I am an introvert. Don’t get me wrong, I love people. I just also love hiding from those people. Finding a cozy corner, locking the door, retreating into a good book or some Disney+ — that sounds amazing! And I have this sneaking suspicion that I’m not the only one who feels that way. It seems like introversion is on the rise, while face-to-face human interaction is on a sharp decline. (No, FaceTime doesn’t count.)
Before I prod us out of our solitary comfort zones, let me just say there’s nothing wrong with being wired to enjoy some alone time or even be refueled by it. There’s a strong case throughout scripture that Jesus highly valued his alone time. (See Matthew 14:13, 14:23, 26:36, Mark 1:35, 6:46, Luke 5:16, 6:12, and John 6:1.) But there’s also a powerful argument that we were made for community, that God’s literal design for us is to connect with other people and that only then will we thrive.
Acts 1 chronicles the moments right after Jesus ascended to heaven and, at least physically speaking, left the disciples on their own. Some parting words and then he disappeared into the sky. So what did they do next? What do you do when the Messiah you have followed, who freshly conquered death, now tells you he must go and floats out of sight for the foreseeable future? Do they scatter and sulk in solitude? That’s exactly what they did back when Jesus was arrested (see Mark 14:50). But not this time. They had a different way of life these days.
Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.
— Acts 1:12–14
The very next thing the disciples did after Jesus left was gather together with their community and pray. They connected with God and with one another. And I love how it describes them: they were in “one accord.” They were united together around a common passion, a common purpose. This was Jesus’ design — that even though he would have to leave, they would band together in true fellowship. And that’s still his plan today.
Unfortunately, we often gravitate toward the exact opposite. In those moments when we feel far from God, we choose to isolate ourselves instead. We encounter troubles and decide we have to face them alone. That is not the model the Bible lays out for us. Instead, Christ beckons us to band together as his Church. It’s an opportunity to do exactly what the disciples did in the book of Acts, and look how it progressed:
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
They valued community, they devoted themselves to God, and it worked! They ate together, learned together, sang together, shared together. Basically, they did life together, and amazing things happened as a result. God’s spirit moved in their lives.
So how are you connecting with others? How are you doing life with a community? It’s okay to be an introvert, but one of God’s most precious creations is the Church. It’s lovingly referred to as his Bride. And what is the Church if not community? So let’s be the beautiful force that God called us to be. Let’s choose not go it alone. We’re better together.