Community Matters: The Importance of LifeGroups
One of my favorite questions that I’ve heard over the past few weeks has been “When do LifeGroups start back up?” I love this because it shows the love that the people of Grace Life have for one another, the desire to step into deep community and to both encourage and be encouraged by the family into which God has brought us. This week resumes that practice of gathering together outside of Sunday morning, perhaps sharing a meal, and definitely sharing what Christ is doing in our lives and the struggles that come in facing this fallen world. So, as we get back into the weekly routine of LifeGroups, I want to remind you of why community matters and encourage those of you who maybe have not been a part of a LifeGroup lately (or ever!) to join in.
Gospel community matters because we are designed to do life together.
Genesis 2:18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”
From creation, man was never meant to be alone. Adam had all of creation to name, and communion with God, and yet God says that it is not good for him to be by himself. The directives that come to Adam and Eve as well as Noah after the flood are to populate the earth with more human beings. Humans need other humans! And Christians need other Christians, which why the writer of Hebrews says this:
Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
To neglect to be with God’s people is a loss not only of how you might be encouraged and stirred up to love and good works, but also that you miss the opportunity to do that for others. This is one of the basic functions of the church.
Gospel community matters because we need to be reminded of the Gospel.
1 Peter 1:22-23 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God.
The family of God we enter is connected solely through the Gospel message of salvation through Jesus Christ. Who else can you talk to about such spiritual things if not spiritual people? The world seeks to confuse us, to ridicule us, or perhaps to leave us to our own “foolish” devices. But the community of fellow believers shares the perspective of seeing the truth about our world and how it works. God’s people are not exempt from struggles, and in those difficult times, the church reminds us of God’s ever-present help in those times. We get to share the reminder of God’s promise of new mercies every morning, of no condemnation for we who are in Christ, that God is working everything out for our good and His glory.
Gospel community matters because we need a place to confess and repent of our sins.
Galatians 6:1-4 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor.
We are not perfect people. We mess up. We do harm to others, whether intentionally or unintentionally. And we need to have a place where we can seek forgiveness without judgment. The beauty of being saved by Christ means that another who is also saved has seen their own deep faults and can offer forgiveness in light of that.
But the other side of the coin is that we have to be willing to forgive others in our faith tribe as well. We have to take stock in the great sin that seeks to destroy us and realize just how good Jesus is in forgiving all of those thoughts and actions known only to God. And from that realization, there is no offense to great that man can put on us that we cannot forgive, and to do so in a spirit of gentleness.
Gospel community matters because God calls us to be there for each other.
Colossians 3:12-15 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
This is not a suggestion, or just a good idea. We as the church are called locally to a people gathered together because of what Christ has done in our lives, and the picture of how we treat one another is found in the way in which we strive to love each other as Christ has loved us. This doesn’t mean that we will connect deeply with every single person, but it does remind us that whether we know a fellow believer a little or a lot, our posture should always be one of compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, forgiveness, and love.
If you feel alone, if this type of community is tugging at your heart, if the Spirit is calling out your fear of being known which is causing you to miss out on the joy of being loved, join a LifeGroup. The imperfect people of God come together in a way that no other community can. You can find more information about LifeGroups by clicking here.
Love in Christ,