Have you walked the Christian faith alone?
Psalm 133:1 - “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!”
Romans 12:4-5 - “Just as each of us has one body with many member, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body,
and each member belongs to all the others.”
We recently asked Tim Shao why it is important to live in community. We asked him what has he learned and how has he grown since attending our church.
Just about a year ago, I graduated from Cornell University, where I had been a part of the largest fellowship on campus. I lead a community group, disciple multiple younger guys, lead worship for two years, and was on the leadership team of the fellowship. But when I graduated and started work more than 10 months ago, all of that community was taken away and replaced with nothing. As I traveled the US with my company, I felt the pain of lacking true Christian community to share the burdens of life with.
When I moved to NJ in November, I came off of a span of 4 months living without any consistent, local Christian community. I knew that right away it was critical to get involved with a local church, and to not think too hard about it. Nowadays, driven by consumer-centric culture, we can go “church hopping” for months or even years before deciding on a church. In that time, we’ve missed out on relationships, withheld service to brothers and sisters in the church, and (for me) forgotten to tithe. I knew that I had to just find a Bible-preaching church and just throw myself in.
When I found SGC/M (the second church I visited), I found a church that I could be apart of, one that served me but, more importantly, one that I could serve in. And oh, how that has paid dividends! The church has given me a community and a home, a place where people love me and care for me, where families will invite me over for dinner on weekends and holidays, where friends invite me to hang out on my days off of work, and where the pastors know me and entrust me to serve. In some ways, it’s like I never left college at all.
As I had alluded to earlier, being a part of a church is not for you to be served, but for you to serve, and sometimes you have to make your own opportunities. We’re looking for all the right programs and the best of friends before joining a church, but a biblical understanding of the church informs us that we are to join a body of believers, loving and serving them and God through the local church.
In order for us to live in the unity that God desires of us, we must understand that we play an active role in the community and church that we belong to. There is no part of the body that is not essential and necessary. We cannot just be consumers, and we can’t do it alone! Thankfully, God didn’t design us that way. Jump in, get involved, and see how God uses your life to bless the lives of others, and vice versa. And as always, “[In] whatever you do, whether in word or in deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”