What is community?
According to Google Dictionary the word “community” means:
- a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.
- a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.
Diving more into the word “community”, it is a compound word; “com” meaning with and “unity” meaning unified, a common union.
As people of this earthly world, our communities tend to differ from one person to the next. I have, within the past decade, seen my community change from a secular community to a worshipping community, a community built around God. The people in my “community” has changed, the interest in my community has changed, and the life within my community has changed; I tend to surround myself with others attempting to live out a life in Christ. However, there was a time in my life when my community was a lonely community, Tim, table of one please.
I know now that God does not intend for us to live this life alone. With a planet that has more than 7.4 billion people on it, we are made to commune together. We are our best selves when we experience this life’s highs and lows together.
In the Book of Philippians, chapter 2:1-4,
Paul is writing to the church in Philippi. He is taking on the issue of unity:
“If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.”
Paul is talking about being in unity with same-minded people. We, being adults, know that this is hard to do. So I ask you, if this is hard for adults to do, how do you think that the youth of today’s society are taking on this challenge?
Today’s youth deal with pressures that are unthinkable to adults. So having a sense of community, where youth are their authentic selves, is difficult. But I tell you good news, there are youth in this ever-growing, ever-changing society that are striving to live a life of common identities; learning to take this life and build it together within the ways of Christ.
This past Sunday, the Youth Ministries offered a time of fellowship, a chance to build community for Christ-minded youth, a bowling night.
With multiple things fighting for their attention, 8 youth, 5th grade-10th grade, made a choice to meet at the church and take the short trip to Firelake Bowling Center. After playing two fun, energetic games, the sense of community was strong. Encouraging, high-fiving, cheering, and laughing were the sounds being heard from our youth at the end of the bowling alley.
There are two more chances this December for our youth to continue building unity and fellowship with one another. This Sunday, December 9, Lacey and I will host the youth at our house for a movie night. Beginning at 6pm we will meet for food, entertainment and community. Also, December 16, youth will meet at the church at 1:45pm to travel to the Devon Ice Skating Arena in Oklahoma City. Upon our return we will invade downtown Shawnee to be a part of the City Sidewalks Mission with other members of our church. I invite all youth to come and be a part of these opportunities to be a community, a part of Christ’s body, and to fellowship with others.
So church, with this new “community” growing, I ask you, who is your community, your real authentic, true self, community?
Tim Boyer, Director of Student Ministries