Several Sundays ago our church celebrated parent/child dedication. It is a ceremony where as parents you commit to raise your child in the ways of the Lord and in His truth. But there is another part- the community aspect. This is where the church body is charged with coming alongside and helping to support that parental endeavor. The community of believers makes a commitment to support the family as fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to point their child towards God and to walk in righteousness. Often our focus is on the family and the child being dedicated- as it should be- but as a church we cannot lose sight of our responsibility as a member of the body of Christ to one another.

I jokingly say the Christian life is not an island. Think about what an island is by definition. It is defined as an isolated piece of habitat surrounded entirely by water. The key word being isolated. Islands are isolated, cut off from being connected to something else. The Christian community is the exact opposite of that. There is not only connection with people within your direct vicinity but there is connection with people half a world away. Once you are a believer you become part of a larger family and you have brothers and sisters in Christ around the world. We see this language used through the New Testament. (Romans 12:10, Galatians 6:10, Ephesians 2:19, 1 Timothy 5:1-2) For times of celebration, for life changes, the ups and downs, and the ugly of life. Christian community weeps with those who weep and rejoices with those who rejoice. (Romans 12:15)

From the beginning of time, God intended community to be a part of human existence.

  • God is community. We see that in the Trinity- Father, Son, and Spirit and we are created in His image. (Genesis 1:26-27)
  • In the context of Genesis, He created a wife for Adam so they could be in relationship with one another and in fellowship with God. (Genesis 2:18)
  • Paul ‘s letters often refer to “you” in giving admonitions but the majority of the “‘you” in Paul’s letters are referring to “you all” (or y’all as we say in the South). It is a community admonition and a community endeavor to walk the Christian life.
  • Romans 8 powerfully describes the groaning that takes place as we wait for eternity (Romans 8:22). The word Paul uses implies a community groaning. Even in our hope, in our wait on the Lord, we wait together, we groan together for the day of redemption.

Our design for community means we are wired to need others, to be in relationship, and most importantly to be in relationship with God. As the creator of human life, He designed us for human connection and relationships.

So what are some ways you can fill that need for community? There are three things that I have learned and tried to implement when finding community.

  1. Get involved! I can’t stress this enough. Make the choice to be intentional about your involvement in Christian community. I know from experience it is hard looking for a new church home or joining a new community but it is vital to your relationship with Jesus to make this a priority. Join a Bible study, start a discipleship group, and attend events at your church. These are fertile ground for friendships to grow and authentic community to happen. Sunday mornings are wonderful times of worship and fellowship but it is hard to make connections with others while listening to a sermon!
  2. Pray about it! It seems obvious that prayer would be a part of it but pray for Godly friends. Pray for people who are in your season of life that can understand where you are right now. Pray for a mentor who has been there and done that who can speak truth into those hard moments because he or she has walked a mile in your shoes. Pray for someone to disciple. You have a lot to offer and your gifts can be used by God to plant seeds of truth in someone else’s life.
  3. Understand theology matters- The theology of your community matters. The community of believers you become a part of needs to be grounded and pointing towards the One True God and recognize the Bible as the inspired Word of God. The wisdom behind their decisions and their guidance to you matters. Does it come from God (James 3:17)? Is their goal and pursuit to honor Him and to walk with you along the way in your journey to honor Him? Those are the people you want in your community.

Community is defined as a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals. Christian community goes beyond that definition to entail worship, service, iron sharpening iron, and a true focus on honoring God.