Yesterday we talked about the importance of having a safe community. If you missed it, you can read it here.
Today I want to continue the thought about community being safe. If we don’t have a safe space, how can we possibly expect to grow? During his time with Barnabas and the other disciples, Paul learned what it was like to be welcomed into a safe community. But he didn’t keep that information to himself, he taught and encouraged others how to create those same safe spaces that he was welcomed into.
Paul was no dummy, he knew that the mission and message of God was going to be carried through the disciples in the cities he was writing to and he wasn’t going to let anything hinder that message from going forth.
“For I fear that perhaps when I come I may find you not as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish—that perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder. “
2 Corinthians 12:20
Communities and churches and families and friend groups are all made up of flawed, imperfect people who all need Jesus and forgiveness and love. Our fleshly desires will always naturally create chaos; our base instinct is to hurt one another, so creating a God-honoring, healthy community is quite the task! And, of course, the eight things listed in this passage are all actions that will take a group from safe to un-safe, trusted to untrusted, and united to divided.
But Paul wasn’t going to get discouraged or give up: he continued to multiply himself in the leaders of the communities he was writing to. He mentored young men such as Timothy, encouraging the young pastor how to create the same safe spaces he was welcomed in. Paul trained the people in these churches how to live a life of service to each other and the Gospel. Paul was intentional about duplicating himself and replicating a God-honoring community. May we be as intentional and passionate as Paul was!
What have you learned from your time in community? Now, how can you create those same opportunities for others that you come in contact with?
Download Community: You’re Welcome at the Table, a free PDF, at sarahjcallen.com/community