Society bombards us with messages about the importance of independence. Don’t follow the crowd. Make your own way. Do your own thing. Anything other than self-sufficiency is seen as weakness. We each have our own cars and houses and playlists. But are we really happier living our lives alone?
What happened to the days of sitting on the front porch? In the interest of transparency, I didn’t do that in my neighborhood because I grew up in the hood. My mom would freak out if we stopped in front of the window for too long. But we knew our neighbors. We experienced community, even if it was huddling together for survival. Something has been removed from our culture and it seems we’re worse off because of it.
We do a pretty good job acting like we have a community culture, and Johnston County has a bunch of options for community experiences, but I still think many of us are missing out on something. Starbucks has comfy seats facing each other, but how many times have you walked into a Starbucks and seen everyone staring into their MacBook while wearing earphones? Parks are loaded with people, but it seems everyone has a cell phone jammed in their ear while ignoring everyone within a 100-foot radius.
I believe God wants you to move from anonymity to community because Biblical community is a gift from God that provides us a taste of heaven.
Why is community for a Christian such a good idea? Isn’t it enough to have a personal relationship with God? Yes, it is critically important to have a relationship with God, but it is also necessary to experience biblical community too. Why?
Luke 17:1 “Jesus said to His disciples, ‘Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come…”
Jesus is saying that eventually you are going to stumble over something. You’re not going to see it coming (otherwise, you’d get out of the way). The word used here literally means “trap”. You are going to get blindsided, and whatever it is will knock you down hard. That’s a promise from Jesus Himself.
Maybe this has already happened and you’ve stumbled away from the church because of some hurt years ago. Perhaps you will stumble over a health scare or a damaged friendship. I don’t know what it has been or what it will be for you, but you’re going to stumble.
What does this have to do with community?
It’s easy for us to stumble out of church. Maybe you’ve done this before: the alarm went off a little too early on a Sunday morning and you bailed on church. You justified it pretty well, actually. You probably thought, “There are enough people that show up that no one will notice if I’m not there.”
It’s really easy for us to stumble out of church.
It easy to stumble out of my personal relationship with God. Who’s going to know if I don’t read my Bible or pray? It’s easy to stumble out of personal spiritual disciplines.
Get ready for this lil’ nugget o’ truth: it is almost impossible to stumble out of community. Why? You’re spending time with other people, walking through the highs and lows of life together, opening God’s Word together, asking difficult questions (in a good way) face-to-face so that if you start to stumble, there will be people who notice.
The writer of the majority of Proverbs was Solomon. He had a lot to say about a lot of things and he is considered to be the wisest person (outside of Jesus) who ever lived. Unfortunately, Solomon didn’t always follow his own advice, but here’s what he had to say about community:
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”
Solomon is saying that we should pity the person who doesn’t have relationships with people who care–there is no one to help them up.
How great that The Church @ Clayton Crossings has a structure of community in place with Community Groups that can be the place to connect with people who care about you. Isn’t that what you want? Isn’t that what you need?
We’re in the process of upgrading our community groups at C@CC, but in the meantime, you can jump into one of our existing groups this week. To find out more, visit claytoncrossings.com/groups.
What I need to remember:
- MEMBERSHIP CLASS. Are you considering partnering with The Church at Clayton Crossings? Join us for our no-obligation Partnership Class on Sunday, July 17 that will give you a peek behind the curtain at who we are and what we do. Here’s the super-short version: we are people who have been rescued by God who are willing to do whatever He asks! Follow this link to sign up.
- BAPTISM Our next baptism is scheduled for Sunday, July 24. Allow your church family to celebrate the transformation Jesus has made in your life. Sign up for more info here.
- JOIN A TEAM! I am humbled by the faithful service of our volunteers. Each week, partners roll up their sleeves and do whatever it takes to point people to Jesus, but we need more help! There’s a place for you to serve at C@CC, no matter your availability, temperament, or skill set. To take the next step in your faith journey by serving, complete this short form and we’ll find the perfect fit for you.
What I’m reading
- The Message of the Sermon on the Mount by John R.W. Stott.
- I’m re-reading Deep & Wide: Creating Churches Unchurched People Love to Attend by Andy Stanley – getting ready for some exciting additions for the fall!
John Sanders is the non-stuffy pastor at The Church at Clayton Crossings. His primary mission is to help people find and follow Jesus. Additionally, he longs to write like the child of Aaron Sorkin and Dave Barry, preach like W.A. Criswell, look like Bradley Cooper, and eat like he’s seventeen years old. A more complete (and less snarky) bio can be found here.
Let’s be friends: