When I am with a group of human beings committed to hanging in there through both the agony and the joy of community, I have a dim sense that I am participating in a phenomenon for which there is only one word … “glory.” —M. Scott Peck
Failures and fears can drive us into seclusion. When we have problems, we are tempted to wrestle with them alone—where no one else can see the frailty of our humanity. We become fearful that someone will identify our flaws and name our weaknesses, and we hide.
The Power of Community
Today, I was reminded once again of the power of community. It is through community that Christ dispenses courage and hope. It is through community that we voice our fears and failings, yet still know we are a member of the fellowship of believers. It is in community that we develop character. It is in community we find acceptance and identity. It is in community that doubt dissipates.
Truth is relational. People are more apt to hear and receive truth from someone with whom they are in relationship than from a complete stranger. This is the power of community. In community, we experience truth—truth that holds us accountable to one another.
God With Us
One of my favorite names for Jesus is Emmanuel—God with us. It is the “with us” part that I love. Jesus models for us by His very name what it is to be in community. It is to be with one another—in relationship with one another. When it is messy or painful or glorious or even when it is just plain average everyday living—no great high and no deep low—we are called to be with one another.
A Community of Transformation
I currently live and serve in Cambodia. What I love about what I do is that I work within a community to improve people’s lives, speak truth, and live out Christ’s commands in community. My work is about people and transforming lives, but through it my life is also changed. When we are in community, lives are not transformed in isolation, but our transformation touches other lives and can bring change to others. It creates a reverse domino effect. Instead of knocking each other down in succession, we lift each other up!
Relationships. Connectedness. Community
It is the power of community that creates life sustainability on the field. Life can be ridiculously tough on the field. It is sometimes chaotic and filled with many challenges that can suck the life out of you. The only solution to combatting the life drain is a solid relationship with Christ, and being a part of a solid Christian community/family. Clarity and right perspective comes when we live the call of Christ together in community. It is what keeps the world right side up and spinning on its axis.
Relationships. Connectedness. Community. We need all three. As Ecclesiastes 4:9 reminds us: “Two are better than one.”
Julie Martinez is a Church of God Missionary Coordinator who has been serving in Cambodia since 2007.