Summer Community Groups: Side by Side

6 June 2023

We often say that your number one ministry to the church is a ministry of presence. Without the presence of its people, the church is not the church. The people of God gather. Though our first priority ought to be the Sunday Gathering, we also have other opportunities to gather throughout the week. These points of contact are crucial for our encouragement in Christ. As our summer Community Groups begin, we’re inviting everyone who is able to make their community group a priority.

Like the Sunday morning gathering, our community groups are made up of different people who are fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. If a group will be vibrant and encouraging, we need everyone who can to show up. C.S. Lewis observed something of the unique facets of friendship within groups when he wrote:

In each of my friends there is something that only some other friend can fully bring out. By myself I am not large enough to call the whole man into activity; I want other lights than my own to show all his facets [1].

Lewis understood that each person in a group brings with them a different dynamic. When that person isn’t there, the group misses out. So it is with one another. The more consistently people come, the more “other lights” than your own can show all the facets of others within the group. As Paul talks about how the church is one body made up of different parts, so your group is made up of different people (1 Cor. 12:12). For a group to fire on all cylinders, it needs the participation of all its people.

A person, due to their experiences and personality, can think of implications and applications of the text that others in the group might not have thought of. Another person can ask questions that allows others to ponder afresh. Still another can provoke a certain insight into the discussion that stirs the groups affections for Christ. One person can bring laughter, another can bring seriousness. Others can bring comfort, while another can bring clarity.

Once you start to place all these people in your group you can begin to see the beauty and goodness that each has to offer. Lewis goes onto to say:

Friendship exhibits a glorious “nearness by resemblance” to Heaven itself where the very multitude of the blessed (which no man can number) increases the fruition which each has of God. For every soul, seeing Him in her own way, doubtless communicates that unique vision to all the rest. That, says an old author, is why the Seraphim in Isaiah’s vision are crying “Holy, Holy, Holy” to one another (Is. 6:3). The more we thus share the Heavenly Bread between us, the more we shall all have [2].

Christian community is a context for friendships that will communicate to one another the glory and goodness of God. The more we bring our hearts and voices together, we are able to mutually enhance our enjoyment of God. “The more we share the Heavenly Bread between us, the more we shall all have.”

Let’s then all come together, side-by-side, and participate in this bountiful gift the Lord has given to us.

[1] C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves: The Much Beloved Exploration of the Nature of Love (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1960), 61.

[2] Ibid., 62.

More about Corey Chaplin

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *