The Importance of Community
by Steph Beth Nickel
My hubby and I are going to Jasper, Alberta this summer. Dave has been dreaming for decades about showing me his favourite place in the world.
Because he wants to hike when we’re there, Dave feels the need to improve his cardio endurance. So, earlier this week, he decided to get a gym membership. Mine has been dormant for quite a while despite my best intentions, but this will get us there every other day. At least that’s the plan.
Many people are more motivated to work out if someone else is counting on them. Accountability is a very good thing. I happen to enjoy exercise but keep putting it off if I’m not answerable to anyone.
The benefits of accountability and community aren’t restricted to fitness endeavours.
Just this week at our staff prayer meeting (I work as administrator at our church), we discussed the importance of coming together to pray, worship, and fellowship.
For good reason, in Hebrews 10:24-25, God instructs, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together . . .” (ESV)
These are among my favourite verses in Scripture. They overflow with a sense of community and our role within that community. Each of us has something of value to offer. It’s significant that the Bible refers to believers in Jesus Christ as not only members of the same family but also parts of the same body. We really do need one another. In fact, each one is indispensable.
We are to encourage, build up, and keep one another accountable.
In fact, the Bible overflows with “one another” statements:
“Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honour” (Romans 12:10 ESV). What an amazing community we’d have if we obeyed these directives!
“Live in harmony with one another” (Romans 12:16 ESV). Harmony … such a sweet word!
“Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God” (Romans 15:7 ESV).
We can only obey these commands and the numerous other “one anothers” throughout the Scriptures in the context of community.
Worth the Risk
Granted, there are risks involved. We’ve all been hurt by others. And if we’re honest, we’ll admit we’ve hurt others as well.
If larger groups are too difficult to face, we can seek out at least one other person who will support us and keep us accountable. We may then want to become part of a small group. Our Growth Group has been a real blessing, a safe place to “do life” with one another. And being part of a local fellowship gives us lots of opportunities to come alongside one another, to minister using our unique gifts and abilities, and to fulfill God’s plans for us.
Do you have a support system? Do you offer support to others? Are you part of a Christian community?
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Stephanie (Steph Beth) Nickel is an award-winning co-author, a freelance editor and writer, a labour doula, and a former personal trainer. She also loves to speak, teach, and take slice-of-life photos. She would love to connect with you on Facebook or Twitter, on her website or blog.
Thank you, Stephanie! We were designed for community, and even though it can be a struggle, that’s where we’ll thrive. Hiking in Jasper sounds like a great experience. I’m glad you have that to look forward to this summer.
Forgot to answer your questions! What I love about the support systems I’m in (church, The Word Guild, InScribe, and other formal/informal groups) is that we receive and give support. It’s not a one-way thing. Christian community support has the added benefit of shared faith and prayer.