We can’t accidentally have community in our lives. Well not a healthy kind. There has to be effort put into the kind of community that builds up and nurtures. Have you heard that song titled, ” I can have a relationship with God without going to church.” ? A few lyrics say, ” I go to a huge church but feel so alone.” or ” Nobody talks to me,” or ” There are too many cliques,” or ” They are all hypocrites.” and I could go on. Most of my life I sang parts of this song or heard it being sung. When church is this way, yes there is something wrong. This isn’t the way God called us to be, dividing up the church, being unwelcoming, unloving, and showing favoritism. But churches are made up of imperfect people. There will never be a perfect church. And if we just walk away from a divided or imperfect church, throw up our hands, and give up, then how are we any better? Where is our fight? Life is a boxing ring where we fight for the way things are supposed to be! So put on your boxing gloves and knock down this fearful, self-centered, victim mentality!
I lived that way for so long but finally I had enough. There was a point where I looked up to God with tears in my eyes, and said, ” God, I am tired of feeling lonely and weak. I have no accountability or encouragement. Help me find Christian friends. What do I do?” I heard God speak to my soul clearly and immediately. I was to go to college group at my church. I wasn’t supposed to keep waiting for community to find me and wrap me its loving arms around me, because it doesn’t always happen that way. I couldn’t expect to find immediate best friends by going to college group once a month. God was calling me to go every week, rain or shine, insecure or confident, accepted or rejected. I was scared. I had attended college group here and there but it was so awkward and I felt out-of-place and alone in the crowd. So I usually went once and then didn’t go back until months later. We tend to run from feeling uncomfortable or vulnerable and I avoided awkward situations as much as I could. But not anymore. God made it clear I had to fight against my self in order to find the community I needed to change my life. And it did change my life. After a few weeks of awkward moments and scary social situations, finally I started making friends and suddenly I realized, I had what God promised: honest friends to encourage me and keep me accountable. I was living in community and dealing with the risk and joy that comes along with it. We cannot practice God’s commands to love, when we aren’t in a community.
Now I am a leader in my church’s college group and I do my best to fight for community. I always am looking for new people to bring in, encourage, and love. I do this because I know how easy it is to feel left out or unwanted and how just a few kind words and inclusion can change a life. Do you feel alone in a crowd? Are you not attending church because it’s uncomfortable? Are you playing the victim? Look to God and ask him to lead you to the right place where you can find a group of people to help you grow. People aren’t perfect so if you are looking for people without flaws, it won’t happen. Fight for community in your life! It won’t be easy or painless, but it is so worth it!
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, …”