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May 17, 2024


 

Personality tests seem to come in all kinds of shapes and flavors, and some can provide fresh perspectives and insights into our leanings or behaviors instead of rigid labels. I often find myself scoring on introversion - however it’s defined in that particular assessment. The explanation that’s usually given for how I experience this is that I expend energy while engaging with people and I recharge in solitude or being with my family. Somewhat seriously, but mostly as a joke, I call this "people-ing" (try to use that in your next Scrabble game). After a day filled with these kinds of interactions, I might come home and tell Jane, "I did a lot of people-ing today. I definitely need a nap."  They may have been really satisfying interactions and may have held immense significance…but I still need that nap. Some of you may relate.

 

But regardless of whether or not energy is spent or I’m energized by these interactions, the importance of this engagement with our church family or the broader community is a fundamental element in God's plan. Knowing this, here are three essential things I try to remember as I "people."

 

Engagement Offers Support and Encouragement.

 

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10: Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.

 

While groups I’ve been a part of often have a central focus - like studying a book, reading through the Bible, or working on various projects - there is also something that happens as we naturally learn more about each other and our lives. We get to hear about everyday challenges, major setbacks, and celebrate victories. These are all opportunities for us to support and encourage each other and can become a genuine source of connection and growth. Engaging in, or even leading, something like a Life Group is a great opportunity for you to engage in this way if you haven’t already. I have been a part of and led groups and while they all have their own differences, strengths, and weaknesses, if I go in with an open mind and heart, I’ve always come out of them with some kind of new relationship with someone. This might be someone new that I’ve met or many times it’s growing together with someone I already know, and we have that shared experience even after the group is over.

 

Engaging with our Community Builds Unity

 

Ephesians 4:3: Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

 

One of our bold moves from the SHAKEN initiative is a more effective use of our building and reimagining how we utilize it. Over the last year we’ve seen increasing opportunities for community use at both Ross and Colerain campuses: sports teams, school activities, counseling, support groups, team meetings and more. People are serving locally at the annual Colerain give-back day or volunteering at our schools. All of these opportunities are ways that we are working to build that unity in our communities one interaction at a time and it’s worth our effort. You can take that first step of engaging in our community by serving on one of our Sunday morning teams or signing up for one of the serving opportunities always popping up on our website.

 

Sometimes We Don’t Realize Our Impact

 

1 Corinthians 3:6-7: I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.

 

Engaging with our community can be a source of profound impact on the lives of others and a lot of times we can be oblivious to it because it’s not us having the impact, but God impacting them through us. Sometimes this can be eye-opening like when a friend tells me that something I said had an impact on their decision, but I don’t even remember saying it. Sometimes we are tempted to avoid engagement because we can’t see the far-reaching impact beyond what we can observe. We need to remember that God has built us for community and if we are trusting in him and engaging with others in love and compassion, even in the small and seemingly insignificant ways, we become vessels where God's transformative power can work.

 

So while people-ing might take a little more energy for some of us, it’s critically linked with God's plan for both us and others. It provides support, encouragement, and unity as we journey through life together and it can make real change in our communities. As you go about your week, take a second to recognize and think about what that next step of engagement is for you. Keep on people-ing!





Brian Doerman

Sr. Operations Manager

White Oak Christian Church





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