The Importance of Community in Your Faith Journey

The Importance of Community in Your Faith Journey

Because you are made in God's image

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.
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Why Your Grandma Is Your Biggest Blessing In Life

Because nobody loves you more than she does.

There are many people in your life you are thankful for: Mom, Dad, siblings, cousins, best friends, teachers, neighbors, you name it. You are grateful to have people who constantly support you, who pick you up when you're down and love you unconditionally. But the one person who stands out among the rest of them is your grandma.

SEE ALSO: 10 Reasons Why Your Grandma Is The Best Person In Your Life

Ever since you were little, you and your grandma have always had a special connection. Going over to Grandma's house for the night was something you looked forward to. She knew how to entertain you at your best and worst moments. No matter what you did together, you loved it. Being with your grandma wasn't like being at home or with your parents – it was better. You went to the park, made cookies, went out to dinner, got a “sweet treat" at the mall, played Go Fish, took a bubble bath for as long as you wanted and got way too much dessert than you should have. You did things you weren't supposed to do, but Grandma didn't stop you. Because at Grandma's house there were no rules, and you didn't have to worry about a single thing. Being with Grandma was the true epitome of childhood. She let you be you. She always made sure you had the best time when you were with her, and she loved watching you grow up with a smile on your face.

The older you got, your weekend excursions with your grandma weren't as frequent, and you didn't get to see her as much. You became more and more busy with school, homework, clubs, sports, and friends. You made the most out of your time to see her, and you wished you could be with her more. Although you were in the prime of your life, she mattered even more to you the older you both became. You were with your friends 24/7, but you missed being with your grandma. When the time rolled around, and you got the chance to spend time with her, she told you never to apologize. She wanted you to go out, have fun and enjoy life the way it makes you happy.

Reflecting back on these moments with your grandma, you realize how truly special she is to you. There is no one who could ever compare to her nor will there ever be. All your life, there is no one who will be as sweet, as caring, as sincere or as genuine as her. Even though you're all grown up now, there are things about your grandma that never changed from when you were a kid. She still takes you out for your favorite meal because she knows how important eating out means to you. She writes you letters and sends you a $5 bill every now and then because she knows you're a hard-working college student with no money. She still helps you with all of your Christmas shopping because she knows it's your tradition. She still asks what's new with your young life because hearing about it makes her day and she still loves you to no end. Your grandma is your biggest blessing (whether you knew it or not), and she always will be no matter what.

Cover Image Credit: Erin Kron

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11 Bible Verses To Help When The Anxiety Is About To Get The Best Of You

For times when things get tough


College can be a mixture of excitement, fun, definitely stressful, and full of anxiety. I know there are times when I am stressed and I feel like there is nothing I can do. Stress can be this giant weight that just wears you down no matter how hard you tried to get rid of it. These are a few bible verses that help me whenever I feel stressed or I am filled with anxiety.

1. Isaiah 41:10


"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

Whenever we have fear, just know that God is with you. Through him He will give you strength. He will be there to lift us in in our times of fear and your anxiety.

2. Psalms 56:3


"When I am afraid, I put my trust in you."

I feel like this one is pretty self-explanatory. Whenever you feel afraid or are dealing with something that you are not quite sure will work out, then just give it over to God. It will definitely help. It can help take off that weight that you are dealing with.

3. Philippians 4:6


"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God."

Whenever you feel anxious about something then give it over to God. A way to give it over to God is through prayer. There is power in the persistence of prayer.

4. John 14:27


"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you."

You cannot find peace in worldly things, but you find peace in God.

5. Psalms 94:19


"When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul."

The world is very good at making people stressed and worried. In this verse, the "cares of my heart are many" is talking about the different worries that people have, but in God, we can still find joy in the midst of all those worries.

6. Proverbs 12:25


"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad."

This verse goes to show that words can drastically effect a person's attitude and mood. Even when a person is going through something, kind words can make them feel better. If you read the Bible, I can guarantee that it will help you through anything. It is amazing what the Word can do.

7. Psalms 23:4

"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me."

This verse is an excellent reminder that through horrid things, God will be there to watch over you and protect you. There is nothing we cannot do if we have God there with us. We just have to remember that He will never leave us or forsake us.

8. Joshua 1:9


"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

The fact that God is with you seems to be a running theme in these verses. You would think that we would not forget it so easily since God has made it so clear. In God, we can be strong and courageous. We have nothing to worry about.

9. Matthew 6:34


"Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."

There are definitely things throughout the day that we can all worry about. It could be a test, a project due at work, or even friendship or relationship problems. However, worrying about it is not going to help. There is also no point in worrying about the next day because we will have no control over it. We do not know what the next day will bring so why worry about it? That is what this verse is trying to say.

10. Mark 5:36


"But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, 'Do not fear, only believe.'"

As long as we believe in Jesus then we have no reason to fear. All it takes is for us to believe that He can help us through anything.

11. Deuteronomy 31:6


"Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you."

I referenced this verse earlier. It was sort of unintentional, but there is so much truth and power behind it. This verse relates to what it is saying in Joshua 1:9 (verse previously mentioned). That verse asks "Have I not commanded you?" This verse is telling us that we need to be strong.

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