“Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.” – Colossians 3:16.
There is a big difference between what we want and what we need in every aspect of life. For example, we all want friends that agree with us, share the same interests, and make us feel good. But what we need are friends that celebrate our victories, mourn our losses, and walk with us spiritually. Friends like that are not a luxury, they are a necessity. We need them because they support and motivate us to run the race that God has set before us.
God created community as a support system that helps us make and keep Christ as our first priority, protect and encourage us. People are there to fight for us…in person, on the phone, and through prayer, in good times, and in bad times.
Maybe you are one of those people who see the value of community but don’t get involved. You have your family. You go to church. You read your Bible. And you have Christian friends that you can“hang out with” should the need arise. Those are all good things, but eventually, you will need a deep, God-centered community around you when a relationship goes sour, you are going through spiritual doubt, or when health issues sap your resolve. We need people to pray for us when we find it difficult to pray. We need people to listen to us and encourage us when we are in the valley and celebrate with us when we are on the mountaintop. We need people to pick us up when we are down.
Maybe it is time to rethink joining a small group. One of the core values of Northstar is to foster community with others. Community is more than just people getting to know each other and spending time together. We believe that community is – as described in Hebrews 10:24 – a group of people who “… motivate one another to acts of love and good works.” We join up with others in community because we need intimate relationships: discussion that goes deep, friendships that reach beyond the surface, and support that can help us navigate through troubled waters.
Small groups provide a valuable opportunity to connect with other believers outside the Sunday morning worship. But extending our Sunday-morning relationships beyond our time together on Sunday morning and outside the walls of our buildings. Small groups have the potential to be a springboard for even deeper relationships. Smaller groups are a safe space for vulnerability, honesty, curiosity, support, encouragement, forgiveness, laughter, accountability, transformation, connection, and a whole host of other things that are not easy to do in a big crowd.
We all need this type of community. Maybe it is time to rethink the need to surround yourself with people that help you live life to the fullest.
- Why do we need other people to watch over us and speak into our lives?
- How might your life be different if you were a member of a small group?