For many years, I didn’t attend church. “Too busy”, “not part of the community”, “couldn’t find the right ‘fit’” were just some of the reasons (excuses). I told myself I didn’t need a church. God is everywhere, right? So, why do I need to plug into a church community when I can worship and serve on my own?
How important is it to belong to a faith community, not just to attend church on Sunday mornings, but to serve and study with others?
As I reflected on these questions, Acts 2:42-47 kept coming to mind.
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They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. (Acts 2:42,45)
We’re meant to live our faith within a community of believers. Meant to have that “base camp” where we learn and grow our faith, where we develop a community and network of support and encouragement, where we worship together, and where we learn to follow Jesus’ model for service.
Faith is best lived out in community to…
Grow our faith
We need to be ready to share the faith we have when we go out. The church community is a place to grow and develop that faith, deepening our roots so we’re strong enough to withstand the trials our faith will endure. We need to be well-grounded in scripture so we better understand how God is calling us to live our faith and how He wants each of us to impact the world.
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15)
Welcome and grow other believers
It’s great to go out in mission and share the good news of Jesus, but those new believers need a place to further develop their understanding of faith. The church community should be a place of love and encouragement, worshipping together and helping each other take next steps in our faith.
So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:22-25 MSG)
Serve as a “base camp” for others going out in mission
Going out in service – whether locally or abroad – requires support. Those serving need our financial support, our prayers, maybe our time to help them prepare, or other resources. They need to know they have a “base camp” of supporters cheering them on and welcoming them home. The church community also serves as a training ground to practice service and sharing your faith.
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. (Colossians 4:2-6)
How have you devoted yourself to growing faith through community? How are you helping build a strong base camp for mission and outreach that impacts the world for Christ?
Find a local church community (if you don’t have one already) and get involved! Serving within your church is important, too, to help grow the community of believers and prepare others to go out in service and mission.
Do more than just attend church service on Sundays:
- Join a Bible study or life group to grow your faith and get connected to the community.
- Find a ministry within the church where you can serve. Volunteer for something even once a month. (Summer is a great time to ‘test the waters.’ Offer to fill in while regular volunteers are on vacation.)
- Support missions teams with your prayers and financial donations.
- Get involved in local outreach opportunities and serve together with your faith community.
- Invite a friend to come with you.
These are great ideas you give at the end for community-building that goes beyond church on Sunday. I’ve found that participating in a smaller, middle-of-the-week meeting helps me so much to feel more a part of God’s body. Summer IS a great time to try involvement on new levels! #RaRaLinkup
Thanks, Betsy! Church becomes family when we get involved and then everything seems to be more meaningful. Small groups are definitely one of the best ways I’ve found to plug in and become part of the community.
Mary Geisen says
Great ideas, Kathryn! I had a period of time that I was not going to church regularly which felt very weird because I grew up going to church regularly. I was in between churches at that time but realized how lost I felt without the comma city of believers around me. Now I can’t imagine not going to church especially after getting more involved. Hope your week is outstanding.
I think it’s the difference of ‘belonging’ to the community – once I plugged in and got involved, I couldn’t imagine not being there. I hate missing church on Sundays – feels like I’m missing spending time with the other part of my family.
Mary Geisen says
Oh my! My auto correct really doesn’t know what it is doing. It should say Community of believers. Glad you picked up on that!
This is a great post. I have found some of this hard when we travel a lot, but still so important! Found you at the #coffeeandconversation link up!