Community is something that I've been thinking about a lot lately. To be more specific, community in the church/among Christians.
I guess the first time I really remember thinking hard about community was when I started dating Jim. He still lived in the wonderful city that is Austin, Texas, and on Tuesday nights, he had Community Group. It was a group of people from his church who met together and discussed the deep things of God, the hard things of life, and had lots of fun doing it. All of them are still good friends (and I am happy to be apart of that group by marriage). How could you not want that?
Then, I started thinking about the friends I have in my life. I have my best friends from high school whom I still keep in touch with, but they don't live in Wichita Falls (actually, that is false: Kimberly does, for the summer!) so it's hard to have "community" with them. I have my best friend Amber, who lives here, and although I tell her she doesn't count because she married my cousin (therefore becoming family) she does count bigtime! We've also been hanging out with Brady and Melissa some, which has been awesome! And, I can't forget my hilarious friend Lindsay, who has become dear to me, but will be moving on at some point. PLUS, there are numerous couples, for whom we babysit their kids, dogs, or houses, or any combination of the three, who are also special to us.
So, I guess what I'm trying to say is that life is just better when you have people doing it with you. Saying that I don't have friends would be a complete lie, as seen in the above paragraph. But having people who are doing life with you is something on a completely different level. To add another dimension to it all, having people who are Christians to do life with you is something that is hard to find!
As the administrative assistant for the college minister here (who happens to be Brady that I spoke of earlier) he wanted to start a midweek get together for the guys during the summer. Jim jumped at the opportunity to pour into lives what had been so lovingly poured into his from his group in Austin. The women's mid week group followed. We both meet on Thursday nights and are both going through the book of Ephesians.
But this is more than a Bible Study. We had our first meeting last week, and I was in charge of leading the group. In doing my studying, I found an interesting article. It was called "10 Ways to Avoid Building Community in the Church." It sounded interesting, so I looked at it. Although it is written from a sarcastic point of view, it was one of the truest, heart piercing things that I had ever read. You can look at it here. I have been guilty of at least all of those at some point in my life, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. So, we were going to make this group different. This group was going to have to commit to coming, commit to praying for each other, and commit to discussing what we were talking about. It wasn't going to be a come and go when you feel like it. Sounds harsh, doesn't it?
Well, here is how it is in my mind: Community is something God wanted for us, according to Acts 2:42-47. But, it doesn't come easy, as don't most things for which are "good" for us (reading the Bible, praying, obeying, etc.) because we have to set aside time and put forth effort. Community is no different. So, just like you have to commit to reading your Bible everyday, you have to commit to being apart of a community. So, as we continue on the quest, I'm interested to see what happens. Interested and excited! Life is hard enough- going at it alone is harder, and so I want to be apart of a community who will come alongside me when I need it, and whom I can do the same thing for.
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