And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47(Emphasis mine)
As a family with young kids many years ago, one of the things we used to do was hike. They usually weren’t difficult or long, and we didn’t have to travel far. Invariably, once we started hiking, it was easy to get left behind. There was a variety of reasons: short legs, loving to observe the beauty around us, and talking, to name a few. However, I would quickly end up in front, accomplishing the ‘task’ of hiking. It was the thing to do, and I wanted to get it done. If things continued that way for long, I’d have been out of sight and the rest left behind. I quickly learned to slow my pace, taking a lesson from others in the family in observing what I was surrounded with. The rest of the family also learned to pay closer attention and stick together. Our family community kept together, moving forward.
I find this to be so similar to communities of faith! There are those that crash forward along the path and don’t realize that others are being left behind. And those following are busy with involvement in other things, failing to notice that the community has moved in their walk. The really cool thing about community, however, is that like my family, we can hold each other accountable and either help those being left out to be brought back into the community, or be helped by others. Then moving forward can be accomplished as a cohesive, rather than fragmented, community.
South is a Christ-centered community that’s moving on his path. As we continue to move forward, towards “living in the way of Jesus with the heart of Jesus,” we can observe and help those that might be left behind. If we’re the ones being left behind, we can, with the help of others, reestablish our presence with the body of believers at South.There are so many ways to do this. If you realize someone’s been left out, take them to coffee, find out why, and offer help. If you feel as if you’re being left behind, find a Life Group, MeetUp, or Bible study, and join in. Good things happen when we participate in community! Good advice comes from groups of like-minded people, and a Life Group is a great way to ensure wise counsel (Proverbs 11:14).
By Rich Obrecht