We are kicking off season 7 with what we are calling “All Star Month” where all month long we are talking about our favorite things. First up… Community!
All month long, we are talking about our favorite things. This past week we were reminded of one of our absolute favorite things… hanging out with geeks! Recently Celeste had the opportunity to participate in a local cosplay class. It was a great time of growth for her, but the best part for her was being in a community with some fellow geeks. On the final day of the class, everyone showed off their cosplays, talking about what they built, why they built them, and how they built it. The room was electrified with sounds of laughter and joyous talk.
Being in a community where people “get it” is remarkable. It brings life; it brings hope; it brings joy. Like it or not, by nature, we need community. Even the most introverted individuals must admit that being able to commune with like-minded individuals sometimes does something special for them. Partially because when we find these unique environments, there is the opportunity to let our guards down. In these environments, we have the opportunity to let people in to share our dreams, our hopes, and our burdens. Community isn’t just about doing stuff. It’s about developing moments where you can be genuine and honest.
In Hebrews 10:24-25, the writer lays out some essential truths about community.
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Community is designed for us to stir each other up into love and good works. We can all agree that stirring others up to these things is good, but the challenge is this… you actually have to gather. There are two essential disciplines in Christianity. Fellowship and Confession. However, the interesting aspect of these two disciplines is that you can’t have true fellowship unless you have true confession.
On top of that, you can’t have true confession unless you’ve developed true fellowship. It takes a leap of faith of sorts to develop a healthy community. It would help if you were willing to open up and develop trust. The more a community honors that together, the more it fosters the ability for people to open up more.
When we say confession, we aren’t speaking just about the confession of sins. Instead, this is confession in the larger sense. Unfortunately, some people are very closed off due to past trauma and fearful of revealing any part of themselves. Simple questions like, “how are you today,’ become difficult for them to answer. But in a healthy community, people can open up and share what’s happening on the inside.
Our challenge for you is twofold. First is to the Church as a whole. Sadly, one of the biggest hindrances to people being able to find freedom is that we’ve not created an environment where people can be honest about where they are. I’m not just talking about people dealing with sin, but rather people dealing with life issues like fear, depression, and even thoughts of suicide. People are afraid that if they share their burdens, they will be looked down upon as being less spiritual or that something is wrong. We must work to change that mindset in the Church so that people can experience true freedom and healing.
Our second challenge goes to those who have isolated themselves. Please, take a leap of faith and step into a biblical community that will pray with you, encourage you, and points you to Jesus. Find people who will help to stir you up to love and good works.