by Kim McCullough
I have to confess that I struggle with consistent biblical community in my life. My participation in community looks more like little spurts rather than a lifestyle of “doing life together” with other believers. There are many months where community is of highest importance in my life. These are times that I am intentional about having weekly, if not daily, gospel-centered conversations with other believers whom I know will stir my affections for Christ and hold me accountable to godliness. And there are other times where life just gets busy and community keeps getting pushed to next week over and over again and eventually becomes less of a priority in my life than it ought to be.
One of my favorite authors and speakers, Paul David Tripp, says that sin, in its very DNA, is “anti-social.” Because God designed us to be relational beings, our sin nature, which is always rebelling against how God designed us, will cause us to avoid and often times run from healthy relationships. Paul Tripp explains this by saying that you are carrying something within yourself that seeks to destroy your relationships. Satan wants you isolated and alone.
Therefore, we, as followers of Christ, have no choice but to be pro-active in pursuing community. If we are not, Satan will begin to make this a stumbling block in our lives. For me, that most often looks like this: when I begin to do life all by myself, I quickly become anxious and frustrated. I feel like I’m simply going through the motions of my faith and I wonder why God seems so silent. There is a direct relationship to my anxiety level and the amount of biblical community in my life. Fortunately, the flip side of that is that when I am intentional about spending time with people who truly love the Lord and talk about it with each other, I find reason to celebrate. They remind me of how amazing God is and how blessed we are for his grace on our lives. My time with the Lord becomes richer, my worship becomes more genuine, and my yearning to learn deepens.
You may be thinking right now that when you get together with other Christians on campus, they don’t talk about God or the gospel, they don’t pray together and really they don’t look all that different from a group of friends who are not believers. Well, let me challenge you on this. I do not believe that God has placed you in your current community for you to decide that they are not worth it and that you should go find community somewhere else. Building the Body of Christ takes time, it takes prayer, and it starts with you. If all you bring to your community is a judgmental heart then you are hindering their ability to be united and to grow in this area. If you are so seriously concerned and maybe even passionate about having biblical community that it merely drives you to be negative about how your current community does not add up, then your attitude is merely self-serving and consumeristic. I want to challenge you stick it out for the semester. Join a community group in the Gathering and prayerfully push your group to become the body of Christ that God desires them to be.
We love you and are praying for you as you begin to grow in this area of your life in Christ. We pray that the community of the Gathering will be strengthened in order to bring glory to God on your campus. We also pray that the Lord will use your community to draw you closer to him and to change you into his likeness. God is faithful and will complete the good work he started in you.