It’s something so many of us want, all of us need but most of us aren’t sure what it really looks like or how to create it.
God and I have been on a journey these last few months as I’ve wrestled with the above. I know that God wants me to be in deep, meaningful community with others. This life was not meant to navigate alone and it’s often through relationship with others that God does his best transformative work. So why do we resist community? Why do we just dabble in it on occasion? Why are we so selective about our community? What part of God’s character am I missing by not engaging more fully?
Before we go further, join me in reading 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12.
I love that while Paul was a teacher, he was sharing life with the Thessalonians. He was in community with them. This passage shines a light on community and the characteristics we see when it’s lived out.
Community requires us to be bold. It requires us to do things and say things we often are not comfortable with. It demands that we live outside of ourselves. Our ability to engage in bold community often compounds and builds the more we do it. Community requires an endurance that is lived out especially as we face conflict, suffering or persecution.
Glory to God
We have been sent on mission to deliver the good news to those around us that there is a God who loves them. As we engage in community, this often means we must set aside our personal wants, desires, and preferences to declare the Good News. When our purpose and energy points toward pleasing God and not people, God is glorified.
Accountability & Love
Love in action changes people. When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable and share our souls with others and it is met with love and grace, something astonishing happens! It takes courage to allow others to see into the depths of our heart, but this is exactly the type of accountability we need to live freely and overcome any sin in our lives. It also means things can get messy!
My experience has taught me that most people fall into one of two buckets. Either you are a giver or a taker. Now realize that none of us want to be known as a taker. But sit with this question for a while. When it comes to community, are you one that looks for opportunities to serve, give and extend yourself? Or do you find yourself more on the receiving end?
As Christians, we need to be known as givers. When we set aside our motives and wants to love and serve, God’s love is on display. What are you willing to sacrifice for others to experience the sincere and selfless love of God?
Community unites us, binds us together and allows us to weather the struggles and challenges of this life. When we engage in deep, meaningful relationships, we are moving toward the heart of community. It is here that we become equipped to love and then are deployed on mission to a world that does not know him.
When community is done right it brings a level of intimacy with God and others that is difficult to put into words. Maybe you’ve seen IYKYK on social media. Well, if you know you know. This is true with community. When you’ve experienced it, you know what it feels like, and you want to re-create it for others.
I want community. I need community. I hope you do too. Look around this week. How is God revealing community to you? If you don’t see it, begin creating it. If you are experiencing it, invite someone else to it. And if you still need help, jump into a life group this fall to begin experiencing authentic community here at White Oak!
Will you join me?
Executive Strategy Manager
White Oak Christian Church