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Thessalonians 5:14 “And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.”

 

 

A little over a year ago my husband and I decided to move across our country (Canada) and relocate to the East Coast to help with a church plant. It was a huge step of faith! We sold 80% percent of what we owned and moved to a new area with no certain income, housing, or stability. Oddly enough, that’s normally how we roll. We have lived for many years in a place of faith with our personal ministries, leaning constantly into God’s goodness and our built disciplines. We have travelled the world and have done many risky, faith based things throughout our lives.  But here we were, comfortable, and loving the city we were living in. We had friends and family around us, and a lovely apartment to call home, yet we were leaving it all behind. For what?

 

We were drawn to this church plant because of the community it longed to create and the hope it was meant to be. We also knew we could really help in certain areas and we already loved the incomparable community culture that this area has built. We wanted to be a part of a community greater than ourselves. When the conversation came to be a part of it, we jumped.

(Yes we know we are crazy).

 

 

Hope and community pairs so well together.

Hebrews 10:24-25 “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

 

 

Community is this power house of a thing. It means being present in a world that pushes you elsewhere. And being present, in today’s climate, is a ministry all on its own. We constantly have so many things around us wanting to isolate us from God and one another: our phones, TV, work, gossip, fear, war, anger, politics, the list goes on and on, but how do we as believers wake up and engage in community?

 

Being self aware is a wonderful thing. Asking ourselves what needs to grow in our lives is the beginning of positive change. At this point you may be wondering if you have good community with God and People? A great indication of this is how much peace, love and hope is in your life. When you have genuine community these things grow deep. So deep that even when storms come they are not removed.

 

 

How do I grow community?

 

Well my friends, it’s easy and hard all in one.

First on the list is your own personal relationship with Jesus.

 

 

“You can’t inhale if you don’t exhale” AKA Devotions.

 

You can’t take things in, work on yourself, or build new projects if you don’t take a breath (with Jesus). In my life I need my morning quiet time, I need discipline and limits. I need times of the day when my phone, TV, and computer gets put away. I need to prioritize my quiet time so I can be present for others.

 

You can’t carry others, if you can’t carry yourself.

 

My quiet time includes stretching, prayer, a Brene Brown book, Bible time, and my gratefulness journal. Without these moments in my week I become weak. I literally can feel myself losing control of my thoughts. Thankfully, I’ve learned to redirect myself to me “quiet time” to build my heart back up. 

 

Don’t ask God for a lighter load, build a stronger back.

 

How you prepare and connect with God in private always comes out in public.

And remember this world desperate needs strong Christians with a love that’s brave.

 

 

Community with others: “Be A Part Of Something Bigger Than Yourself”.

Thessalonians 5:14 “And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.”

 

Time with people can be some of the best and worst moments. That’s why finding a community thats right for you is important. Look for people with your heart, vision, and goals. Look for those who are better than you, and love growth. Most importantly, looking for people who are “hope” minded and focused on bringing heaven to earth.

 

Prioritize your time with people. There are so many ways to do this throughout our week: adding people to your meal time, bringing a gift to cheer someone up, saying a kind word to someone who seems to need it, a coffee date where you just listen, or volunteering. The list goes on.

 

Community is something we easily push away because it cost us something.

It cost us money, time, dignity, and more.

It means putting hope in front of our agenda.

It doesn’t just mean we hear sad stories and offer a hug.

It means we LIVE life with people who need to be loved.

 

 

Final thoughts:

 

My fellowship with Jesus is directly linked to my attitude towards community.

If I am feeling hopeless towards my community, then I haven't been receiving/reading/praying hope enough this week. I’m fortunate to be in a place where I travel, advocate and speak around Canada. My heart is for justice and hope. I also have an authentic heart that finds it hard to fake things. This is a blessing and frustration at times because it means my heart has to believe in what I’m doing or it shows. I also have a husband by my side that has his own worship ministry and we are leaders at a church plant in our city.

We are constantly around people.

 

Being constantly around people has its beautiful and difficult moments, but we’ve learned to juggle life pretty well. Our marriage is a team effort and I could’t be more in love with my guy.

I’m so thankful for community. I’m thankful for our church community where we learn, live, and grow. I’m thankful for my marriage and the intimate community we have in one another.  I’m thankful for the deep friendships I have in many parts of the world. And mostly, I’m thankful for my relationship with God the father. Without him, this heart of mine would not be where it is today.

Jesus was all about community.

Community with the Father and community with others.

How could we possibly assume our lives would thrive without either of the two?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nicole Victory