Why Community Matters in the Life of Christians
“It is possible to be close to people physically and miles away from them spiritually.” – Warren Wiesbe
The scenery of my community has changed this year. I remember saying goodbyes at the airport. Our entire family was there. My children hugged their grandparents and the tears just flowed down all of the adults’ cheeks. The kids were excited about the next big adventure – riding an airplane. In the depths of everyone’s heart we knew this would change everything for everyone.
When God called my husband and I to the mission field He called my parents and my husband’s parents to let go as well. We are thankful we both come from Christian families who let us go with grace and blessings. But the goodbyes stung (still are hard) and suddenly in January of 2020 our entire community shifted.
As I write this my family and I have lived in a foreign country for almost two years. No one predicted the year 2020 would be so, well, horrible. Little did we know the upheaval our lives would feel when we packed our stuff and moved to Honduras in January of 2020. The climate, the culture, and our community suddenly changed. We struggled to figure out the smallest of things, but even the bigger things like church and communication were a struggle. We didn’t know how to order food or tell our neighbors about the gospel. Our world turned upside down and I’ll never forget the first year we lived in Honduras.
More than anything I missed my church family. There were people back in West Virginia we had known for twenty years. Some of those sweet people we attended church with knew me when I was born. I grew up in church in front of many of them. My husband and I met and married in the same church we were sent out from. Our home church was more than just friends. They were family. And we missed them.
Because of COVID we sat in our living room for seven months and watched church on the T.V. Our children didn’t get to learn about God through pictures and songs. After a few weeks, we felt the ache of it all. Although the church was filled with a language we were struggling to understand, and people we didn’t really know, we missed it. Even though language and culture separated us from the people in our church, we were still the same.
Our church in Honduras was filled with believers and there is a bond with other believers we cannot explain. After three months I told my husband I ached to be in church again. It felt so strange to not enter the building and lift up our voices in praise to God, even if it was in Spanish. I missed the smiles, the handshakes, and the common knowledge we all served the same God. Community matters in the life of Christians. Community can help give us a settled peace.
Jesus surrounded Himself with community, but He was never distracted from His life’s aim. He never served in isolation. He was constantly ministering with the disciples right there beside Him. Just as Jesus surrounded Himself with community, we too are called to community and our life’s aim is to share the gospel. Understanding our unity in Christ changes our life together, our prayer life, and gives us courage in our relationships with each other to feel at home with the community that reflects Christ to us.
Am I saying if we surround ourselves with believers we will never get hurt? No. In fact, we probably will have our feelings hurt and even be hurt in deep ways. In today’s week we are going to the community differently. Let’s remember that isolation is never the answer, and in the end God has called us to this holy work of working together.