September 11, 2023
Community. It's a word we often hear, but what do we really mean when we talk about it? And why is it so important to your spiritual life?
Bottom Line: Community is vitally important because you can't grow spiritually unless you're connected relationally. God designed us that way. He wants to use other people to grow us, and He wants to use us to grow other people.
What does Jesus want people to become? Disciples who actually follow Jesus. What do we want people to do? Love God and love people—all people: those who know Christ and those who don’t.
Recently psychologists and sociologists have said repeatedly that Americans are some of the loneliest people on planet earth. That probably translates to the epidemic levels of depression and anxiety repeatedly reported and seen.
America is not a “thing” or abstract. It is a nation of individuals, and that impacts the way we live, think, and believe. An individualistic worldview deeply affects our faith, for individualism is an understanding of the world that has as its epicenter the individual soul. In other words, for Americans the most important thing is the individual, not the community. That is deadly. Mother Teresa lived in poverty-stricken India, deprived of many of the basic elements required for a comfortable life, but she referred to America as the most socially impoverished country in the world. She could see no visible community.
There is nothing inherently wrong with individualism. But like all worldviews, individualism impacts our relationship with God, in both good and bad ways. American Christians correctly understand the importance of a relationship with God being personal—personal in that it is MY responsibility—and that growth comes through personal study, prayer, and worship. But that helpful individualism can blind us to the importance of community, leaving us lonely and disconnected from one another.
Jesus’ last prayer before His death is recorded in John 17, and He bares His heart for us to be close and united, growing together in unity, love, and impact. He said this is the way we would grow and the world would come to know Him. We were not made to do life alone. God has designed us for relationships. It is impossible to live out your God-given potential without them.
The importance of Christian community cannot be understated. God has woven it into the fabric of each of us. That’s why we say living life alone is dangerous. It has a mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual impact that is subtle but deadly. Doing life together with other Christ followers is central and vital to our spiritual health. It’s a place “where someone knows your name and they are really glad you came.”
You get to know people and encourage them as they are, like you, working to live a Christ-first life. You’re better at life because you give permission to be held accountable for the things that are important to you.
It’s a place where you nurture and develop your relationship with Christ in a safe environment.
We regularly say, “You don’t change in rows—you change in circles.” Worship on Sundays is significant and great, but your long-term transformation occurs around a table doing life together, sharing life together.
Sign up for one of our groups: You’ll be so glad you did.