Finding Your Community
As we practice the way of Jesus, we need partners for the journey, a community to help us along the way. But community doesn’t happen by accident; it takes time, effort, intentionality, and faithfulness over the long haul. So where do we start? How do we find a community of people with whom to practice the way of Jesus? If you are not yet in a committed community with other followers of Jesus, below is a series of suggestionss for finding your community and starting your life together.
Join a local church: If you’re not yet a part of a local church, join one! There is no substitute for actually being part of a local church in your city.
Sign up for your church’s small groups: If your local church has some sort of small group model (Communities, community groups, life groups, etc.), join one!
Reach out to a few friends: Think of a few friends who might not yet be in an intentional community. Give them a call or a text and invite them to join you for a weekly meal or coffee to work through the Practices and pray together.
Form a triad: Call or text two friends, even if you are not very close yet, and ask them if they’d be willing to commit to a weekly meal or coffee to work through the Practices and pray together.
Set a consistent time and place to meet.
Discuss expectations about attendance and participation so that everyone is on the same page.
Consider using the following guidelines from Pete & Geri Scazzero’s Emotionally Healthy Relationships to set the foundation for your time together:
Be Prepared: To get the most out of your time, commit to participating in practices on your own and listening to any necessary content before meeting.
Speak for Yourself: We encourage you to share and use “I” statements. Instead of saying, “everyone is busy,” or “we all struggle with forgiving,” say, “I am busy” or “I struggle with forgiving.”
Respect Others: Be brief in your sharing, remaining mindful that there are time limitations and others may want to share.
No Fixing, Saving, No Setting Other People Straight: Respect people’s journeys and trust the Holy Spirit inside of them to lead them into all truth—in his timing. Resist the temptation to offer quick advice as people share in the group.
Don’t Make Assumptions: If you find yourself feeling judgmental or defensive when someone else is sharing, ask yourself: I wonder what brought them to this belief? I wonder what they are feeling right now? I wonder what my reaction teaches me about myself?
Trust & Learn From Silence: It is okay to have silence between responses as the group shares, giving members the opportunity to reflect. Remember, there is no pressure to share.
Observe Confidentiality: In order to create an environment that is safe for open and honest participation, anything someone shares within the group should not be repeated outside of the group. However, feel free to share your own story and personal growth. Note: The exception to confidentiality is threat of or realized harm to self or harm to others, in which case you should contact a trusted professional or pastor for advice on how to proceed.