What is means to be a part of community
Since the beginning of mankind, God has seen the importance, and frankly, the necessity, of mankind living within communities. It was not good for Adam (mankind) to live alone. And every biblical story following Adam and Eve includes a sense of community where people not only live in proximity to one another but must relate to one another as well. The relationships are not always positive, but there is a relationship, whether it be within a biological family or within a larger community.
Today, in every corner of the world, people want to live in a community where they have something in common with others. They want to feel they “belong” and that others care about them. Few people truly want to be alone all the time, and those that do are generally running or hiding from some bad experience caused by being in the wrong community.
While we have no say over where we are born or live as children, and we may not inherit the best of families, we do have choices early on about how we will relate to the families and larger communities in which we live. And as we grow older, we have a greater say in choosing which communities to which we will belong.
Many who are reading these words have personally chosen to be a part of the First Baptist Church of Decatur family. What prompted us to join? Perhaps we were looking for new friends and we were impressed with the people we met here. We may have felt drawn to God through the worship we experienced here. It may be that this is the place that allows us to best use our gifts for God. It is certainly a venue by which we can become a part of something much bigger than ourselves, and it is a place where we can draw love and support and encouragement from other Christians who serve the Lord Jesus.
What does it mean to be a part of this community, this Christian family? It means we are not alone. We have support and encouragement during the difficult times of our lives and people with whom to celebrate the good times. It means both learning from others and teaching others as together we grow spiritually on this shared Christian pilgrimage. Most importantly, we have a spiritual home, a place we feel that we truly belong.
I have come to love this church. I am committed to serve her with my resources and my talents, including my time. It is an investment in the lives of my fellow Christians and the Kingdom of God here on earth. I am proud to be a part of this community and it makes a great difference in my life, as I know it does for many others.
This came from week three of our Lent devotional.
Bill Neal is the Interim Pastor for Senior Adults and Pastoral Care at First Baptist Church of Decatur. He has enjoyed a long career in Baptist ministry, which includes campus ministry, religious journalism, the local church, and more recently, a statewide ministry for people with developmental disabilities.