Belonging in Community: Why it Matters

The Importance of Community
Whether you've been attending church your whole life and it's a habit for you, or you've just started coming to church, we all come together as one body in Jesus. We each have our own stories and experiences, but when we gather as a community, there are things that God can do in us that cannot happen when we're alone. So, let's dive into why belonging to a community is so important.

Community as a Spiritual Discipline
Community is not just a social gathering, it's a spiritual discipline. Richard Foster, in his book "Celebration of Disciplines," defines spiritual disciplines as the means that God uses to transform our hearts, minds, and souls. When we engage in these disciplines, we are placing ourselves before God to have an interactive relationship with Him. Community is a corporate discipline, one that can only be done in the context of others. It includes practices such as confession, worship, celebration, and guidance. These disciplines allow us to experience the power of God's love and bring transformation to our lives. By belonging to a community, we can openly confess our needs, receive support, and grow together in our faith.

The Need for Community
Loneliness and isolation have become an epidemic in our society. The US Surgeon General even released a report on the negative impacts of loneliness and isolation on both individual and societal health. We were created to be in community with others. In the book of Genesis, it is said, "It is not good for man to be alone." We are designed to connect with others, to live in relationship with one another. No matter how successful or unsuccessful, how spiritual or sinful, we all need to belong. We need the support, love, and encouragement that comes from being part of a community.

The Messiness of Community

Community is not always easy. It can be messy and complicated. We all have our flaws and imperfections, but that's the beauty of community. We come together as a fellowship of sinners, recognizing that we are all in need of God's grace and transformation. When we approach community with humility and vulnerability, we create a space where healing and growth can happen. It's not about being perfect, it's about showing up, being present, and learning together. We can't outgrow our need for community, no matter how successful or mature we become. Life is hard, and going through it alone is even harder. When we walk through life together, we have each other to have a hand to hold, support, and love along the way.

Show Up and Keep Showing Up
If you're new to Mercy, I encourage you to keep showing up. Even if attending church has been a struggle for you, there is something powerful in the persistence of showing up. God meets us in these moments, and we can experience His presence and love. For those who have been part of a community for a long time, it may be worth asking God where else He may be calling you to show up. Reflect on whether there are other areas or communities where you can be involved and make an impact.

Belonging to a community is not just about attending Sunday services or participating in activities. It's about being part of a group of imperfect people who are on a journey of faith together. It's about the transformation that happens when we gather, worship, pray, and support one another. So, let us embrace the messiness of community and continue to show up, knowing that God is at work in us and through us.

In conclusion, belonging to a community is a spiritual discipline that allows us to experience the transforming power of God's love. It is a reminder that we are not alone in our struggles and that we are all in need of God's grace. Community provides us with support, encouragement, and a place to grow in our faith. It may not always be easy, but it is worth it. So, let us continue to show up, keep showing up, and embrace the messiness of community.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog. I hope it has encouraged you to value and prioritize belonging to a community. Remember, we are better together.

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