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The Importance of Fostering Community

I saw a funny picture online the other day that was from a children’s workbook, and the prompt for the page’s writing said “Grown-ups are WEIRD because:” The child’s response to this prompt was, “every one of them says ‘How are you?’ and you always have to say you’re good, even if you’re not good.”

It’s funny and true, but also a little sad, that there is an unspoken expectation for everyone to be “doing fine,” no matter what is actually going on in their lives. Even in the Church, where relationships are closest and community is of high importance, it’s still tough to move beyond these small talk niceties and allow others into the reality of what’s happening in our lives. I’ll be the first to admit that this is a challenge for me, and I am slowly working on it.

One of the reasons it’s difficult to move beyond this habit of “How are you?” “I’m good.” is because many of us only see one another once per week, and once per week is not enough to form community. Sure, we might have dinner with people we know well, or we might go see a movie with close friends, but the vast majority of interactions in church happen on Sunday morning while we are moving from one thing to the next, when there’s no time to open up and let others in.

Because of this, it’s important for us to be together more often, so we can learn about people we don’t know well, grow deeper with those we do know, and be available to share burdens, growing closer to each other and closer to God. The early church met daily (Acts 2:46; 5:42) to get to know each other and care for the community, and it changed the world!

That’s easier said than done though--schedules are busy and responsibilities are many, so finding time to spend with others can be quite a task. The good news is, the church has already built in many opportunities for us to spend time together. In addition to Sunday morning worship and class, we meet on Wednesday nights for study, we have Generations worship once a month, and we have a Small Groups ministry. Not to mention places like the pantry, tutoring, Thrive, and ladies’ Bible study, and others.

If you feel like you’ve been having a hard time getting to know others, or if you aren’t so good at allowing others to know you, I would encourage you to explore other available opportunities to spend time with your church family. That’s not to say that you have to be at everything, and it’s also not to say that the only way to meet and know others is to always be at the church building, but just that there are a lot of good chances to experience and enhance the church as a community.As we seek to love others like Jesus loves, that begins by loving and caring for one another, so I hope you will commit to these types of opportunities to do that.

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