A Missional Community
Then the Lord said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make a helper fit for him.” When God was creating mankind – the creation that was to reflect His image – He made Adam. But there needed to be more. There needed to be relationship and so he made Eve.
God himself is Father, Son and Holy Spirit; the picture of perfect relationship. The triune God is wholly unified, perfect in love, giving and receiving freely with each self offered to the other in perfect submission. This shows us how to live out God’s greatest commandment: Love Him. Love others.
Community life can be a challenge for many. Culture tells us that to be an adult is to be independent. Look out for yourself. Enter into relationships for what you can get out of them. Go to a church that serves your needs. Love those that make you feel good. But that’s not what God teaches. Jesus came not to be served but to serve. He chose to live with and disciple twelve men, who weren’t always that pleasant to be around. Their faith was small, they complained often and, after three years, some still couldn’t believe that he was the Christ. And even as he faced death they denied having any relationship with him. But still Jesus loved them unconditionally.
In the last 6 years that I’ve been with YWAM Wollongong, community life has had its ups and downs. I’ve gone through some of the hardest times of my life and some of the best. When there was crisis in my family, and past hurts were exposed, I had to go through a process of healing. God used this community to express his love, comfort and nearness. People came around me when I was weak and prayed with me when I was hurting. They cried with me, encouraged me, and sometimes they just listened. This kind of love is what saved me from following the world’s wisdom on how to process pain and set me free from the past and enabled me to move forward.
Community life puts people around you who think differently than you do; they have different perspectives, life experiences, personalities and gifts. You glean from them, learn from them and are challenged by them. You learn to love in a way you never thought possible! You realise you can connect with people who are so different from yourself, who don’t have the same personality or opinions as you. You learn there are many ways to worship God and express his character. In fact, I think you don’t choose your friends at all. God does. I have experienced some of the best times of my life in community and I continue to see God’s joy, love for celebration and life through those around me.
He brings people into this community for different lengths of time and some friendships are only for a season. However, though some seasons are shorter than others, and the goodbyes never get any easier, the people God brings into our lives are always worth investing in. I’ve learnt that it’s our relationships that make life rich, and as Winnie the Pooh said. “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
Community is a place of refinement; it enables us to see God through so many different lenses and get a taste of the diversity of God and his kingdom. If we all truly reflect the image of God, yet we express ourselves in such unique ways, God must be so much bigger and more amazing than we have ever imagined! He breaks down the boxes we try and put him in and the religious ideas we hold. It is God who helps us see that this life, has always been, and will continue to be, about relationship.