What is community? I wondered the same thing years ago. I came in contact with a church through various channels then I found myself in community. I wasn't looking for church, community, or love. I was looking for help. I wanted to find out why my life always went south, why bad things kept happening, why I was created for, and most of all help with all my addiction hang ups. In this community I found you are celebrated for who you are. Celebration is powerful thing. It shows you that you mean something and people notice you. It shows appreciation for the good you have done. Could it be that people don't do good things because they haven't been celebrated before. One thing I had never been celebrated for is being integrous.
I honestly was never taught how to have integrity.
I didn't steal much, I did the right things when I needed to, but I had never been taught that integrity was doing the right things when no one was looking. For 18 years of my life I was addicted to pornography. This ate away any integrity I had. In community, I found others struggled with drugs, alcohol, and pornography just like me. Funny thing we all keep each other accountable on all the issues helping each other get out of the cycles of addiction we were caught in. I thought everybody does this, it's a guys thing, it's what we do. So little did I know this community of people were walking what they talked. They lived the right thing day in day out. Here's a few things Community can help you with: 1. Fellowship. In community you have lots of time getting to know each other. You began to be a family of choice. You were born with a blood family, this would be more like your family of friends. Most of my life I was a Lone Ranger. Doing my thing by myself outside of a community. I wasn't complete. I needed other people who didn't think like me or act like me. They would share good advice about life, finances, marriage, etc. Having a community is a game changer, you can go from lacking everything to thriving in a moment. The best story I know is in the book of acts beginning in the first few chapters. They literally birthed the word community by sharing everything with each other loving one another and growing together. 2. Life transitions. There is a such thing as working at your day job to facilitate your dream job. Community can help you talk through your frustrations and questions. I have worked in the auto repair industry for almost 20 years and I needed help during a unseen transition. My community of mentors helped me see through the fear, doubts, and pressure so I could continue supporting my family financially without making a big mess. Transitions can be stressful, confusing, and leave you feeling like you went backwards. When we moved to Texas it was a major transition for us. Christine was 8 months pregnant and everything was brand new. With others around you that know you inside and out, your good and your bad transitions can be exciting. You can live the thrill of your life with others involved in every turn. What really is true life without sharing it with others. 3. Find your purpose in life. Community helps us use our gifts we were born with. The only way we can use our gifts are in community. They were designed to help others to begin with. When someone teaches me I grow, I'm not a very good teacher but I am very good encourager. I have a ability to life people up with words. I'm a very faith driven, very motivated to be positive. When thinking about purpose I knew that I was born for a reason and that I had escape death many times for a reason. When I got in community they helped me see the missing pieces of the puzzle. How one event helped me get to another event. I really thought I had missed my purpose somehow. I went to jail, became a functioning alcoholic, had lots of other issues I worked through daily. I just figured well I'll make the best of what I have left. Not in community, they help you see the big picture. If today you say I have friends but I don't have community, that's OK because you can start today. Find a community church, if your already in a church find a home life group to join, or if you have never been involved in serving with a group try it out. Sure you will meet people that are hypocrites, some that annoy you, or maybe someone who hurt your feelings. Let's be real though, you do most these things to someone everyday of your life, your just probably not aware of it. So find your group of imperfect people and learn as much as you can about loving people.