We set aside each July to focus on life as a community as part of our church journey. And when we belong to the cell community, we can walk this journey out.
Community is life-giving and Scripture exhorts us that we’re better together than alone. Hebrews 10:24-25 says, ‘And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.’
This idea of community develops from the sense of responsibility we have for one another and we’re encouraged to take care of our brethren while following the Word of the Lord. God created us to desire companionship and we do better when we have someone to love, serve with, have fun with, and live life with.
God didn’t intend us to live in isolation. Community is to be encouraging and give you the chance to be around people at different stages of their faith journey. We learn to bear their burdens alongside them, reminding us of the importance of staying and maintaining connection, ensuring a thriving community and helping each other in our spiritual growth and maturity.
I know it can be hard for some to commit to community, especially if we’re guarded or prefer solitude. But community is God’s desire for us and the Holy Spirit is present whenever believers gather. And while being in church in the weekend service is definitely important, if you want to be a follower of Jesus Christ, to be one every day in the context of all your communities, that’s where you’ll see ministry happen as well.
As your pastor, I’ve had the overwhelming fear of having to care for everyone but what if I can’t fulfil this expectation? At other times, it could be you’d started on the wrong footing and want to withdraw to a place of safety. Now, when I recall those moments, I’d laugh at the fear and fumbling. It was very real indeed but it’s okay to not be close to everyone. However, it’s not okay to not care or be willing to encourage.
We can look around at the people in our church. The widows or widowers who could use the fellowship of sharing a meal with you and your family. A single parent who could use a helping hand around the house like taking care of the children so as to enjoy some quiet time or be with friends. Married couples could use a date night but have no grandparents nearby to babysit. Young college students who are tempted to leave the church when an invitation by you makes them feel welcomed and needed.
Our culture can sometimes portray Christians as a pretty boring bunch but that couldn’t be further from the truth! Believers can be goofy, witty, and just really fun to be around, and it should be enjoyable! Don’t be afraid or too busy to invest in someone else’s life. Be a listener or encourager, a prayer warrior or a teacher and mentor – offer a helping hand.
When my family last moved house again some 12 years ago, I was personally ministered to by a lady who surprised me with her outrageous warmth. She extended her love by offering to get my groceries each week. She would methodically ask what I needed and even offered to prepare evening meals for our family.
This continued for almost three months until her family had a country relocation. I deeply appreciated – and was very thankful for – her extravagant service of love which came at the right time in my life, in the midst of the busy ministry season. It was as wonderful to be able to give as it was to be on the receiving end.
I rejoice to see love expressed in ways when we least expect it, especially when our hands are also strengthened in very practical and ordinary ways. Yes, community life has a higher purpose and Ps 133:1 tells us, ‘Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!’
In living out our Christian journey, I pray you’ll find a thriving community life with us in Cornerstone.