If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of the others. Philippians 2:1-5 NIV

It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. Philippians 1:7 NIV

My husband and I have been blessed to be a part of several loving, caring and supportive communities of believers. 32 years ago we were both put into leadership positions in our singles’ Sunday School class and it was an incredible year of serving others together and being cared for by others. Then we were a part of a young married class for five years where we made lifelong friends. Several couples from that class are missionaries we still support who have helped to share the gospel around the globe. We made meals for each other when our babies were being born and prayed for each other when several of us dealt with tough things like infertility.

Later we joined a church plant and were involved in it for 11 years. This body of believers was special to us, as everyone was always welcome, no matter your age. Children of all ages were welcome in service, and on mission trips. Many of us dealt with serious issues in the 11 years we were there, and the body was supportive, loving, and helpful. We were part of another church for 9 years and we were able to use our gifts, get to know people, worship and study the Bible in depth. We have now been a part of South Fellowship for the past 6 years. The South family has been welcoming, caring and supportive as well.

When we are able to worship and fellowship with a body of believers who demonstrate Jesus’ love to us in our difficult days and in times of celebration, it can feel like coming home after a long weary journey. Coming to South 6 years ago felt like that for us. When we feel supported and loved, it frees us to be able to use our gifts effectively to benefit the body. When we feel loved by a community, it can help to carry us through in times of grief. When we are being taught the Word in such a way that it changes our perspective, and makes us ponder spiritual truth it causes us to become mature in Christ.

What about you? Do you know someone in our body who could benefit from prayer or a phone call or an encouraging word this week? Does someone need childcare help or a meal? Find someone to encourage this week.

By Grace Hunter

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