Community is one of those words that when you hear it you think of something dreamy – like a group of people eating a meal and drinking wine together, where everyone is such good friends and is vulnerable but also funny and everyone is happy about their community all the time.
But the truth of what community actually looks like is much different. Most of the time, when you decide to be in relationship with people consistently and over along period of time, there are many really difficult, ugly things and beautiful things that happen.
We need to move away from the idealistic view, because it makes it impossible to dive into the community God has you in – with the people who aren’t perfect and probably aren’t the people you expected to do life with.
We are called to love and to be in relationship with the people right in front of us.
Here is an example from my own life:
Jeremy and I have been leading our small group for over 3 years now and some of the same people are still a part of that community. In that amount of time we have gone through people scattering to different churches, people moving, having anywhere from as small as 6 people to as large as 18. We have had incredibly difficult conversations, questioned if we should continue and, at the same time, these are some of the most meaningful relationships we’ve ever had.
The group has not looked the way we expected it to and it has not always been easy. I have spent too much of my life trying to find “the right people” when they have been right in front of me all along.
I believe we have stuck together because we all love Jesus, we are all committed to each other and we have been honest with each other through difficult conversations.
There are two huge benefits to being a part of this group:
- When you share something difficult with the group, someone is bound to ask good questions and help you process what is really going on. We are in this with each other and you will never sit alone in your shit. People will be there for you.
- You will see different parts of Jesus through each individual. I’ve seen a passionate spirit of worship, the spirit moving in prayer, genuine love for others, intimacy with Jesus, wisdom, understanding theology, faithfulness, true vulnerability and so much more.
Through sharing in our brokenness, we have seen the real love of Jesus. We’ve worshipped together, broke bread together, prayed together, cried together, been angry with each other, questioned theology together, laughed together, supported struggling couples and most importantly truly shared life together.
All that said, if you are interested in joining a group please contact Rob or Beth for more information. Also, we are in need of people stepping up and leading groups (due to the size of our groups), so if you are interested in leading also contact these lovely people. They can be reached at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, and you can find additional information about our current groups under the life together section of Immanuel’s website.