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5 Ways to Contribute to Community

A portion of this post was contributed by Sean Feehan.  Sean is a leader with Living Hope Church in Maryville, Missouri.  He is passionate about Jesus and the community of God’s people.  You can follow Sean on Twitter here. 

When I was in middle school, my parents entered me into a competitive golf tournament.  For some reason I did well. By the end I was competing for second in a putting competition with one other boy.  He made his shot, I missed mine… and lost.

Embarrassed I threw my putter, stormed off and went to sit by myself.  I shunned everyone at the tournament for fear that I would be ridiculed.  One guy in the crowd, however, took pity on me.  He searched for and found me, comforted me and brought me back to the group.  The group reassured me that things were okay and gladly invited me to enjoy the post tournament awards.

Image courtesy of reinventmyselfinto.com.

Image courtesy of reinventmyselfinto.com.

A Familiar Perspective

Similarly, Christianity’s overarching message is that humanity has run from God like a wounded middle-schooler embarrassed by his performance.  Ignorant of God’s providential care, unconditional love and satisfying presence, we have orphaned ourselves from God and his people because of our sin. (Ephesians 2:1-3)

God, however, is merciful and gracious.  When we were far off he pursued us, not to chastise or condemn, but to forgive and restore.  He sent Jesus to the cross to bring us back to both himself and to one another, the church.  In the church we are invited to enjoy the Lord’s triumph as we celebrate his victory together. (Ephesians 2:11-22;Matthew 9:36)

Contribute Don’t Consume

Unfortunately, in our day we’ve come to see the church as a service to consume, rather than a community with which to contribute.  Instead of helping others know the Lord we find ourselves struggling to do anything but call for our own help.  Many of us want to contribute, but we simply don’t know how.  My friend Sean Feehan offers five ways we can practically contribute to the community of God’s people.

1. Regularly be in community with Jesus through the Holy Spirit.  Through Jesus’ death and resurrection he took our sin and gave us unhindered access to God the Father by sending the Holy Spirit so that we can constantly be in community with God. (John 14:15-31; John 16:1-15)

By taking the time to daily practice the spiritual disciplines of reading, praying and meditating, the Holy Spirit will make us more like Jesus and when we are more like Jesus, our heart for people grows and we desire more to be in community with others.

2. Commit to joining one local church.

When we choose one church to be on mission with, we are able to give fully of our time, energy, and resources to one community.  If we try to be a part of too many churches and organizations, then often rather than contributing to community we end up only consuming from community. Being involved in everything usually means contributing to nothing. (Acts 2:42-47)

3. Participate in a Small Group.

Just as it’s important to join one local church, it is also important to get involved with a smaller group of people in that church.  The first step to participating in a small group (what we call Community Groups) is to make it a priority to be there every week.  This means that you schedule your business meetings, study groups, and time working out at the gym around your weekly small group meeting.(Acts 2:42-47)

Speak up during discussion. A lot of times we can be intimidated, believe we don’t have anything worthy to contribute to discussion or that we don’t pray elegantly.  That’s not the case!  God has given everyone something to contribute to the building of community.

4. Mobilize community to meet the needs of your city.

This is as simple as paying attention to the needs of the people you know, then getting some friends to help you meet that need.  I have heard plenty of stories from people who have helped single moms move, financially support a med-school student in Haiti, do chores around the house for elderly couples, and bring meals to couples who have just welcomed a new baby into their family. (Jeremiah 29:5-7)

5. Invite friends to be a part of what God is doing in your community.

If you really want to contribute to community invite non-Christian friends to come along with you to Sunday Gathering or small group.  One of the best benefits of community is that it helps us bring the Gospel to our non-Christian friends. (Acts 2:42-47)

Want to take the first steps to contributing to community? Join us at Living Hope Church- Maryville Campus for the start of our new sermon series Relationshift on Sunday February 9th.

This post is adapted from a sermon Sean preached at Living Hope in January of 2014 as a part of our “Strengthen The Core” Series.  You can view that sermon below.

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  1. February 7, 2014 at 9:04 AM

    Thank you for your “like” on the post “The Word”. Your post is about my passion. Strengthen the Christian with a solid walk with Jesus and He will touch this world through them. It has to begin with that relationship with Jesus. Continually seeking Him, Sharon

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