• Tyler Barnes

Why do you Church? Community

by Tyler Barnes

We were built for community. In Genesis 2, “the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone…’” So he created women, which led to families, communities, and the eventual spread of people all over the planet. We were designed to be relational, a people who desired to have a relationship with God and others. Church should be the most relational place you go, but for many of us our most surface level interactions are at church. Maybe it’s the fear of judgement, or the belief we must be perfect. Maybe we only want a surface level relationship with our creator, I don’t know, but I do know church was meant to be so much more. Our society favors ideas such as: being independent, using people to get what we want, seeing people as our competitors, and judging people by their exterior. For these vary reasons and others, we have superficial relationships, yet we wonder why we are lonely, why life is so hard, and why we feel like we don’t know who we are. It is a basic human need to know people and be known by people. This requires deliberate, intentional, personal, deep relationships. Jesus understood this basic need and that his church would multiply through these very relationships. Jesus spent nearly all his time with twelve men, his disciples. Discipleship happens when we allow others to get close enough that they can see Christ in action in our lives. That kind of relationship takes time, effort, sweat, and tears. It is a deeper level that goes beyond seeing someone on Sunday morning or Wednesday night. It’s getting in the trenches and doing life side-by-side day in and day out. Think about the disciples, they walked everywhere together, ate each meal together, prayed together, worshiped together, and learned together. They knew each other’s secrets, fears, hopes, dreams, annoying habits, and best qualities. They were intimately familiar with the idiosyncrasies of their fellow disciples. This kind of relational living is messy, I get it. But we see the early church in Acts live this out and the supernatural results that followed because they were willing to get in to each other’s mess:

  • And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. Acts 2:46-47

  • Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. Acts 4:32

The beautiful thing about knowing someone in this way is that it earns you the right to be heard, which allows you to speak life into them. It makes you a better man or woman, and it makes them better. It gives each of the opportunity to be the wall and protect our faith family. It allows us to stand in the gap for our brothers and sisters. To pray for one another and encourage each other. Scripture is clear:

  • Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17

  • Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

  • For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them. Matthew 18:20

You were never meant to do this life on your own, so stop trying!

Here are five ways to jump into community:

  • Join a small group. Allow yourself to be disciple.

  • Ask, someone of the same sex to coffee. This is an easy way to know someone on a deeper level.

  • Ask a family from church to join you for dinner. The breaking of bread was important in the early church

  • Ask two people to be your accountability partners. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.

  • Find one person to mentor you, and one person for you to mentor. Iron sharpens iron.