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I spent years serving in church as a volunteer and on staff as a pastor but really not having “community”. Sure I was leading people, I was busy, I was teaching, but I was not connecting with a small group of people weekly so I could let me guard down and be “ME”. Yes I know some of you will not agree with this but you need a place where the private you can come out and be known. The private YOU that you guard is the real you, and God made that private person that you work so hard to guard. Yes your public leadership role and personality are both important but at some time you have to let the guard down. I have found that place to be fully transparent in my community group I meet with on Sunday nights. Several of those people will read this post so relax y’all, not going to far with this! Ha! Here are some lessons I have learned from the past year in true community…(and thanks to everyone in my community group, Chelsea and I love your friendship and support in this journey. Thanks for being patient with me after a Titans loss on Sunday nights!!!)

  1. Community built only around your ministry is not refreshing for your soul. Sure you lead a girls group each week, have leaders/staff meeting, but in those setting you are still on guard. You need a group of people around you who know you as a person not only as a pastor.
  2. Plugging into a small group sets the example for your kids! My daughters think community group is just a normal part of the week. They also have groups that meet on Sunday morning. When I plug into community group then I set the example for my kids!
  3. Leader – you really don’t need to promote “community” when you do not experience regular community. I tried to do this for years. It just does not work. When I talk to students at REMIX about small group I can do so knowing why community can change their life.
  4. If you are too busy for community group then you are too busy. When we have to many important things to do maybe we think we are a little too important. Maybe we need to quit trying to be so important and start trying to find balance in life.
  5. I learn so much about God’s love and following Christ from the others in my community group. When we talk about scripture, faith, life, parenting, evangelism, hope, or struggle I learn from my friends.
  6. In community group I get a glimpse of what it means to BE THE CHURCH not just go to church. When God created this idea of church He meant it to look like family. Yes family is messy but it is real, transparent, caring, correcting, and encouraging. When we serve together, learn together, pray for each other, argue, think, dream, and laugh we are living our God’s idea of church.