4 Encouragements and 4 Exhortations for Christian Community
This month we are starting up a new community group in Naperville. A community group is a weekly gathering of believers who meet to share their lives together for mutual fellowship, prayer, and encouragement in Christ. It is the manner in which our sending church and church plant encourage individuals to experience fellowship and community.
Here’s 4 encouragements and 4 exhortations that I’ve given our Community Group:
Encouragement #1 WE ARE NOT ALONE: God has provided us with brothers and sisters who can care for us, love, teach us, and speak God’s truth into our life; they help us bear our burdens and us theirs (Gal 6:2).
Exhortation #1 BE HONEST AND GRACIOUS: Be vulnerable (truthful about your struggles) and willing to serve and be served, be gracious and full of love for each other, letting love cover a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8).
Encouragement #2 WE HAVE A NEW IDENTITY: God has saved us and brought us into a diverse community of believers; we’re no longer outsiders but are united in Jesus and have different gifts as the people of God. (1 Cor 12:12)
Exhortation #2 FLEE FAVORITISM: Reject cliques and overlooking those who are different from you; Strive to learn from and serve those who may be in a different stage of life, seeking to display unity for the glory of God. (Ps 133:1)
Encouragement #3 WE ARE LOVED BY GOD AND OTHERS: God Loves us, and believers have God’s love in their hearts and love each other (John 3:16, 13:35)
Exhortation #3 REJECT CONSUMERISM: Reject the consumerist mindset for community (instead of asking ‘What can I get from this CG’ ask ‘How can I serve others in this CG?’) (Phil 2:3-4)
Encouragement #4 SAVED FOR A PURPOSE: God has made us to be a people on mission, sharing the gospel with outsiders (1 Peter 2:9-10).
Exhortation #4 FLEE VAIN SUPERFICIALITY: Be a missionary community together, spurring each other to evangelize and share the gospel with unbelievers (Matt 28:18-20). Don’t be a mere social club, forming a Reformed evangelical ghetto; be on mission, remembering there is a world out there running blindly toward the fires of hell.