We encourage our church to be involved in the lives of others, but what does this mean for our daily choices and actions? Is it merely hanging out and discussing the latest fashions or last weekend’s sports scores? Community often begins with a shared interest, and for the believer, it begins with a shared identity.

We often see community as a thing – a sought-for commodity that can be attained – but this is not what we mean. Gospel-centered community is a people – a group of individuals who come together with the sole purpose of making much of Jesus. It can start by our hanging out with others, but it takes shape when daily opportunities for shared experience and life become the norm.

There is a rhythm of life that involves, invites and seeks out the good of those known by people in the community. Conversations, dinners and trips all have the rich fabric of how Christ and Scripture affect our daily lives. In a world where instant communication keeps us moving, we gain depth through relationships that help us stay accountable for living lives that reflect God’s impact on us.

Why is it important that we see community as a people and not a place or thing? Because we have been made a people by God, and He has been working to help us see this. We are His in Christ Jesus, and before we can wrap our minds around being made in His image, we need to see that He died to make us His. Our response of love and worship to this reality is what binds us together as His people. How it plays out among us is the gift of God for our lives together.

The joy we find through deep friendships in Christ is a gift from God that models Him in the world. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit have dwelt in perfect unity, love and joy before and throughout time. God is glorified when He is reflected, and we reflect Him by living together in unity. The hope for groups is that we would not simply spend time with each other, but that we would act with intention to cultivate and strengthen deep relationships founded on God’s love for us.