I love people who love the Bible. I want to surround myself with people who have a deep understanding of the Word of God and will consistently bounce ideas off of them (as my ideas are usually a little off the wall). Alyssa is one of those people; she is deeply passionate about God, his Word, and his people. She is a beautiful picture of a servant and sister in Christ and I am immensely thankful for her personality and perspective.
I don’t know about you, but in all of the times that I’ve gone through heartache, celebrations, career progression or even family deaths – it was always much easier when I had a community behind me. Real community, the people who know what the deep parts of you are, and care about you for larger reasons than “being pleasant, funny, or attractive”, makes life more enjoyable. Community is a lot more than casual friendship with a few people because having a community involves serving one another, bearing each other’s burdens in love, and not being afraid of vulnerability. These people know the deepest parts of you because you all share a divine common denominator: Jesus Christ. Having a community of believers in my life has been one of the most life-changing, and perspective-shifting things I’ve ever had the pleasure to experience. I didn’t really realize that community is much different than having a go-to group of associates. You can be in the midst of friends and still feel lonely.
So, what exactly is community? In my opinion, it’s a lot more than a group of people you hang out with on a daily basis. Don’t get me wrong, the people you hang out with are great! But, it’s not about the people per se, but more about the quality of the bond and commitment in your relationship. If we look at examples from the Bible, we see that the New Testament displays community as just a common life in Christ with other believers (or the church in broader terms).
“That there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” 1 Corinthians 12:25-27 (ESV)
The writer of these verses points out that caring, suffering, and serving one another will ensure the health of that community. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like work. Hard work. Accountability, service, selflessness, refraining from jealousy, and continuing to love is hard to do sometimes.
I’m a part of a community of women in the DFW area that I love dearly. We serve together in a ministry called We Are Unveiled, a non-profit ministry built for women to find a safe place in sharing their stories among each other with no shame, guilt or fear of judgement. We personally have found that there is an unexplainable freedom that comes to someone when they let go of whatever they are holding onto, and allow others to listen to their most vulnerable thoughts. For me, this community has become an automatic source of accountability because I have ministry mates, who I consider friends, that consistently check on me and ask me hard questions when they see that I am not myself. They care about me and my relationship with God, and therefore they’re not afraid to “get in my business” or pray for me when I’ve admitted some wrong doing. My community is a safe place for me to grow alongside other girls who are reaching for similar goals, so I constantly feel supported and loved.
Community helps develop and shape us into the people God has destined us to be. There are many things we learn only through living life amongst other people we trust. Conversations with accountability partners, dividing scripture together, and serving each other should be regular functions of community. I don’t know if this season of life would have panned out the way it has, if it were not for the community of women surrounding me, praying for me, and sacrificing for me all the time. And I am so blessed and grateful to be able to say that I have them.
How do you intentionally pursue community in your life? How do you hold one another accountable, serve one another, and bear each other’s burdens in love? How do you create opportunities for intimacy with your community?
You can connect with Alyssa here.
Download Community: You’re Welcome at the Table, a free PDF, at sarahjcallen.com/community