Creating Meaningful Community: “You Are Not Alone”

January 03, 2012

Tuesday Re-mix – 

I believe that loneliness is sweeping our culture in epidemic proportions.  I also believe the church is uniquely positioned and empowered to cure loneliness.  We just need to figure out what genuine friendships look like in the face of life’s most painful circumstances.

I have not yet met a pastor or a church leader who thinks their church actually has too much community or too much in the way of genuine relationships.  The truth is, all of us are always looking for ways to develop a deeper sense of community among our members.  We all understand that there simply is no richer, deeper, more fulfilling sense of God’s love and grace than to be fully known and fully loved, i.e., to have someone know our darkest secrets and struggles and flaws and still love us!

I have found that kind of community in our church’s support group ministry.  It is the absolute best way I have ever seen to say to hurting people, “We understand you and we love you anyway!”  I have come to believe that the more church members we can get involved in it, the deeper our sense of community becomes.  Here is a great example from that ministry:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cqW0oe_h5c&fs=1&hl=en_US&rel=0]

The underlying message behind support groups is the same message which is at the heart of all genuine community: you are not alone. My church’s support group ministry is built on two simple foundational pieces: (1) God’s Word, and (2) friends who share your pain.  There seems to be no limit to how much healing can take place with those two elements working together in a person’s life.

Of course, there is much more to a good support group ministry than that.  But that is the core of it.  Anything about this message which might help your church in the area of community?  Would it at least be worth an e-mail to me for more information about starting this kind of ministry?

© Blake Coffee
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