I am re-reading a book by Stephen Macchia entitled Becoming a Healthy Disciple: Ten Traits of a Vital Christian. The fourth trait of a vital Christian is that he/she learns and grows in community. I cannot agree more. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: those who drop out of church stop growing in Him and stop serving Him. And a key connection point of the church to the Christian is the Sunday School class or small group.
Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources, has shared research statistics that state that new members are much more likely to still be at church in five years if they are active in a class or group (83%) than they are if they are only active in worship (16%). Community matters. In fact, I believe we need to be even more intentional about community than ever before. Macchia says,
If we are going to experience the richness of learning and growing in community, then we need to be in a covenant group with people we trust and with whom we can share our lives through thick and thin (p. 95).
He says such a group would commit to live out all the “one anothers” of scripture:
- love one another (John 13:34-35; Romans 13:8; 1 Peter 1:22; 1 John 3:11, 23; 4:7, 11-12)
- confess your sins and pray for one another (James 5:16)
- care for one another (1 Corinthians 12: 24-25)
- greet one another (1 Peter 5:14)
- bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2)
- encourage and build up one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11; Hebrews 3:13; 10:25)
- submit to one another (Ephesians 5:21)
- bear with one another and forgive one another (Ephesians 4:2; Colossians 3:13)
- admonish one another (Colossians 3:16)
- serve one another in love (Galatians 5:13)
- spur one another on toward love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24).
Wow, what a great list describing community! Why would anyone want to disengage from that kind of group? Have you been in a group like that? Share your experience by pressing the comments button below. If you are not in a group like that, how does your current group measure up? How could you encourage your group to take steps forward in your current gaps? Become a vital Christian! Be revolutionary!