Discipleship & Community
I love summer. I really do. I think some of the best community has happened in the summers of our life. I know a lot of my best memories stem from my childhood summers out at the lake, the public pool, or running around the small neighborhoods of my dinky little hometown. Whether or not we like the heat or the humidity, we all have a certain optimism that summer will breathe a little life back into us after the icy grip of winter has finally thawed.
Summer during college though has a little different feel than our fond childhood memories. Really, it can have the opposite effect. We've spent all year diving into an amazing community that God has brought us into. This could be brand new community that we've never had or deepening the community we already had from previous semesters. And all of the sudden, BOOM! Finals are over (Praise Jesus!), and it's the middle of June before we realize it. Our summer work is in full swing, and it's been three weeks since we've had a meaningful conversation or hangout with anyone.
Community is vital to our health as a follower of Jesus. Summer can be terribly isolating if we aren't prepared for it. We have to be purposeful in seeking out community.
Jesus chose to be in community to accomplish His purpose:
Jesus was purposeful in seeking out the Twelve. He couldn't afford to wait on community to just spontaneously form all on its own. He went and found Peter and Andrew while they were fishing. He went and found James and John in a boat with their father mending their nets. He went and found Matthew working at the tax office. He went and found Philip, Nathanael, Thomas, Simon, Thaddeus, James, and Judas all in the middle of life and called them into deeper community. He didn't call them into just any community, He called them into discipleship with Himself. Jesus chose to be in community to accomplish His purpose: to save the world.
I think we often allow community to slip because we forget all that community was meant to be. Community was meant to not only keep us from getting bored and lonely but to draw into deeper relationship with God. God, shortly after creating the earth and everything in it, said in Genesis 2:18, "It is not good for man to be alone. I will make him a helper." It was God's plan from the very beginning for us to be in community and to become better than we ever could have alone. For this reason, we can't afford to under-value, under-think, or under-appreciate real community in the Body of Christ.
Why do something alone that you were create to do together?
So this final question remains: Why do something alone that you were create to do together? Discipleship is found in community even unintentionally and when we don't realize it. Being a disciple of Jesus requires close, authentic community with other believers in order to accomplish His purpose well. When you're in the trenches of life this summer, don't forget that you have a community of brothers and sisters to fight alongside of you. Choose to continue to allow the Holy Spirit to form you and transform you through real community.