Community is a Glorious Invitation

Community is a Glorious Invitation

Article by Chloe Pool
Back in December, a member of a Fellowship life group approached me at a Christmas gathering. I love this woman —she has a huge heart and always finds time to give me a quick hug on Sunday mornings. So when I ran into her amid the hustle and bustle of hellos and goodbyes, she gave me a quick hug. As I wrapped my arms around her, I noticed something in her hand.
A card. For me.
I hugged her extra tight and reached for the envelope. As I grasped it, she took my hand, held it, and cleared her throat. Looking me straight in the eyes, she said: "Years ago, I left a very difficult community. When I left, I lost everything. My Fellowship community means so much to me."
I felt like time slowed for a moment. It's one of those rare moments where I get to see and feel how much the work of community matters. Hello, I get to partner with God as He makes strangers into a New Family! My friend stood in front of me with her still-tender heart, and I couldn't help it as my eyes welled with tears.
Later, I got in my car and opened the card. Every word resonated on a profound level. I felt renewed awe at God's design for community.

My friend's story is similar to the stories of so many others. It represents a powerful reality: Rich Villodas says, "We are wounded in community, and we are healed in community." The kingdom of darkness wants to wound us and steal from us. When we let the Kingdom of Light invade, we enter a powerful journey with others.

As a community pastor, I get the privilege of seeing these glimpses. Every month, I gather our life group shepherds for community and fellowship. I never cease to be amazed by their stories of divine appointments.
Sometimes, they are so very ordinary— a young married couple helps newly retired parents of adult children to understand their adult children better.
An empty nester with time on her hands calls her single, 30-year-old friend to go to dinner and a movie.
Other times, the appointment feels more weighty. A newly divorced woman finds hope and healing in relationship with the couple who lead her group. Though their seasons differ, she finds extraordinary commonality in their experiences of love, loss, and walking hand in hand with Jesus.

These appointments feel divine because they are. He is inviting all of us to more of Himself, to more of His very heart. He loves to see His people gather.

Perhaps you've been on the fence about going deeper into community. Fellowship is a large church. It's easy to stay comfortable and hide. But God sees you, and He knows you are made for more.
Perhaps you have a story like my friend told me and don't want to risk it again. My heart goes out to you— I know that of all the risks a person can take, the risk of being known and loved, especially risking it again, can feel like a wild leap off a ledge and into the unknown. I can't say it isn't risky— we are imperfect people. But I can say this: You're not made to live alone.
I'm praying that the communal God—the God who has existed in community since the beginning of time, Father, Son and Spirit— will give you courage to risks again.
My friend took the leap. Her pain turned into a deep reservoir of joy she couldn't help but share with me through something as simple as a card with a bedazzled Christmas Tree on the front. The invitation is there for you too.
I hope you'll join her in that wild leap.


Pastor of Community
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