Ok, sorry this post is a bit late. Today I want to talk about Christian Community and the importance of fellowship. I think everyone has probably been through a time where they were more distant in their relationship with Christ. For so many reasons we could list, but it doesn’t mean that God leaves us. I’ve grown up in a Christian home with Christian friends. I never went through a “rebellion” stage, but I lost focus for a while. We often draw close to God in times of struggle or in times where we are feeling very blessed and like things are fantastic…during those in between times it’s easy to just float along. Right now, I’m a little more in the 1st category. I’ve been blessed with a very sweet friend who has made a huge impact on my life. One who truly wants the best for me and when I share problems, listens and approaches my missteps in a very gentle and loving way. I am now going to 2 different Bible studies where I am seeing God work like I never have before. I’m surrounded and loved by these women in different stages of their lives but they all are pouring God’s love into me and it’s an amazing feeling. Previously, I have tried several different “young adult/singles” groups that just seem to have trouble sticking together (often because they end up getting married). It’s very hard to relate and feel included in their walk, and hard to explain my walk. It’s very hard to get back into when you’ve not been a part of it for a while because
- going on Sunday people don’t generally make an effort to get to know you,
- going into a new group Bible Study or Sunday school on your own is nerve wracking,
- the fear of being judged,
- the uncertainty if you will agree with the teachings there
I was blessed to find a friend that was already involved. If you don’t have one of those friends who is already involved, do you have a friend who would be willing to try and find a place with you, do you know enough people to start one of your own groups?
One of the Bible studies I’m going to is a women’s group with young mothers. While the age difference isn’t huge I don’t have the same points of reference and feel like I’m not able to contribute much. However, they are fantastic role models for me. What I love most is that they come and completely reveal themselves and their struggles. I see that I don’t have to be perfect, that it’s ok to struggle and that it’s important to share in order to ask for prayer, and guidance and accountability. It is very hard to bring those things up because it makes you extremely vulnerable and naturally have some fear of judgement. These women understand the line between accountability and judgement and they will tell you that the sin is a problem but they do not let it define their perception of you. They pray earnestly and whole heartedly no matter the circumstances and that feels incredible, usually brings me to tears.
The other Bible study I’m attending is one more geared to girls like me. Working, unmarried and trying to figure things out. We are using a study called “Unstuck”…and you know how God sometimes just puts things you need right in your face…BAM! there it is! So I love that I can talk to these girls and again just be completely open without fear. This group however shares in more of my personal struggles and my life experiences where I feel I can contribute some of my knowledge and understanding and also be understood on a different level. It’s extremely reassuring to be able to connect in each others’ walks of faith.
Lastly but not least, through these groups (since they’re run by the same organization) I have some very insightful mentor figures as well. I feel like in my life I’ve always had very strong mentors and this is no exception. It’s a little different now because I’m facing more adult-like struggles but to talk to someone who’s been there and helped others in similar situations and can just love you like a parent and want to guide you is so comforting. (Especially since all of those people who used to influence me like that are so far away now).
We need Christian fellowship and we need to have people in our lives that are in different stages their walks to pour into us. There are invaluable lessons from each group that enable me to feel God’s love in many ways and also see the bigger picture by putting all of them together. We are not meant to walk through this life and our struggles alone. I encourage you, if you have been like me to seek out some groups, find a place to fit.
Ephesians 4:2-6 “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond office. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called -one Lord, one faith, one baptism one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.