I need Christian community. And so do you. It’s the way God created us (Genesis 2:18). The NT is full of verses that describe how we should act toward one another. It’s clear from the scriptures that God often uses our brothers and sisters in Christ to aid in our spiritual growth. While it’s theoretically possible to grow in isolation, it certainly isn’t ideal. We need each other. Here are few of the benefits of community that I’ve experienced in my life.
- Insight. Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. Have you ever felt “stuck”. Some times what we need most is an outside perspective. Talking through a reoccurring emotion or action with a trusted friend can often shed some light on the issue. We all have blind spots. A friend can help us see past those.
- Support. Galatians 6:2 Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. Whether we’re going through a difficult time or need prayer for a big decision, having others people with you in that can be a tremendous support. Knowing we’re not alone can often give us the boost we need.
- Encouragement. I Thessalonians 5:11 So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing. Life is tough! We could all use some more encouragement. As I share with our Middle School and High School students often, encouragement is more than a compliment (“your hair looks pretty today”). True encouragement affirms the person and builds them up (“you’re a valuable member of our group. I appreciate you”)
I’m sure we could come up with many more benefits of community. These are just 3 that top my list. Wherever you’re at spiritually, I hope that you’ll make efforts to engage yourself in community. It requires intentional effort and a willingness to be open with people. It’s worth every bit of the investment though.