The Value of Community
By Hyo Won Jeong, YHWH Web Development
I got arrogant. I got complacent. I told myself I could do Christian life with just me, my Bible, and the big guy upstairs. I had no idea how wrong I was.
During my junior year of college, I found myself looking for an alternative to a campus fellowship, which is what I think is the epitome of a spiritual community. I was feeling some heavy social burnout, which was very surprising to my extroverted self. Usually, detaching from any sort of community or group would entail hardship and burden, but I was on what I then believed to be “spiritual fire”. I was doing a daily Bible reading plan for the first time in my life and felt engaged with God’s word like I had never before. I was consistently praying and journaling, listening to podcasts and reading, and felt so rooted in my relationship with God. And I thought I would be fine doing it all on my own.
With this mindset, I set out to look for the church that could offer me the most, a place that would really challenge me to grow in my faith. Although this new church was blessed in many ways (with an incredibly talented worship team and many eloquent and charismatic pastors and speakers), one thing that was not easy was getting plugged in — the main barrier being age. The demographic seemed to be mostly working professionals (definitely beyond my age) and families, and it was hard to relate to people at such a different stage in life.
However, this is exactly what I was looking for, right? A church I could go to worship God and listen to his word and then slip out unnoticed once service was over. For a few months, things went according to plan, but trouble hit when the summer rolled around. I started working my first full time job as an intern, and as I got busy, I found it very easy to not set aside time for God, chasing after my own worldly desires and interests instead. I found it easier and easier to simply log onto the livestream of church remotely, rolling out of bed one minute prior to the start of service, or even skip entirely. I was losing the “fire” that I thought was so deeply ingrained in me, losing touch with God and His people. And because of my cocky attitude, I felt like I couldn’t reach out to people — that I should be able to handle the situation on my own.
As weeks passed in this same pattern, as the end of summer approached, and as I became more and more frustrated and angry with myself regarding how I spent my time, I realized it is impossible to walk this journey alone. Community, especially in a spiritual context, is so essential for growth. I turned back to a previous reflection I did on Proverbs 27:17, which says,
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
Without community, I became dull. Without accountability, I so easily brushed aside my relationship with God. I had to humble myself, repent for my arrogance, and pray that God would be gracious enough again to provide me with brothers and sisters in Christ that I could grow with, share burdens with, and fellowship with. Provide he did. Currently, I am attempting to make the most of the little time I have left at this school: to nurture old and new friendships, to continue to grow in His word, and to be involved in Christian communities.
Praise the Lord for all that He does and all that He provides, even when we are so undeserving of it.