COVID-19: Pursuing Community
Over 250 years ago, our societies were mostly agrarian and operated through extended families and long-term communities. I’d say much has changed! After the Industrial Revolution, our society valued individualism, and 'we' priorities mostly disappeared. As a result, instability and loneliness have risen across the world. In fact, the U.K. has now appointed a Minister of Loneliness to help combat this growing societal issue! So, in a profound way, we know we need each other. We desire lasting relationships and to belong to a people. But what is the way of Jesus? Rather than isolation, God invites us into a web of relationships with Himself and His people.
Theology of Community
Let's start by laying out a theology of biblical community. God first formalizes His commitment to us through covenants (think Adam, Noah, Abraham, David, etc.) and gives us promises to trust Him (Hebrews 6:17-18). In the gospel, Jesus initiates a New Covenant with His people, not based on geography, family background, or preference, but faith in Jesus (Matthew 26:26-29). God now calls His people the body, the bride, the Church. The earliest documents of the New Testament church show that believers lived in community and opened up their lives to one another. In Acts 2:42-47, we see this beautiful picture of a new humanity – a people who care for one another as they embrace the mission.
The Way Forward
Community requires commitment. One of our values at Biltmore Church is pursuing authentic relationships. A few months ago, I wouldn't have thought I needed to grow in biblical community. I thought me, my Bible, and a church membership would’ve gotten me far! But recently, I’ve loved hosting our Connect Group every week as we pray, bear one another’s burdens, and care for one another.
Here’s the thing about community: it’s something you must do. Below are some simple ideas for you to practice community and avoid isolation:
- Connect – simply text “Connect” to 28282 join a virtual group at Biltmore Church.
- Commit to the 4 P’s
- Priority – set the agenda, make the call, commit to a group of people
- Practices – open your life up: pray, share meals, worship together, etc.
- Proximity – make sure it’s with people from your area (One church, many locations!)
- Permanence – through the ups and downs, love those in your community.
- Serve: The goal of avoiding isolation is not to expand your network or to make new friends; The goal is to embrace God’s mission of making disciples. A great way to start is getting your group to engage in a weekly serving opportunity!