creating community

Our mission as a church family is clear: To help one another experience Christ’s transforming love so that we can love Him, ourselves, our families, our church and our world. While we may wholeheartedly agree with this vision and have a genuine desire for more of this kind of transformation in our lives, it can be very easy to overlook some of the key elements that the Holy Spirit uses to bring about this kind of life change.

The diagram we often refer to is called “The Transformational Triangle.” It shows how the Holy Spirit uses three elements of our lives (life challenges, our relationships, and the truth of His Word) to bring about spiritual growth—transformation. Most of us would agree that, from our perspective, we have more than enough trials in our lives, and that we have been taught more truth than we know how to regularly apply. But for many of us, the area of growing and experiencing transformation through relationships is probably the most untapped portion of the triangle.

From the very beginning God plainly laid out the facts to us: It is not good for man to be alone, and we are not created to live in isolation. (Genesis 2:18) Even with some level of awareness of that truth and/or need, creating community in our personal lives and in our church family is not an easy or automatic thing. Living in our busy culture, many of us can almost subconsciously find ourselves living with this unspoken goal: “Avoid people at all cost.” And it has cost some of us dearly. I know that I have found myself, at different times, paying far too high a price for a lack of community in my life. It’s not that we dislike the people around us—it’s just that we don’t think we have time for them. My prayer is that over the next several months, the Holy Spirit will begin to show you areas of your life in which He wants to bring growth and meaningful connection to you through relationships.

I really love our Sunday morning gatherings and hope that you do as well. The opportunities we have for the presence and love of Jesus to pour in and through us in those corporate settings are vital. As helpful as those gatherings are, I am also aware of the fact that, of the over 50 “one another” statements in the New Testament, the majority of them are most effectively practiced within smaller groups. These “one another” statements are in the Bible to give us a clear picture of how each member of the family of God has been designed to live his or her life in relationship to one another and the world around us. It’s for this reason that I think the early church met together both in the temple and from house to house. (Acts 2:46)

This August 30–October 4, our teaching team will be taking us on a 6-week journey through the topic of creating community. My desire for this series is that it will be insightful, convicting, inspiring, and practical. I have no desire to put an added burden on our church family, but I believe that as each of us begins to see with greater clarity the value of community, we will move from the tendency to avoid it to intentionally pursuing it. My desire is that each of us would find a circle of relationships within our church family where “everyone knows our name” and which will help stimulate spiritual growth in our lives over time.

I know it will take creativity for some of us to make room to experience the benefits of this in our everyday lives. That is why this fall we will be offering community group experiences that run for 8-10 weeks. On Sunday, October 4, we’ll cap off our teaching series on community with a Groups Fair, where we’ll be able to meet group leaders, explore the variety of group topics available, and sign up for one of the groups (Anna and I are now making adjustments in our calendars so that we can sign up for a fall group). Afterwards, we’ll all enjoy a great time of fun & fellowship together at a Church Family Picnic down by the pond. Please mark this date on your calendar and watch for more details in the September EGC Monthly.

This summer begin to ask the Lord which areas of your life could use a jump-start and some real growth. This fall we hope to help you make some meaningful connections, as together we continue to “help one another…”