In this series, by various authors, on the topic of community; I chose to ask, “Does community matter?” The problem with asking this question is that I now need to attempt to share my opinion with you and thus give you an answer. Why is this a problem? I am not the most social person, and this is problematic in some ways when it comes to community. But I am not the only one with this dilemma. So, let’s venture in.

First let me share my definition of community. I see community as people gathered for the purpose of sharing their lives. There are times when community is two people and times when it is hundreds of people. Sometimes we feel like we need it more than other times, and some people feel like they need it more than others. But I will say this, we all need community! We need each other in many ways, and while at times it is needed more than others, we all need and benefit from community on a consistent basis.

So, I guess in my definition I have exposed to you that I believe community does matter. And in fact, I believe it is critically important to our lives on many levels. This leads me to another question, “How does community matter?”

Through community we experience: laughter, a shoulder to cry on, a place for advice, good food and conversation around a table, spiritual growth, challenge when we need to be challenged, FUN, business connections, being the church, depth of connection, meaning, purpose, the ability to do big things, memories, expertise, viewpoint, intimacy, and so much more! I am sure you could add to this list.

While some people are more social than others and therefore some lean into community more than others. We all need to be in community, to be connected with other people, to share our lives one with another.

I suspect the bigger challenge that we all face is that community is often messy. Any time people gather there will be differing opinions, ideas, personalities, etc. And with this comes the challenge of sorting our various viewpoints and desires and coming out the other side with the beauty of this variety that community provides. We are better together, even with the challenges that being together brings.

Hebrews 10:24-25

“And let us consider one another in order to provoke love and good works, not neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day approaching.”

This short article has opened up more questions than it has given answers. I hope that it will be a catalyst for you to think about your community and your engagement with people. I hope it will inspire you to press in and find the gold that can be found in a community of people.

-Seth

*Stay tuned for the next 2 parts of this series on community, coming July and August of 2024.