Last weekend I attended a youth conference where the message centered around “Gospel-Centered Community”. The main verse from the weekend came from Acts 2:42 – “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”
As I sat through the sermons and talked with my girls, I praised God for having had the privilege of leading this young group of Jesus-loving women over the past 3 years. They are in Biblical community, whether they know it or not, and I have not just had the chance to teach them – I’ve been taught by them also. I have learned so much from their little community: kindness, encouragement, conflict resolution, and deep care.
This morning, on my way to work, I was listening to a new EP put out by a couple of friends of mine that I know through college/church. I’m almost certain that the vision of this EP was born out of Biblical community – just a couple of musically inclined guys, living together, who love the Lord enough to write incredible music honoring Him. I thought about these guys, and the friendship I had witnessed between them over the last few years, and then I thought about the women I have lived with in the past and how different I felt it was.
I may be far off in this, but the thought crossed my mind that I have rarely seen Biblical community in female rooming situations done well. Maybe it’s a lack of exposure on my part, but I was saddened thinking about all of the stories I’ve heard of girls living together but not in Biblical community – women desiring depth and closeness and feeling completely discouraged. I know for myself that was a result of pettiness. I took things too personally, was too insecure to pursue depth, and didn’t want to be too pushy in seeking out the type of community I desired. It was once offered to me, and out of a desire for comfort, I chose another option.
I know this isn’t just a female problem (although I believe it might be more prevalent among us) and that the men I’m speaking of aren’t the norm. But, when I think of how beautiful it could be if, while single, we lived intentionally with others and spurred one another along in Biblical community, I wonder why it doesn’t happen more. I feel like it would set us up for healthier marriages and make the lonely times feel less lonely.
“When Christ saved us, He saved us into community not isolation.” This is the message that resonated with me the most from this past weekend. We have a family – as believers we all have something in common – and we should love that family and get to know them. We should join together as a family of believers, break bread and worship our loving Father – the one who brought us together. We should step out of our comfort zones and stand for what really matters in this life. We need to live for the eternal, with our eternal brothers and sisters.