(pp 149-151 of Spiritual Discipline Handbook)
Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am with them- Matthew 18.20
Watch our Community video
If we’re really honest, COVID-19 has challenged our understanding of community. For as long as we can remember, we took for granted the importance of community. We neglected to really see the value in face to face conversations, in those 5-minute coffee conversations before and after worship, those talks with peers before, after, and on the way to another class. They were things we did so regularly, often without thinking about what we were doing. And then, in March 2020 we were told we can’t do that anymore- we locked ourselves in our homes, stopped going out, and now months later, we’re still living this way. And we’re starting to really feel the loss- we’re starting to realize how many moments of community we experienced each day without thinking about. We are becoming very independent people who are very self-focused, learning to be people who function on our own, and it we admit it, it’s hard.
We were created as individuals, but we were never meant to live alone. God created Adam and saw that it wasn’t good for him to be alone and from Adam, he created Eve. This is how God wanted us to live- with each other. We are all individual pieces of a larger picture, or as Paul analogizes in 1 Corinthians- we each are body parts, we have our own role, but we function in partnership with the other parts of the body, nourishing each other. We are members of a wider body and we need each other. We are meant to look out for each other, feed each other, and care for each other. Community is not simply the physical gathering people in one place, rather it is the emotional, spiritual, and mental presence and relationship with others.
What are some examples of Community in the Bible?
1 Corinthians 12.12-31
1 Thessalonians 5.12-14
1 Timothy 3.14-15
Do you consider yourself to be more of an introvert (someone who gets energy by being alone) or an extrovert (someone who is recharged through others)?
How does being in/with a community feed your soul or how does the idea of being in community cause you anxiety?
When thinking of community, how and why do you think it matters to your spiritual wellbeing? Your mental well-being? Your physical well-being?
What has been your experience of being part of a faith community?
If you could design your ideal community, what would it look like? (By community we mean more the relational aspect rather than physical)
How does your life currently reflect the Christian concept of community? What do you feel needs to be changed in your current community to be more reflective of Christ?
How has the COVID-19 pandemic, lockdown, and hybrid learning model impacted the importance/value of community in your life? How can it be improved?
What has the COVID-19 pandemic taught you about community?
Make an intentional point of joining a community group for a minimum of 6 weeks. As you join a community group, pay attention to how it’s feeding or hindering your soul, but be sure to be an active member of the group during this time
Send notes to people who are in your life who you’ve perhaps not connected with regularly to let them know they’re in your mind. Don’t simply send a text but try an out of the box reach out such as sending a letter in the mail, dropping a package off at their door, having a zoom call with them
Invite someone intentional into your bubble where you make a purpose of meeting with them (safely) on a regular basis as a way to encourage and build each other up
Actively spend time praying for the people in your life by name. Reach out to people and ask them how you can pray for them and invite them into a time of fellowship
Find someone in your life who you don’t know well and ask them to share their story with you, listen to them as deeply as possible