Why Community Groups?
Christina Kim: While there are so many ways I could answer this question, I am reminded of a moment in Apostle Paul’s ministry that is highlighted in Acts 16. In Philippi, he meets a cast of characters: a rich woman, a demon possessed slave girl, and a Roman jailer. All three were incredibly different. All three probably had worldly communities they were a part of. Yet, with one encounter with Paul and company, everything they thought they knew turned upside down. In one situation it was through intelligent discourse, in another it was rebuke, and in the last it was a miracle paired with an act of mercy. It couldn’t have just been Paul, but rather the person Paul was pointing to: Jesus Christ. Simply put, to me Community Group is a small sampling of church—a place where people of different educational, cultural, and socio-economical backgrounds can gather and be challenged with one prevailing truth through our interactions. Yes, we probably wouldn’t have met otherwise yet somehow our paths have crossed. Your personal circle is one you choose (I know this all too well), but you aren’t challenged by the known. Acts 16 shows us that God uses others to shake us up in a way that reaches us.
Benica Kim: As our values state, community-dependence is something that is vital to our church as we walk together to live Gospel-centered lives. If we had to rank our values in order of importance, after being Gospel-centered, I would say that being community-dependent is next. Community group is a safe place where people can continue to extend the warmth that starts on Sunday but provides a more intimate setting to live it out. It is a place where people can share their brokenness of sin and receive reminders of hope that is found in the Gospel. It is a place where people from different walks of life, different life stages, and different backgrounds can come together for the sake of the Gospel and become friends. I have seen and been part of a group of strangers that over the course of consistent, intentional meetings, grew to become a family. I have witnessed people shoulder each other’s burdens, cry through the toughest struggles, and rejoice in abundant blessings. This doesn’t happen overnight and it doesn’t happen naturally. It is through consistent, intentional gatherings that grow deeper, more meaningful relationships. That happens through community groups. That is community.
How has Community Group shaped you?
CK: If I had to be honest, I took “community” for granted for so long. I think I lacked it and so I tried to search for it in other ways. It wasn’t until I lived abroad, completely cut off from everyone I knew in a foreign land, that I realized what I had voluntarily gave up. I lived the life any introvert dreams to have: I answered to no one, I spent money the way I wanted, no one questioned me, I just lived life. But the more I “lived” it, the less like living it became. Not only was it lonely but it was also insanely self-centered—and I make for pretty terrible company to always be around! Both the existence and the absence of community have played such vital roles in my life. I have been taught, challenged, and shown great acts of mercy that have mirrored what Jesus has done in my life. My view of the gospel is so one-dimensional. I need others to show me the nuances and make Jesus even more beautiful. It not only brings me back to the Gospel but those around give me a future hope when it’s dark, and guidance when I can’t see myself out. As a result, repentance comes, change happens, and resilience and praise grows.
BK: I consider myself truly blessed to be part of a warm, Gospel-loving community here at Metro. Through many conversations, meals, and gatherings I have seen this community really come together. When life is easy and things are going smoothly, it’s a lot easier to say that we value community. But when life gets hard and difficult, that is when we are truly put to the test. Last year was that test for me. As I was struggling through the pain, I found myself drawing more and more inward. The community that I once valued so highly was now being kept at bay. But try as I wanted to hide away, people did not let me and they relentlessly reminded me of the truth that is found in the Gospel. As I started to draw away from community, I realized that my relationship with our Father was just as distant. I was living a life that centered around my own needs and wants. It was through individual people as well as the community as a whole that I was pointed towards Christ. It was through their counsel of truth, demonstrations of love, and reminders of hope that I began to see the greater truth, love, and hope that I already have in our Savior. Trusting, depending, and being vulnerable with my struggles have helped me to understand that this life is not about me. It was through this trying time that I realized the difference between being part of a community and being dependant upon one. Community dependance is an earthly reminder of the dependance we should have upon our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I want to thank this community for reminding me of that.