When I interact with candidates in my role as the Candidate Recruiter and Developer for The Alliance, I always ask if they are practicing community. I use the word “practicing” because it is an important spiritual discipline that must be an ongoing part of our lives as believers.
When I was growing up in a North American evangelical church, the only spiritual disciplines I was taught were the importance of reading my Bible and praying. I have since learned that spiritual disciplines encompass much more than this—practicing community is one of them.
As women, we can foster community in our churches. COVID-19 quarantining showed us that there are creative ways to ensure community continues. Many women found ways to stay connected to one other.
At ClayHouse Alliance Church in Colorado Springs, Bridgett Webster—a young mom and wife who leads the women’s ministry—found excellent, free studies ladies could do using Zoom. She organized groups around times that worked for at-home moms and for those who were still working outside the home. I facilitated one study that began at 6:30 a.m.
When COVID closed the Good Samaritan Haitian Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia, Marie Laverdure, the pastor’s wife and women’s ministry leader, began early morning meetings on Zoom so the women in her church could encourage and pray for each other. Her leadership kept community going for women who desperately needed it during fearful, uncertain times.
In her book, Spiritual Disciplines Handbook*, Adele Calhoun notes, “Christian community exists when believers connect with each other in authentic and loving ways that encourage growth in Christ. They engage in transparent relationships that cultivate, celebrate, and make evident Christ’s love for all the world.”
When we practice community, our desire, she adds, is “to express and reflect the self-donating love of the Trinity by investing in and journeying with others.” Community is a way we grow in our faith and show the world what love looks like. It is vital to our lives as believers.
Adele asks several questions to encourage us to think about our practice of community.
- What is appealing or unappealing to you about being an independent operator?
- What kind of connection does Christ want you to have with Christian brothers and sisters?
- How does the life you are leading reflect the value Christ puts on belonging to the family of God?
- When has the Body of Christ nurtured you and sustained you? What was it like for you?
Let’s allow these questions to help spur us on to practicing community in our own lives, our churches, and our Alliance women’s groups.
*Calhoun, A. Spiritual Disciplines Handbook, revised. IVP Books, 2015.