The Importance of Community in Your Faith Journey

The Importance of Community in Your Faith Journey

Because you are made in God's image
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Do you go to church on a regular basis? If you answered “no” to this question, you are not alone, especially if you are a young adult. After high school, many individuals decide to “drop out” of church because of full schedules, the difficulties involved in finding a new church after moving, perceived judgment from other church members, or changes in personal beliefs. In reality though, young adults are not the only ones leaving the church. In fact, the majority of Americans today do not routinely attend church. For decades now, the number of people filling the pews on Sundays has been steadily declining, and it does not appear as if the trend will reverse itself anytime soon.

I understand that it is difficult to make it to church sometimes, and I am not trying to judge anyone for their lack of attendance. In our modern society, events are planned on the no-longer- sacred Sunday mornings, life can get extremely busy, finding the right church can be quite a challenge, and organized religion may seem unfavorable or like a thing of the past. However, I propose that despite these reasons, we need to make community with other Christians a priority in our lives. In fact, not only should we try to go to church regularly, but we should also try to be a part of small groups and have accountability partners. This may seem like a tall order, but it is very important for our relationship with God. Each type of community can help us immensely in our faith journeys.

The Benefits of Church Community

  • The people in a church community provide you with a support system. If you are going through a difficult time, members of your church family are generally willing to help in any way possible. For example, when a lady at my church was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer, people from the congregation immediately volunteered to bring her family meals, clean her house, do her laundry, and pray for her. Whenever she came to church, they encouraged her and asked about how she was doing. I experienced this support system for myself when I was struggling with the transition to college. Fellow church members sent me inspirational letters, texted and called to check in on me, and gave me hope whenever I saw them. Having such a strong and caring group of people behind me showed me that God had not forsaken me in my time of trouble. He had given me a community of thoughtful, loving individuals, and I could see the Father’s light shining through their actions.
  • Worshipping with such a large group of people helps you understand the unity of the Body of Christ. Often, when I look around at all of the people praising along with me at church, I feel like I have a deep connection with them, and I know that Jesus is at the root of this connection. I know that what I am witnessing is a glimpse of what Heaven will look like, when all people will join together as one to praise God.
  • The church community provides you with organized activities that let you put your faith into action. In a society where we often feel too busy to practice our faith, this is a wonderful blessing and can bring so much joy to our lives (whether we are helping with children’s ministry, music, mission work, finance committee, or Bible studies).
  • Being around so many other believers gives you motivation and energy each week in your walk with Christ.

The Benefits of Small Groups:

A small group is a community of about 3-20 individuals who get together to study and discuss God’s Word and their faith together.

  • A small group gives you the opportunity to learn from the experiences and comments of others. In my small group this past summer, I was truly touched and encouraged by the reflective insight of the other group members. With their unique perspectives, they often made me think about the information in a way that I never would have otherwise. This helped me grow a great deal in my faith.
  • Often, in small groups, people will make themselves vulnerable and open up about their struggles and shortcomings. This gives you the opportunity to understand, appreciate, and practice giving and receiving the unconditional love and acceptance that God blesses us with.
  • A small group gives you peace and encouragement because you often find out that you are not alone and that others struggle with the same things as you.
  • Being in a small group often gives you time and a safe place for reflecting on your life and faith in a world where there is too much noise to normally do so.
  • In a small group, there is generally a time to lift up joys and concerns and to pray for one another. This is a very special experience and shows you the power of prayer. Personally, hearing other pray for me is very encouraging and touching, and praying for others gives me so much joy. It also makes me feel like I can make a difference. Ultimately, small groups have greatly helped my prayer life.

The Benefits of Accountability Partners:

An accountability partner is one person that you have decided to be completely honest with about your faith and life.

  • Accountability partners will help you stay on track in your relationship with God. They will try to prevent you from straying off the right path, and they will make sure that you are dealing with sins and struggles in your life. They give much-needed encouragement, honesty, and advice in whatever you are going through.
  • Having an accountability partner gives you the opportunity to practice the vulnerability that God genuinely wants in His relationship with you. If you are being completely honest and open with one person, you are more likely to be honest and open with God because you know how to tear down the walls that usually guard your heart.

As you can see, each type of Christian community has its own benefits, and thus, having all three in your life is the goal! However, I understand that joining a church, finding a small group, and getting an accountability partner all at once could be quite overwhelming, and therefore, I believe that it is perfectly fine to take smaller steps. Even just immersing yourself in one type of community is much better than isolating yourself and walking your faith journey alone! God created humanity for community. In the Garden of Eden, He gave Eve to Adam because, as He stated, “it is not good for man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18). Furthermore, He formed us in His own image, and thus, just as He is a community (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit), we are meant to be a community! It is imperative that we try living in community as God intended. If we do not, our faith can easily become stuck and unlively. Thus, I encourage you to make community a priority in your life today. You might be surprised at how much it enriches your faith.
Cover Image Credit: returnchurch.org

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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.
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The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:


“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:

“FISH STICK! I NAMED HIM FISH STICK BECAUSE HE'S A FISH STICK, OF COURSE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 59)

When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:


"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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5 Facts About Spiritual Gifts That You Need To Know

Different gifts, but from the same Spirit

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1 Corinthians 12:4-5 states; "[4] There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. [5] There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord." We see that there are multiple spiritual gifts, but they all come from the same Lord.

1. We all have different gifts and that's okay

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Just like a body has different parts that each has its own function, that's like the body of Christ. We all have different gifts and different purposes, but we're all part of the body of Christ. God has a plan for you and has given you certain gifts. God doesn't call the equipped, he equips the calling.

2. There are various spiritual gifts mentioned in the Bible

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Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4 are some of the bible passages that talk about spiritual gifts. Giving, leadership, mercy, prophecy, service, tongue interpretation, administration, discernment, hospitality, missionary, and evangelism are some of the spiritual gifts that people can have. We can desire any gift, but it's God's choice on what gifts He gives us.

Remember, everyone can receive speaking in tongues via baptism in the Holy Spirit, but not everyone will get the gift of tongue interpretation.

3. Spiritual Gifts are supernatural abilities that are either given or enhanced via the Holy Spirit

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God gave us these Spiritual gifts because God wants to invest in His church.

4. Spiritual gifts are for strengthening others

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We have spiritual gifts in order to help others.

5. It does take time for gifts to mature and develop

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Like with a skill that you have, it does take time for you to own said skill. You put in the work, and because of that, you grow in your skill, and you get better. That's the same way with your gifts. God gives each of us certain gifts to use, and it will take time to mature those gifts.

Spiritual gifts are important.

In Romans 12:6 states; "[6] We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; [7] if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; [8] if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully."

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