Community is one of White Oak’s core values. The reason any organization adopts core values is because these values are the things that drive the vision. What do we mean when we use the word community? I want to look to Scripture to answer that question.
The idea of community is something that we take for granted. Sure, we see the niceness of it. We think it’s a good thing to gather with others and share in relationship and mutual care. However, many of us also believe that while it’s a niceness, it’s not a necessity. After all, as followers of Jesus, we’re perfectly capable of believing and living a Christian life without the priority of community.
Community isn’t a nice add-on to the Christian experience. Scripture paints a very different picture. Sharing in community with other Jesus-followers (where we share meals, prayer, mutual care and concern, and encourage one another) is a holy act and sanctifying work of God in our lives.
You see it in Genesis where God the Father, The Son, and the Spirit all exist in perpetual community. Within the Trinity, we see the perfect example of mutual, self-giving love being lived out. Scripture points back to God’s love and the love he has for his Son as the example and basis for our Christian love (1 John 4:19; Colossians 1:15-20). It’s in community, that God established creation. Adam was given Eve. Abraham was promised a family that would become a great nation. The Jews were led out of Egypt to establish a nation. That nation was divided into tribes. Many of the laws and much of the 10 Commandments deal with how we interact with one another in community. Throughout Israel’s history God continued to send the prophets to call a nation (not just individuals) to repentance and faithfulness. Moving into the New Testament, Jesus gathered a small community of men around himself. The Church was born and exists in community. Nearly all of Paul’s letters were to church communities wrestling with what Chrisitan community and one anothering should look like.
It's troubling to me when followers of Jesus attempt to operate in faith individually. God doesn’t operate outside of community. Jesus didn’t minister outside of community. The early Church swept through the Roman world in community. We must not attempt to make our Christian journey a solo journey. We must not approach church as merely a gathering of people once a week.
I think about each time I enter into a season where I’m invited or challenged to join a life group, Bible study, or join a group of pastors for regular gathering. I’m almost always hesitant. Do I have time? Are these the people I need in my life right now? Will this be a good use of my energy? Will I regret the decision to join? These are the questions that immediately come to my mind and heart. And, without exception, over time, I see God show up in those communities of people. Each group experience and the relationships I have formed (even if just for brief seasons) has spoken truth into my life. God always shows up in community to call more out of my faith, to encourage me, to teach me, or stretch me. I am always blessed more in community than I have ever been trying to operate my faith in relative seclusion.
Community has holy intent. It’s not an add-on to our spiritual lives, it is the operating system which drives our spiritual well-being and forms us to be more like Christ. It’s a core value for White Oak, but it’s of utmost importance to our Heavenly Father.
This season, where do you need to press into Christian community? Join a team who serves regularly together. Join a life group in the coming weeks at White Oak. Be a part of creating community by leading or hosting a life group. Whatever it is, put yourself in the vulnerable position to be in consistent community with others. Through your obedience, you will experience Jesus more richly. Don’t waste another season.
Check out our life groups here: https://www.thewocc.com/groups
More Life Group opportunities coming online in the coming week! Be watching for it!
Campus Pastor - Ross Campus
White Oak Christian Church