Next Steps: Connect to Community


Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

- Hebrews 10:24-25

On a scale of 1-10, how good does a binge-watch marathon of the Office sound right now? How about sitting at a corner booth in a coffee shop, reading your favorite book? Or better yet, having no other responsibilities (no homework, house is spotless, no laundry to wash) and having time to lay in bed, guilt-free, and take a nap? These are some of my favorite things to do. They’re not bad things, but do you notice one common thread? They’re all activities that are best done alone, or with minimal interaction. Isn’t that crazy? When you think about it, many of the most popular activities in our lives promote isolation: texting, sitting in the library studying, Netflix, running errands, listening to music, the list goes on.

While our culture wants nothing more than to separate us, tell us we’re too busy, and feed our desire to “do it alone”, God’s word is crystal clear in our need to gather together to be spiritually poured into. We need a group of people to share in life with, laugh with, cry with, and pray with. God created us for community, and He desires that we walk out our faith alongside one another, so that we can “motivate one another to acts of love,” and “encourage one another” (Heb 10:24-25).

Soon after coming to Christ, this proved to be the hardest part of my faith to be obedient in. For a long time I felt that it was an optional part of my faith. I felt guilty every now and again for just going to church and not being a part of a small group, or not having many Christian friends, but I didn’t feel convicted. I felt I could get along without it. It didn’t take long, though, for me to realize that my faith was weakening. I battled loneliness and realized that my motivation to live my life for Jesus wasn’t as strong as it had once been. I learned that we aren’t created to be alone. We aren’t meant to walk out our faith as a lone wolf, even though our culture feeds into us the belief that dependence on other people makes us weak.

After stepping out in boldness and faith to get plugged in with a small group, I am so thankful. I now find so much encouragement and fulfillment in sharing the joys and pains of life alongside other sisters in Christ. Soon after coming to Christ, I needed people to help show me what it actually means to devote your whole life to Jesus. Throughout relationships and tough seasons, I needed people to ask me the hard questions of accountability. I have learned that Christians don’t have it figured out. We are all broken people in need of a Savior. Our one common denominator, though, is that we have all chosen Jesus as our Savior. We haven’t chosen partying, or school, or even our boyfriends or husbands as our savior. That sets us apart from many of the people in our lives. Just like there are support groups like AA for people struggling with addiction, we are in need of a “support group” to show us how to follow Jesus instead of the world. And it will be messy, and it will be beautiful, and it will be so worth it.

Reflection

1. What are some healthy experiences you’ve had with family or friends that have walked through hard seasons with you?

2. What is your understanding of community? Why do you think God desires us to walk out our faith alongside one another?

3. My challenge for you is this: if you aren’t involved in one yet, find a Bible study or small group and put it on your schedule to try it out. If you are in a small group or Bible study already, make a point to invite a new believer to come with you next week, and take them out for a meal afterwards.

Prayer

Jesus, thank You for setting the ultimate example of love and selflessness. Thank You for saving me from the loneliness and isolation of this world, and showing me a new and better way. I pray, God, that You would give me boldness to step into community. I pray that You would provide sisters to love and encourage me, and that I would do the same for them. I pray against isolation and pray for community, so that I can love You better. I trust You, God. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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