Tag: necessary

The significance of community

This is a guest post by Nikki Eidson.  Nikki is a young adult living and working in Charleston, SC.  She’s seeking community.  You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and both of her blogs: Crazy Asian of Charleston or Faith Overflow.

image via Ardent Cries

When I began processing my experiences with my small groups, I had the idea of writing about the importance of community for young adults (since this is the age category I fall under). But I realized this:

No matter how young we are or how old we are, we need community. Period.

Sometimes we don’t “want” it. But it’s necessary. Here are 3 reasons why I believe community is important.

The necessity of community

1. Encouragement and Prayer

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another.”(Hebrews 10:24-25a)

I remember my first “small group” encounter occurred in the midst of a horrible low point in my life.

I remember being scared.

I was vulnerable.

I didn’t want to be judged.

I, honestly, wanted to get through all my junk on my own.

…but had I not embraced the community, I would have missed out on experiencing friendship and encouragement

I would have missed out on understanding the meaning of unconditional love (…well, as close to “unconditional” as we can get).

I would have, ultimately, missed out on becoming the woman that God wanted me to become.

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16)

As I grew in my faith, being part of a small group gave me an open forum to discuss my struggles with other believers – my FRIENDS – who I knew would be constantly praying for me. And although sometimes it’s awkward, asking for prayer is powerful and knowing that others are praying for you is immensely rewarding.

2. Fellowship

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” (Proverbs 17:17)

Life is rough, sometimes.

And we need a safe, fun-loving environment to just have fun and let go.

Some of my favorite small group memories involve game nights, going out to eat together. Just BEING together. As brothers and sisters in Christ, we need each other in times of adversity.

Life is better lived with friends.

3. Discipleship

Another reason community is necessary for young adults is to further our discipleship with Christ – to constantly be growing.

This has especially been the core of my experience with small groups in my “new home” of Charleston. We gather together to encourage, fellowship, but most importantly to GROW as devoted followers of Christ. And to not only grow in our own personal relationships, but also to encourage each other’s growth.

We are constantly studying God’s word to push us to not only become more passionate FOLLOWERS of Christ, but to become LEADERS ready and willing to step up in building up other followers.

I know I was recently asked to pray about stepping up and leading small group one night. I was definitely challeneged (and still am since I haven’t officially stepped up to say “Yes”). But I realized that it’s easy to “sit back and enjoy the ride” when you simply go and don’t have to worry about leading.

But sometimes, we need encouragement from one another to step up and to be willing to lead. Being in a small group that challenges you to never settle in your relationship with Christ is important.

As a former “I like worshiping in a big service, but small groups ‘aren’t for me'” person, I can honestly say that stepping out of my comfort zone and being willing to live life with other people has made a huge difference in my faith and relationship with Christ.

Going to a large gathering on Sunday (or Saturday – whenever you attend “BIG” church) is important in worshiping with the body of Christ, but never discount the importance of gathering together in a smaller community. We were made to be relational and to have more personal relationships with other believers. You never know what God will reveal to you in those smaller gatherings that you would never be able to hear in the larger gatherings.

Are you involved in a small group?

What has challenged you most in that community?

 

I don’t need to go to church

Church Sign

Recently I said this on Twitter:

Can a person REALLY be growing in their faith & NOT be involved in a faith community? I think not.

As you might imagine, it stirred some people up.

As you can also imagine, the ones it stirred up were the ones not involved in a faith community (a general term that I used to point to church, small group, Sunday School, etc.)

I would love to hear from you, but before that, I’ll throw my thoughts into the ring. 

Can a person grow in their faith and not be involved in a faith community?

1. No.

2. 9 times out of 10, in my opinion, the statement, “I don’t need to go to church” is used as an excuse.  The people who say this aren’t growing, and don’t have much intention to grow.  Church would bring conviction and accountability…two things that they don’t have, and don’t truly desire.

3. For those who fall into the 1 out of 10 who aren‘t using, “I don’t need to go to church” as an excuse, I would say that the Church needs you as much as you need the church.  We need your encouragement, love, accountability (doctrinal as well as moral/practical), wisdom, love, care, support, admonition, rebuke, teaching, and leadership.  And you need us for the same reasons.

4. “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)  Going to church brings us into close contact with the Church.  Hearing others worship, praying with others, hearing Scripture preached, and building relationships with others in the Church all help to grow our faith, and are, in my opinion, vital to your relationship with Christ.

5. We are prone to forget.  We need others to remind us, and spur us on in this walk of faith.  We get wrapped up in the trivialities of life, and get bogged down with details.  Others help remind us of the power of the resurrection.  The brevity of life.  The life-transforming power of grace.  The healing nature of forgiveness.  Without the Church, we quickly lose sight of all of that.  I can read about these things in a book…but seeing them lived out in the guy sitting two pews over is different altogether.

6. UPADATE – After a comment I received via Facebook, I’ve decided to make an addition to this post.  I’d like to make concessions for folks who are not able to travel, due to health or other reasons.  Those people should not feel an ounce of guilt for not traveling to gather with other believers.  That said, though, I truly believe that they need to gather with others, so the Church’s responsibility would be to go to them.

What do you think?  Do you believe that it’s possible to grow in your faith without “meeting together?”

 

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