Fulfilling the entire goal of your life on earth requires community.
Let that sink in for a minute.
Of course, such a claim makes no sense unless we remember what the goal of our life actually is as followers of Christ. Allow the Lord to speak for himself. “You are…a people for his own possession that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9.)
God says something critically important in that verse. He reminds us of our identity. We are not individual Christians enjoying a personally customized relationship with God thanks to our local barista, Jesus. We are a people. More specifically, we’re his people. That means our felt need for relationship with other Christians should never be the driving reason we pursue community. We should pursue community because God created and saved us for community. It’s our identity as his people.
We don’t naturally think of community in the church that way. We naturally think of community as a tool in our following-Jesus toolbox that we can deploy whenever we feel the need, whenever we’re in crisis, or need a spiritual pick-me-up, or want a sense of belonging. It’s nice to know people are there for you when we need them. Pursuing community for those reasons is idolatry. We’re taking our God-given identity and twisting it to serve our own desires. That kind of “community” on demand may feel good to us, but it doesn’t please God at all because it’s not God-centered. It’s self-centered. God wants us to pursue community not simply because we feel the need, but rather because we humbly recognize it’s our God-given identity in Christ and delight to please him by living out this God-given identity in Christ.
That’s why we are working hard to expand the number of Community Groups in our church this year. A Community Group is a small group of (ideally) 8-10 adults who are on a mission to help one another follow Jesus in every area of life. It’s a context for living out our dentity as disciple-making disciples. Doing that in a Community Group requires leadership. I’m not talking mini-pastors or spiritual superheroes. I’m talking about men and women who love Jesus and are willing to engage, love, and connect people, mobilizing them to help each other follow Jesus.
If you’re interested in serving our church as a Community Group Leader or someone else has told you that you would make a great Community Group Leader, this fall is your opportunity to learn about the role and be equipped for the task. We are forming a new Community Group Leader Training cohort that will participate in five group training sessions on the following Tuesday evenings from 7-9pm.
- September 25th
- October 9th
- October 23rd
- November 20th
- December 11th
You can expect to spend an hour completing the required reading before each session, as well as another 30 minutes of homework after each session. The training is not hard, but every session is important and you must commit to attending at least 4 of the 5 sessions in order to sign up. You do not have to commit to immediately leading a Community Group. Nor do you have to be a married couple. Honestly, we would love to see more Community Groups led by teams of single men and women. You simply need to be a member of our church who is willing to engage, love, and connect your brothers and sisters in Christ. If you have any questions or want to join the fall cohort, please contact Matthew by September 16th at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re hoping the Lord provides at least 3 new Community Groups by January for two reasons. First, we’re continuing to grow as a church. The number of adults coming to our Sunday services well exceeds the number of available Community Groups. Second, we need to give several long-standing leaders a much-needed respite from their labor. We don’t want to burn out faithful volunteers. We want to have enough old and new leaders in the ranks that everyone can enjoy a healthy rhythm of work and rest, leading for a couple years and then taking a break. We can’t do that without more leaders. Please consider Community Group Leader Training as a new avenue for you to serve.