4 Ways to Invest Into Your Community
“High, Low, Grateful” is one of my absolute favorite games. It’s simple in its nature: all you do is go around in a circle and say something that was a “high” for you, a “low” for you, and then something that you are grateful for that happened in the past week or day. I played it with my small group all throughout high school, I force my friends to play when I sit down with them for a meal, and still do to this day, my family plays it around the dinner table when we eat together. For me, it is a small window into the lives of those around me. I enjoy knowing how the people in my life are doing. Sometimes when we play, everyone has had a great week––good grades on tests, finally that boy made a move, getting to watch the sunrise, etc.––other times, it’s difficult––failed tests, feeling alone, it’s been a hard week. My house church played this game just the other week, and I do not think we have ever had a more candid, genuine gathering as we shared what has truly been on our hearts. We had been gathering together for a few months, but it was in those moments of honesty and transparency that our group transformed into a community.
The older I get, the more I realize how crucial and important it is to build a strong community. I am also beginning to see that it becomes more challenging, especially as you are trying to navigate college life and young adulthood. From what I have seen and experienced, it seems that when moments we need community the most, we tend to withdraw ourselves from it. Ever felt that way? Knowing you need something, but do the exact opposite. I know I sure do. Often, I feel that I would do better on my own than with the support of others. I don’t like to inconvenience people so, sometimes I let myself believe that if I just keep something to myself I will be helping myself. However, the issue with that mindset is that when I shut myself out of community with other people, I also shut myself out of community with God. As creation, we were designed to be in community with one another; to support and encourage one another; to walk together in our journey’s with the LORD:
“For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our LORD Jesus Christ, who died for us that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing”
(1 Thessalonians 5: 9-11 ESV)
So, if you’re looking to invest deeper into community and wish to experience more meaningful, genuine fellowship, here are some ideas for how to do that :
1. Gather Together: When we gather together in the name of the LORD, He is always with us. As humans, we were designed to be in fellowship and community with one another. Our relationship with Him does not have to be strictly one-on-one, rather we are encouraged to be in fellowship with one another.
“Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For, where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them” (Matthew 18:18-20 ESV).
2. Check In on One Another: This can be as simple as asking someone how their day or week has been. Making a point to ask someone where they are at in school, in life, and with God, and then actually wanting to hear the answer can be more impactful than you think. Practice checking in on one another so, you know where to meet your community and how to love one another better.
“May the LORD cause you to increase and overflow with love for one another” (1 Thessalonians 3:12 ESV)
3. Pray Together and for One Another: I think it is clear that prayer is powerful. This is how Jesus spoke with his Father and it is how we communicate with our Father. Being prayerful together is important. This can look like a number of things: praying over one another, giving prayer requests, leading a group in Lectio Divina, etc. There is no one way to do it, but praying together is powerful. It draws us closer to each other and in communion with the LORD.
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (James 5:16 ESV)
4. Walk With One Another: Jesus has given us the clearest picture of community with his disciples. This image of walking together (literally), but also coming up beside each other in their journey with the LORD is just beautiful. We should build each other up and support one another as we navigate life and our relationships with God.
“‘If I then, your LORD and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For, I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.’” (John 13:14-15 ESV).
Sarah // @itssarahcullen