Isolation is a problem in our culture.
Many of you who are a little (or maybe a lot) introverted may have begun to shrink away at my opening sentence. Do not fear! I am not going to ask you to stand on stage in front of a group of strangers and introduce yourself. But I do want to encourage all Christians, introvert or not, in the importance of spending time together during the week and not allowing your entire experience of church to be one that begins and ends on a Sunday morning.
The traditional Christian belief that we are unable to truly understand ourselves or achieve the potential that God has for us in isolation (1 Cor 12:13-31) begins with what we believe about God. Our God, unlike any other gods is unique in that he exists in community with other members of the God-head (Gen 1:26). The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit live with one another in perfect unbroken community and each of them empowers and enables the other members to achieve their designed role. For example, in Jesus’ earthly life and ministry, it was by the sovereign will of the Father that he came into human history, it was by his willing obedience to the Father that he came and did all he was called to do, and it was by the empowering of the Holy Spirit that he lived the perfect life he did.
Since, we humans are created in the image and likeness of God, we too are called to live in community with one another. This reality can be traced back to the beginning of time, because as we see in the creation narrative the only thing that wasn’t “good” in God’s original creation was that man was alone (Gen 2:18). So God in his grace provided for man, woman and they were given the mandate to create communities of people that would fill the earth (Gen 1:28).
On a broader, more recent level, throughout history we have seen again and again that individuals who achieved great heights in sports, science, politics, or business have very rarely, if ever, achieved them without the support, love, encouragement, and care of others around them.
Traditionally that support is found within the family unit exclusively, but one of the most transformational realities of the New Testament church to which we belong is the bond and closeness that Christians have with one another. This bond is so close that at risk of losing their own lives, Christians would refer to non-familial blood relatives as “brother” or “sister”(Justin Martyr, 1st Apology, Chapter 27). This is possible because, through the redeeming blood of Jesus, we are closer in commonality to our Church family in Christ, than our own blood relatives.
There are 59 passages in the New Testament alone that use the phrase “one-another” with a certain action attached to the command. In all truthfulness I could preach a sermon or write a post like this for each of the 59, but taking them as a whole shows us the priority of the early church regarding how they engaged with one another.
Reading the New Testament with this understanding in mind will free you to see the beauty and grace-filled messiness of life lived with other Christians. As you begin to experience life within the community of God’s people, it will be a full life filled with joy, sorrow, offense, forgiveness, and grace.
It is from this beautiful truth that Foundation Church encourages all of those who call this church home to experience this same reality. We emphasize this because in living life intentionally with each other, we grow to be more like God. He uses his Spirit in his people to shape us. He always has and always will.
Over the coming months you may begin to feel more of an emphasis on doing things together, and that is very intentional. Our church has multiple ways in which we do this, ranging from service opportunities to whole church events. But the primary way we live life together is through Community Groups.
Within a Community Group there is fellowship, friendship, care, counsel, Biblical study, and intentional discipleship. Groups can seem a little uncomfortable and awkward because they are filled with awkward and uncomfortable people just like you. But in them, there is beautiful life and love as the Spirit of God moves through his people to shape and mold us. Chances are, wherever you live, there is a group relatively close to your home.
Life together is much better and more enjoyable in the long run than life alone for the simple fact that God designed us to be not only in relationship with him, but also and indivisibly in relationship with his people.
God Bless you all,