Last week, we started a four-week journey called Life Track. Life Track is about YOUR life. We want to help you get your life on track and help you stay on track. The devil wants you to waste your life, but God wants you to live life to the fullest. These four weeks, we will be giving you measurable things you can do to grow in your walk with God. Last week, we talked about knowing God. Did you spend time in the word and spend time in prayer this week? Today, we are going to talk about finding community.
I grew up in church and grew up going to a small group. My small group was called Sunday School. Can I get a witness? Tammy and I met in church, but got to know each other in a small group. It’s so important that we attend both. Acts 2:46-47 says, “So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” The early church met regularly in worship in the temple (big group!). They also met in houses (small group!). We see this throughout Scripture (Acts 5:42, Rom. 16:5, and 1 Cor. 16:19 are a few examples.)
Our vision at Liberty involves both big group and small group. In 10 years, we pray that God will enable us to launch campuses within a 30-minute drive of every home in Hampton Roads. We don’t want bridges and tunnels and distance hindering people! In 3 years, we pray that God will enable us to launch Connect Groups within a 10-minute drive of every home in Hampton Roads. We want to disciple new believers on a pathway to take their next step in their spiritual journey through knowing God, finding community, serving others and leaving a legacy. This happens in both large and small settings!
Deuteronomy 31:12 says, “Gather the people together, men and women and little ones, and the stranger who is within your gates, that they may hear and that they may learn to fear the Lord your God and carefully observe all the words of this law.” Notice how this verse says we are to gather so that we may hear and learn. We help each other grow! The church dropout rate is five times higher for those in worship only. You may drop out of church, but it is harder to drop out of community and relationships.
Why is community so important to your spiritual life? God designed us that way. We are made in the image of God. We see relationships in the Trinity. God wants to use other people to grow us and He wants to use us to grow other people. The first commandment is to love the Lord with all your heart, but the second is to love your neighbor as yourself. We need each other. The New Testament is all about the local church. It is a collection of relationships of people who know Jesus personally. There is no such thing as a solo Christian life. That is why God gave us the church. The church is not a building, it’s people. You were never meant to live life alone. In groups we find encouragement (Heb. 10:25), people who will sharpen us (Prov. 27:17), people who will help bear our burdens (Gal. 6:2), etc.
There are a lot of excuses people have for not attending church and a small group. The bottom line though is that infrequent church attendance is not God’s will for your life. Why would we minimize what Jesus maximized? Jesus loved the church. Jesus died for the church. The centrality of biblical worship is exalting Jesus through the preaching of God’s word. We need the church! I encourage you to commit to regularly attending a weekly worship service in 2018. Make God priority by making the church priority. Also, get together with others in a small group. If you need a group, this Wednesday, January 24, at all of our campuses, you can go to an event called GroupLink, and find a group that works for you. If you can’t make it Wednesday, call the church at 757-826-2110 and we will help.