wise thing to do, and as a result, she believes that her faith has really grown. She says, "When I see and hear how God is moving in the lives of people in my group, who have very real struggles and pain going on, my faith grows. These people continue to be faithful to God through their trials and I am deeply moved. I am learning to share with others too and allowing myself to be vulnerable. This allows me to grow in my faith. I feel the support and encouragement from this unique group whom God handpicked to be together."
This story is a beautiful testimony of why being in community is so important. It helps us as individuals to grow in our faith by sharing life together; sharing the good times and the tough times, holding each other accountable, and challenging one another. Jesus himself knew the importance of community, as he surrounded himself with the disciples. They ate together, prayed together, travelled together, worked through tough issues and questions together, and served together. Community can sometimes be messy, but this does not take away from the fact that it is something which God designed us for and it is something that Jesus himself modelled when he was here on earth. As a church family, may we continue to learn what it really means to live in community with one another, and may we take the steps that we need to to seek out this community.