Building Community

Read: “Therefore encourage and comfort one another and build up one another, just as you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (AMP)

Reflect: My typical response to stress is withdrawal. I’m an introvert who needs to refuel with quiet time; during stressful seasons I need more solitude. But it’s also because I struggle with allowing others to help me carry my burdens. God has been working on this in me for a while, inviting me to reach out to my community when I need support—which meant that I needed to be intentional about building my community. So about 5 years ago my spouse and I started a new couples’ growth group that is still together. Our group has grown, new couples have come and others have gone but it’s mostly the same people who’ve grown from group members to framily (friends who feel like family).

Last year, when our world crashed around us with the arrest of one of our adult children, my tendency was to pull in, protect, and isolate. But as it turned out, our group started up again on the same night that we had our first visit at the county jail; we went straight from the jail to our group. We shared what was going on and were instantly surrounded with love, support, prayers, and hugs. This comfort and encouragement continued as we navigated a painful season.

This weekend, we learned that following Jesus involves belonging, not just believing. God has taught me so much about his love and care through the love, encouragement and comfort shared in our community.

React: What’s your next step in creating your community? Maybe you need to join a growth group (there’s still one more week to sign up) or maybe you need to reach out to friends when things are tough. Ask God to help you be intentional in your relationships so they can grow.

Pray: God, you created us to be in relationship with you and one another. Help us to love each other in a way that reflects your love.