The Power Of Community
A Stronger Faith - Reflections
The Power Of Community
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
Galatians 6:2 NIV
Human beings are social creatures. That means we rely on cooperation to survive and thrive. This is not a new idea, but perhaps it has recently been more relevant as we have spent a considerable amount of time over the past year in more isolation than we would like.
The Center for Disease Control’s website details a report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) that points out more than one-third of adults aged 45 and older feel lonely, and nearly one-fourth of adults aged 65 and older are considered to be socially isolated.
This is important because social isolation significantly increases a person's risk of premature death from all causes, a risk that may rival those of smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity. Unsurprisingly, loneliness was associated with higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide.
Additionally, it is impossible to reach our potential in our faith journeys on our own, or without a good community surrounding us. Since the beginning of Christianity, our faith has been about communities. There are many reasons for that, but perhaps the most obvious one is that Jesus tells us that we will have a different experience of God with others than we would experience alone.
“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
Matthew 18:20 NIV
We know that we rely on our friends, family, and community to model behavior for us. This is why, for those of us who are parents, it is a vital concern who our children’s friends are. Scripture tells us not to be deceived, “bad company corrupts good character”. It is not going too far to say that “we become who we associate with”.
In our most recent podcast with Keke Prewitt, he repeatedly discusses the blessings he experiences in his life, and the growth in his faith that resulted from surrounding himself with a faith community that both encourages him, and holds him accountable. Community can not only model behavior for us, but it can admonish us when (not if) we get off track.
Many times, in our faith journey, it is our community that keeps us on track or spurs us towards growth. In short, we need others. We need help. We need encouragement. This is true for our physical and spiritual well being.
This is reiterated through the wisdom of Solomon in the Book of Ecclesiastes.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NIV
We need community. This is a time tested spiritual truth. So our prayer for all of us today is that if we want to live the kind of magnetic Christianity that is on display in Keke and so many others, we would find, and lean into our communities!
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
Hebrews 10:24-25 NIV