Finding Community In A New Season
“Hey, do you want to host a supper club?”
This is the question I asked my roommate one Sunday afternoon. We had recently learned about supper clubs at our church. These supper clubs were small dinner parties hosted in the homes of church members to foster community. My roommate loved the idea, and we began hosting a few weeks later.
Our supper club consisted of a group of single, dating, and newly married friends. Each month, the gang would gather around our dining room table and break bread. We always had tons of food! Everyone would over-eat and drink way too much coffee, complaining, yet again, about the caffeine keeping us up at night. Sometimes we would watch a movie while we ate, other times we would have serious spiritual conversations, but mostly, we would just talk and laugh. There was nothing special about our supper club, except that we were doing life together.
These friends came into my life when I needed a community the most. I was living in a new city, away from family and friends back home, and I was lonely. After many Sunday mornings visiting churches, I had finally found a church home and was slowly making friends. But I wanted more. I wanted people in my home and life. You know, the kind who really gets in your business.
For better or worse, I got all of that from my supper club friends.
What Does Community Look Like As A Christian?
Fast forward a few years and here I am again. I recently moved for the third time in four years. Yes, if I never move again, I will be extremely happy.
I am confident God has called me to this new city. But if I’m honest, I am not sure of my purpose here. I’m a planner and God has completely rewritten my plans.
I love this small town and the work God has called me to here. But there are a lot of question marks in my life. This is where I (and you) need community.
I love this verse in Acts:
And they devoted themselves to the apostle’s teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. - Acts 2:42, ESV
It’s a simple verse, not super spiritual at first glance, but it paints a powerful picture of community. What does the writer say about these baby believers? They devoted themselves to four things: the apostles’ teachings, fellowship, the breaking of bread, and prayers.
And all who believed where together and had all things in common. - Acts 2:44, ESV
Being a part of a Christian community does not have to be complicated. Community looks like being there for each other. It looks like sharing meals and truth. And sometimes, community looks like calling each other out on the hard things.
What I Am Learning As I Navigate Community Building
1) Building a Community Takes Time
If you are new to a town or a church, it takes time to get acclimated. Keep moving forward a step at a time and trust God to give you opportunities. This is probably hardest when you have just moved to a new city. You are excited and ready to meet and mingle, only the people in your new surroundings are likely established in their own communities. Meeting and mingling with new people may not be at the top of their priority list. This is where time helps. As time passes and you are meeting new people, look for where communities are formed and find out how you can join in.
2) Communities are Created
Yes, someone may drop a community in your lap and that would be great. But it may be that God is actually looking for you to create a community. Look for ways to create a community. How can you invite people into your life? Should you start a Bible Study in your home? How about inviting a few people to meet for dinner once a month? You could start an online prayer group with a few people from your church. Maybe you should ask the new girl in your apartment if she’d like to come over for a movie. Be creative and true to the personality God gave you. The ideas will come.
3) Solitary Seasons are Necessary
You may be in a season where God has moved you away from your community for a specific purpose. These seasons are lonely, and it is in these seasons, where I find myself the most desperate for intimacy with Jesus. God may be doing something in you that he can only accomplish in a solitary season. Don’t make your home here, but trust that God has a goal in every season of your life.
I’m learning that community looks different in every season. But it is always worth the work.
Four years later and 60 miles apart, I still stay in touch with my supper club crew. Things look different now. I’m not brainstorming meal ideas with my roommate. We’re not meeting around the table each month. But we’re still there for each other.
Because we each made a decision that community was worth the risk and the work required.
What about you? Do you have a thriving community? Or (like me) are you working to build a new one?
Verses for Further Study:
Galatians 6:2, ESV: Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Proverbs 27:17, ESV: Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. Matthew 18:20, ESV: For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them. Hebrews 10:24-25, ESV: And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.