Community - Forged Not Found

Author - Sydney Gunn

This week, for our blog, we were posed with the question: What are you learning about the challenges, struggles, and benefits of the life-on-life process of the community you are a part of called The Fellowship?

Coming into The Fellowship, I am grateful to be able to say I previously came from a solid community, and I grew to understand the positives and negatives before moving to Texas. As a result, my previous experiences have showcased the beauty and the difficulty of community, but ultimately, community has been a growing force in my relationship with the Lord.

Upon starting The Fellowship, I would like to say I had little to no expectations when coming into our community. Now, looking back, I had expectations. Thankfully, through the Lord's grace, I have been pleasantly surprised. While there have been challenges, struggles, and benefits, ultimately, God's hand has been at work in and through this group. Many times we think of community as the people we "choose" to be close with, open up with, and spend our time with. Our community is being asked to do exactly the opposite. As time goes on, our community is growing in pursuing one another, being authentic with one another, and spending more time together. The Fellowship is a true example of a Biblical community being forged, not found.

Challenges are always an opportunity at hand. A good friend once said, "Conflict is our constant opportunity, an opportunity for discipleship." In many ways, conflict that has arisen in the group has been exactly that, another way that God is using this group to refine us as His image bearers. A few of our challenges have involved our attitudes, words, and ability to work together. Our challenges and struggles have ebbed and flowed from giving feedback on how to "properly cut an avocado" to having a humbling conflict resolution conversation. It can be difficult in conflict to humble ourselves and ask for forgiveness, but I am finding that the challenges our group continues to face are making us grow stronger together as a team. Some of our challenges have also been physical and mental. I have found our team to be great at physical labor and "getting things done," even when it is not an easy task at hand. Overall, these have only been small bumps in the road, and I have been pleasantly surprised by the ability of our team to overcome conflict and challenges to move forward as a whole.

Living in close proximity to others can have its challenges, such as learning how to fall asleep with the light on, but I am finding many benefits as well. The laughter, joy, and memories that have been shared within the group are already accumulating. I am so grateful not to live alone and to experience life with others. These friends have been a true gift to process with and have deep conversations till midnight with. Our burdens in life were never meant to be carried alone. Now, as a community, we can process them and encourage one another together toward the calling of Christ. Personally, the community is showing me a lot about my character and the things God is trying to develop in my heart. This includes how I speak and act around others and that the countenance I often carry says more than words do. Community is an experience that strengthens your walk with the Lord as you learn to interact with others and grow toward Christ.

God designed us for community. This experience has only deepened my understanding of what true community looks like.

The Church is a people, not a place, and the Church happens more in our living rooms than it does on Sunday. No matter what, the "one anothers" of scripture continue to come to my mind as we walk out this thing called "community." Some of these "one anothers" include bearing one another's burdens (Galatians 6:2), learning to be sharpened by one another (Proverbs 27:17), and living in harmony with one another (Romans 12:16). There's nothing quite like living "life on life" 24/7/365 that sets you up for God to truly refine you and develop you into the man or woman He created you to be.

My prayer for you this week is that the Holy Spirit will show you how you can be involved in a community of fellow believers. What would be your best next step in taking a venture of faith with the Lord for Him to refine you in living life with others? I know many of my friends back home can attest and say it's one of the best things they have ever done.

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