Having spent the better part of the last six months compiling content for the upcoming Catalyst GroupZine, I’ve had community on the brain a good bit. What is it really? What makes for authentic community? It’s clearly important in the Bible, but how does that translate to 2008 in west Forsyth county?

The past week has been pretty heavy. Some friends had a miscarriage. Other friends are beginning to believe it may be impossible for them to have children. Some friends announced that they’re separated. People have lied about things you just don’t lie about. In every instance, the importance of a strong community cannot be overstated. When life really bites, our impulse is often to recede into ourselves, to say it doesn’t bother us, to convince ourselves and others that it’s not a big deal. This is when a good community rallies around you, asking hard questions, forcing you to deal with it rather than keep it stored inside.

We have small group on Thursday nights, and it’s not unusual for it to be 6:00 pm after a long Thursday and I just don’t feel like participating in community. Truthfully, a lot of nights I’d rather dissolve into the sofa and watch mindless televison than open my heart up to a bunch of other people. But invariably, I feel better as my friends start gathering. My energy level is elevated when we start catching up on the week, then even moreso as we delve into the spiritual issues of the week. By the time it’s over, I find that I don’t want to depart from this holy alliance – I want to stick around, share some more, grow deeper in the knowledge of the love of Christ with these friends as my guides.

It’s almost like God wants it this way.