On Wednesday on my way back to Knoxville, I stopped in Jackson to have lunch with one of my dear friends and someone who has been a great spiritual mentor for me. She and her husband (both Union alums) pretty much single handedly ran the college ministry at the church I attended while in Jackson, and Sabrena and I got to know each other really well. She took me under her wing, met with me, encouraged me, counseled me, and was a friend to me. I treasured our relationship then, and even though it’s changed a lot, mostly out of necessity (since I live on the other side of the state), she still is a great source of wisdom for me.
All of that background info aside, Sabrena shared something with me that really struck me and which I’ve been pondering ever since. I was talking to her about my frustrations about finding a church here in Knoxville and how it seemed like I was going to have to choose between good, solid preaching or good fellowship with people in my same stage in life, since I hadn’t been able to find both in one church. She then told me to think about what mattered most to me at this point in my life. Did I need solid teaching more or community? When I asked what she meant, she told me about a small community she’s found within her church. It’s just her and her husband and two other couples, and they meet once a week for a few hours to pray, share each other’s lives, and keep one another accountable. Sabrena tells me it’s been the most rewarding, encouraging, and challenging thing she’s been apart of, and she feels as though she’s finally understanding what the church is for and what community can do. Those two hours every week mean more to her than any sermon because of the investment/blessing she puts into it and receives from it. And that’s what I want. I want a small group of people (not 20 or 30, like some of the community groups I’ve been to) that I can meet with on a weekly basis and trust and confide in and pray with and love. That’s what church is: encouraging one another, loving one another, and spreading that love.
Why do we so often miss out on this? We aren’t intentional. I know I’m not, anyway. I’m around Christians fairly often, especially when I’m in Memphis, but we do more goofing off and talking about the last movie we saw than talking about things that really matter. We also are lazy. Who wants to spend time praying and discussing God’s Word when Lost is on or that latest bestseller is calling our names? I tell myself there’s so much to do in one day that taking time out to spend it in true fellowship would disrupt the whole schedule. But I think that’s precisely the point. My life certainly could stand to be disrupted a bit. There’s nothing less threatening to Satan than a comfortable Christian.