Good Afternoon Church Family, 

      This letter is the SECOND email in a THREE-PART series addressing some items that I feel are important to discuss within EVERY church (not just ours). The first letter (found here)was published around March of 2018, and much like the first letter, I hope you will consider that these words are being written in a spirit of love and care for your soul, and for that reason alone while reading through it.

It’s very easy for people to “grow apart” from one another and to divide themselves over time. It happens every day in many areas of life. Marriages crumble because husbands and wives grow apart; friendships dwindle because each friend (apart from the other) gains interest in other activities, new ideas, new people and sometimes even new core beliefs.

So let’s take marriage for example. I’ve often heard the excuse “I just don’t know them anymore” when a person is justifying their decision to divorce their spouse. Other phrases I’ve heard are “they’ve changed over the years” and “That’s not the person I married”.

Well, I hate to be the bearer of so-called bad news (though it’s not always bad), but “People Change“!  In fact, people “grow” in one direction or another each and every year – physically AND mentally. They may have the same bodily features and personality, but each year brings a person 365 days worth of opportunity for change. Think about it: if a person is awake an average of 16 hours per day, that is 5,840 HOURS of opportunity for personal change. How many articles can a person read that might change their perspective during that time?  How many personal interactions could happen within that timeframe wherein a person’s knowledge is expanded by a challenging acquaintance?  How many news briefings, television series, and discussions with coworkers could happen in that timeframe to inflict change upon a person?

Although it may come little-by-little each and every day, over just a few short years a person can change into a very different version of the person you knew before, and it will feel like it happens very fast!

Though we change each and every day, scripture calls us to maintain “Unity” (1st Peter 3:8), and to “be of one mind” (Philippians 2:2)…and though that may seem difficult to do with everything that bombards us for our attention each day, it is possible.  And it’s ONLY possible through ONE approach and one approach ALONE:

To Grow TOGETHER in the confines of Biblical COMMUNITY!  Because if you’re not growing “Together”, then logically speaking, you’ll be growing “Apart”!

Yes, the MORE that believers understand what Biblical Community looks like and how it functions, the more those believers will be “Unified” and “Of One Mind” within that community. So let me give you THREE key ways and/or principals of living in biblical community (though there may be more than three):

  1. Living in Biblical Community means that we MAKE TIME for each other, and that we do so OFTEN.  If we look at the disciples in the New Testament, you see the example they give of living in “Community”. Acts 2:42-47 shows us that they spent a LOT of time together learning, praying, eating and doing missions (going to the “temple”). The words “day by day” were used, which means they were together a LOT!
  2. Living in Biblical Community means that we SHARE what we have learned, and that we don’t leave ANYONE behind.  If God opens your eyes to a passage of scripture, the BEST thing you can do to maintain Unity is to share this with your Community and to discuss it and humbly weigh it agains scripture with the assistance of other believers. Unity means that nobody is left behind in learning about Christ, learning scripture, learning about God’s character. Everyone moves forward together in unison and helps those who may be struggling.
  3. Living in Biblical Community means that we hold each other accountable for “Growing Together”!  It’s easy to fall off the wagon and to get sidetracked, because the world PULLS at us each and every day. The only way to keep this from happening is to setup “Accountability” with a brother or sister in your community (and to take their prodding at you as an act of love and care for your soul). Otherwise, step ONE and step TWO of this list will get overlooked and the group will start growing apart.

So I want to urge you to SEEK OUT “Biblical Community” in the church, in order to GROW TOGETHER and to grow in UNITY. It’s the ONLY way we can have “One Mind” as scripture calls us to do. There are multiple opportunities to place yourself in such a community, including our “Gospel Community Groups”, which meet on a regular basis.  You can find out more about them, and sign-up here: https://gccowensboro.com/community-groups/.

 

With love for your soul, 

Joshua Vandgrift
Worship Pastor
Gospel Community Church
Owensboro, KY

 

(Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash)