Last week’s blog post was an into to our Spiritual Boot Camp that we are going to be pouring into (make sure you go back and check out Spiritual Boot Camp: 1 if you haven’t read it yet!). This week I wanted to look at the practice of community.
Community is not just a good thing to have, but I believe it is a weapon that God has given His church, that when fully matured, can and should be used as an offensive tool in this war that we are in. It has already been said, but as christians, we are in a war, and we need to be ready for battle. Learning how to use community will help us be equipped for this battle.
In the book, Extreme Ownership, the authors talk about how the Navy SEALs how their team needed to “operate not just as a group of individuals, but as a team - a synchronized machine, maneuvering with prevision and efficiency through the challenges of chaotic battlefields (Willink, Babin, 66)”. God is calling in ministry and in our individual lives to find community and become a synchronized machine.
To find this community and unity only comes through the Lord. The Lord brought this kind of unity in Jonathan and his armor bearer had when they had victory over the Philistines. In 1 Samuel 14, it is recorded that Jonathan brought his armor bearer with him to the enemy camp. Jonathan came to his armor bearer and told him that the Lord might be with them so they should try to go over to the enemy camp. The armor bearer replied and said “do all that is in your heart. Go then; here I am with you, according to your heart (1 Samuel 14:7)”. Jonathan had faith that the Lord would give them the victory and then his armor bearer had faith in Jonathan. They had a unity that no matter what they were going to stick together.
In our study through this we looked at how Jesus had community. He had three types of community or circles of influence. He had the crowd, the despises, and Peter, James and John. The crowd saw Jesus, saw the miracles, and heard his teachings. They saw Him from a distance and were impacted by Jesus’ life. Then Jesus had His hand picked 12 despises. They were is friends and they saw how Jesus lived every day. They were able to ask Jesus questions. Then Jesus had his close three guys, Peter, James, and John. These three guys walked with Jesus through life, but these also were the guys that Jesus picked to see His transfiguration. He asked these guys to pray with Him at the hardest moment in His life, the garden of Gethsemane. These guys saw Jesus at his best and His lowest point. The crowed didn’t come into the garden with Jesus. These three circles of influence are the same three types of community that we should strive for:
Crowd- These should be people in your large circle of influence. These are coworkers, close classmates, family, students and their families, your barista etc. These are people who will read your life like the gospels. These are people who you build relationships with and your actions will speak louder than your words. The “crowd” needs to see the love of God through your life and how you act towards them!
“Disciples”- These aren’t actually your disciples but this is the group of people that the 12 disciples were for Jesus. These are you close friends and family, close advisers etc. These people are who will build you up and you will pour into. These people are those who you should start breaking walls down to and letting them into the deeper places of your heart. (read James 5:16)
'Peter, James, and John’- These are your closest people in your circle. This should be three to four people that know the good the bad and the ugly about you. These are the people that you would show up on their doorstep at 3 in the morning with no questions asked. These are the people who you know their phone numbers. These are the people who can be completely and 100% transparent to.
My challenge to you is to write out your circles of influence. What people in your life are your crowd, your “12 despises”, and who are your Peter, James and John. Who can you and who should you share your life with completely, and who do you need to share the gospel to through your actions and how you love them? Who do you need to take out to coffee with share your testimony with? Who do you need to stop sharing too much with?
Take some time this week and pray how to deepen your connection with your community around you!
Willink, Jocko, and Leif Babin. Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win. Macmillan, 2018.