Can I meddle in your life a little bit? I have a pretty important question to ask you.
Are you in community?
In Christian circles the word “community” has been adopted as a buzz word, and I’m afraid even watered down. So much so that you may read my meddling question and without a second thought say, “Yes, of course I am.” I’m afraid that more people are in what they think is community, when really they’re just in a crowd with no strings attached.
Last week at our weekend gathering at RiverChurch I talked about a litmus test for community, a way you can know if you are experiencing community on a regular basis.
Community offers accountability. I’m not talking about “Hey guys I ate a donut this week, and I blew my diet” kind of accountability. I’m talking about the kind that gets in your business and challenges your thinking. A group of people that care enough about you to tell you you’re wrong when you are and not be afraid of making you mad. Its ugly. We don’t like folk up in our “bidness” but we need it.
Community offers integrity. Integrity means strength, reliability, dependability. Community offers all of that, it’s the “we got your back” so keep moving forward kind of strength, that we SO desperately need when we face hard times.
Community offers unity. There’s something so refreshing about being together, on the same page with other people about the important stuff in life. Too many people around us are splintered, fragmented, even isolated from other people. To find an area of unity with likeminded others, is like finding an oasis in a desert.
Community is a big deal. So I restate my meddling question – Are you in community?
Let me give you a little dose of healthy community with some honesty – to not be community can be deadly. Melodramatic? No, seriously. Acts 5 tells about a couple that was part of the vibrant early Church we read about in Acts 2. This group of Christ followers were the real deal. Sharing what they had with each other, reverent, devoted to God and each other. But in Acts 5 we read about a couple who obviously wasn’t tightly connected to that kind of community. They lied to God, and that lie cost them their lives. Had they been connected to community, experiencing the accountability, integrity, unity, and countless other benefits, they wouldn’t have been isolated and drawn away to do something so foolish and deadly as lie to God.
Apart from community, we lose our sense of belonging to something bigger than us. We think we are the biggest fish in the pond, because we somehow find ourselves as the ONLY fish in our pond.
I’m begging you to find community. I’m not talking about a small group, a bible study, or a club, alone. Those things are great IF they truly offer you the true benefits of community. Can the people in that group get in your business? Can they get close enough to you to put their hands on your back and push you through difficult times? Can you live in a state of unity and togetherness with them, or do you simply tolerate your differences? If the answers to these questions are “yes” x 3, you’re probably in a good place. If not, well then you’ve needed this intervention.
Community – get some. Life depends on it.