This devotional was originally published on February 14, 2017.
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
— Ecclesiastes 4:9–12
OK, I will admit that I don’t know everything. As a pastor, I sometimes feel like I am supposed to have the answer to every question. Over the course of my ministry, that expectation — whether it is legitimate or imagined — caused me to become pretty insecure. I wanted to know the answers, and I felt like people expected me to know the answers. So, you can imagine how frustrating it was to get to the place where I could freely admit, “I don’t know everything, and I am OK with it!”
When we launched c|Life, we knew that our goal was to connect people to God and one another. I was perfectly fine with that goal, so long as it didn’t force me into groups where I was going to be put in the middle of the room each week and drilled with questions. My insecurities caused me to dread the idea of being a part of a Community Group. I am, by nature, an introvert who doesn’t have all the answers, so why in the world would I subject myself to this thing called biblical community? I did it, because I not only recognized my inadequacies, I also realized I needed friends.
I can remember going to my first CG. To say I was apprehensive would be an understatement. I did not want to get torpedoed with questions, and I figured making close friends would be nearly impossible because I am a pastor. For a good portion of my ministry, people liked to be considered my friend but they had no interest in actually being a friend. I was shocked at what transpired.
Over the course of several weeks — and eventually, years — I have had the privilege of being a part of five different community groups. In each one, I have found people who weren’t interested in being my friend because I am a pastor, but because I am a person who needs relationships just like anyone else. I have found people to be very forgiving and grateful that I am able to say, “I don’t know,” when it is true. I have found people that I text my prayer requests to, confess my sins to and reach out to when I need a shoulder to cry on or a hand to slap a high five when victory visits. I have found… friends.
I agree with the notion that we grow spiritually when we connect relationally. God has done so many amazing things in the lives of these people I now consider friends. Every time they share what God has done or is doing, I learn something new about my great God and King. My friends have taught me more than they will ever know through our CGs and our friendships.
If you are not in a Community Group of any sort, let me encourage you to be a part of biblical, Christ-centered community. I am not telling you that as a know-it-all pastor, but rather as a person who is walking through this life, just as you are, and has been forever impacted by the power of biblical community. I can honestly say that I know more about and look more like Jesus today than I did that evening almost eight years ago when I walked into my first CG.
God designed us for it. Let’s jump in and see why he thinks it is so important. You won’t be sorry!