Community is an essential aspect of the Christian faith. The Bible teaches us that we were created for a relationship – with God and with others. Fellowship, or community, is a crucial part of this relationship. In this article, we will explore the importance of community in the Christian faith and how we can find support in fellowship.
The Biblical Foundation of Community
In the Bible, we see the importance of community from the very beginning. God created Adam, and then He created Eve to be his companion and helpmate. In the New Testament, we see that Jesus called disciples to follow Him and to do life together. In Acts 2:42-47, we see the early church as a community of believers who devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayer. Hebrews 10:24-25 reminds us to not neglect meeting together, as some do, but to encourage one another, especially as we see the day of Christ’s return approaching.
Community plays a crucial role in spiritual growth. The Bible encourages us to bear one another’s burdens and to confess our sins to one another (Galatians 6:2, James 5:16). Community provides a space for us to share our struggles and receive support and encouragement from others.
Benefits of Community
Emotional Support: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 reminds us that 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. Also, if two lie down, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. In a community, we find emotional support and encouragement in our struggles.
Accountability: James 5:16 tells us to confess our sins to one another and to pray for one another so that we may be healed. Proverbs 27:17 reminds us that iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. The community provides accountability for our actions and helps us grow in our faith.
Encouragement: 1 Thessalonians 5:11 reminds us to encourage one another and to build each other up. Hebrews 3:13 also encourages us to encourage one another daily, so that we may not be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. In the community, we find people who can encourage us and lift us up when we are down.
Discipleship: Matthew 28:19-20 tells us to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything Jesus commanded. Titus 2:3-5 also reminds us that older women should teach younger women, and older men should teach younger men, so that they may be trained in righteousness. The community provides a space for discipleship and for growing in our faith.
The Importance of Active Participation in Community
Isolation is dangerous for our faith. Proverbs 18:1 tells us that whoever isolates themselves seeks their own desire; they break out against all sound judgment. Active participation in a community leads to spiritual growth. Colossians 3:16 tells us to let the word of Christ dwell in us richly as we teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as we sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in our hearts to God. Ephesians 4:15-16 also reminds us that as we speak the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ. From Him, the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
To actively participate in the community, we can attend church, join small groups, and serve in different ministries. In these settings, we can build relationships with others, grow in our faith, and find support in our struggles.
Overcoming Challenges in Community
Conflict is inevitable in any community, and it’s important to know how to handle it. Matthew 18:15-17 provides a guide for conflict resolution within the church. The steps include talking to the person one-on-one, bringing witnesses if needed, and involving the church leadership if the issue is still not resolved.
Another challenge in a community is feeling like we don’t fit in or belong. 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 reminds us that we are all part of the body of Christ, and each part has a unique function. Even if we don’t feel like we fit in with a particular group, we are still valuable and have a purpose in the larger community.
In conclusion, the power of community cannot be overstated in the Christian faith. It provides us with emotional support, accountability, encouragement, and opportunities for discipleship. Active participation in the community is crucial for our spiritual growth, and overcoming challenges within the community requires following biblical principles for conflict resolution. May we all find and participate in supportive and thriving communities that help us grow in our faith and serve as a reflection of the love and unity of Christ.