If the last 18 months have taught us anything it’s that community matters. As we recover from multiple lockdowns and countless restrictions, we find ourselves appreciating the very things we took for granted. We realised that zoom meetings and breakout rooms cannot replace the physical gathering of friends and family. Whilst the restrictions were in place, people were willing to incur thousands of pounds worth of fines just to meet up. You could presume that these people were simply rebellious or perhaps their actions declare something deeper. Humans were made for the community (Genesis 2:18) but not all community is conducive for the life of the Christian (Psalm 1:1). As we navigate this post-lockdown world, some may find it difficult to join and remain within a healthy community. Several questions may arise which may prevent you from being active in your search. What do I look for? Where can I go? Who can I trust? Well, look no further. Here are 5 reasons why community is important for the Christian.
There are a few buzzwords that enter the mainstream lexicon, which over time lose their meaning because they are overused yet misunderstood. Accountability is one of these words, yet its necessity hasn’t decreased no matter its misuse. For the Christian, accountability is important because of the great enemy that seeks to derail us as we sojourn through life (1 Peter 2:11). Accountability is necessary because it allows friends to help you wage war against the sins that seek to overwhelm you. Sin thrives in darkness and accountability can be the switch that turns the light on (James 5:16 c.f. 1 John 1:7).
As humans, we are limited in our view of the world and our own lives. Our vision is often 2D and consequently, we can miss issues or misdiagnose areas in our lives or world. This is why community is important. When multiple people are looking at a problem, they often come with various perspectives. This allows issues to be resolved and mindsets to be transformed. There is a wisdom in an abundance of counsellors (Proverbs 15:22). Don’t miss out!
The great goal of the Christian life is to be conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29). This can be defined as maturity. The expectation of every believer is that we are progressively growing in the knowledge of Jesus. Now when you’re a new believer, your zeal can often be greater than your wisdom and you can be prone to wrong belief. However, in community, this misbelief can be corrected, and you can be steered back onto the right track (Acts 18:24-26).
Life can be tough. When you’re isolated the storms of life can seem more devastating than they are. When panic wants to be driving the force in your life, it can be easy to forget that Jesus is on the boat with you (Mark 4:38-40). Having a Christian community is necessary in these times because when you forget about the goodness of God, there are people available to remind you. When the storms life appears to overwhelm you, a good community will be there to remind you that God won’t let you drown.
Life isn’t always tough. Sometimes life is good. And when life is good, there can be the tendency to forget God. The gifts replace the Giver and slowly but surely you start to drift away from your first Love (Hebrews 2:1). This is a danger for every believer. Therefore, we don’t simply need to be reminded about God’s goodness when times are tough but also when times are good. Both prosperity and hardship seek to whisper the same lie to us – my circumstance defines me. Being in healthy communities allows you to resist this lie and stay close to the One who doesn’t want to let you go.
Finding a good community can be difficult. As you grow older it is seemingly harder to find friends that you can journey within this life. I understand and more importantly, God understands. Before you embark on your next search, I implore you to pray. What you desire is a good thing and God does not wish to withhold that from you (Psalm 84:11). Whilst you pray for a good community, pray that you will also be a person that can be a part of one.