Building Community

Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ!
In my sermons in the last two weeks, I have been focusing on how we build and strengthen community. The Greek word in the New Testament that refers to community or fellowship is “Koinonia,” and it carries with it the connotation of a partnership where each other’s burdens and joys are shared. As we seek to strengthen our community, I have given two practical challenges for each of us to undertake.
The first is the “With-me” Challenge. This is based on the practice of Jesus who often invited people to be with him in his day to day life. Jesus did not attempt to live his life or do his ministry alone. He involved people in everything he did. When he traveled, when he went to temple, when he healed the sick, there were people in his life. On his preaching Journey, Jesus took the twelve with him as well as some women who had been cured of illnesses. He took Peter James and John with him to the mountain of Transfiguration. When he withdrew privately to Bethsaida, he took the twelve to be with him. When he was facing the his death and praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus took Peter, James, and John to be with him.
My challenge is for each person in our congregation to invite someone else in the congregation to be with them in some activity each month. If you are going to a movie, invite someone to be with you. If you are going shopping in Winston, invite someone to go with you. If you are going to visit someone who is ill, invite someone to go with you. As each of us does this each month with someone different, we will find our connections strengthened and our community built.
The second challenge I gave is what I call the “1-1-1 Prayer Challenge.” This challenge is based on the truth that when we pray for someone, the Spirit intercedes and silently builds the relationship. The Apostle Paul frequently prayed for the people in the churches that he founded and asked for prayers from them. Through those prayers for them and from them, their relationships deepened.
So my challenge is for each person to choose 1 person in our congregation to pray for one minute once a day for one month. At the end of the month, write a note saying that you have been praying for that person. And then choose a new person for the next month.
I am convinced that if our whole congregation takes up both these challenges, our “Koinonia” will be strengthened in ways that will astound us!
May the Lord bless each of you!
Your friend and pastor,
Pastor Lee