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How To Use Common Interests To Build Great Friendships

By: john weirick

Sometimes we make community more complicated than it really is.

We might think of the people across our city, the other people we see once a week after a church service, or the Bible study we have (or haven’t) attended for a while. Yet community goes far deeper than faces and first names we recognize.

Made For Community

Community isn’t just about communicating with each other every so often; it’s about doing things together. We can learn things around a living room with each other, but we learn how much we mean to our friends when we experience real life with them.

Everyone wants to know where he or she belongs. It might not be the first thing mentioned in a conversation, but we’ve all got a need for other people. It’s nothing to be ashamed of; it’s how God made us. We’re built to be in community (Genesis 2:18).

“People want to be a part of something. They really do.” That’s what Todd Rutherford discovered.

Todd bought a Jeep in 2012 and recognized that it came with a built-in community. His wife Heather bought one, too—and so have several of their friends. So they created Jeep Up, a community that provides opportunities for Jeep enthusiasts to connect with each other and connect with Jesus.

Part of Something

When people see the fun and the friendships that come out of driving Jeeps together, they want in. They don’t have an agenda, but they all have a shared goal: to have fun and enjoy each other’s company and their Jeeps. Jeeps are the common interest, but it's really about the relationships. And in their conversations with people, from both inside NewSpring and those who have nothing to do with church, they have a chance to share what matters most to them: knowing Jesus and following Him.

Good Times and Bad

Living rooms, conversations, kitchens, and food are great, but it doesn’t stop there. When we go beyond our living rooms and into our weekly routines, work, and play, those are the moments when friends show they care about each other even more.

People from Upstate South Carolina and even surrounding states join in on the fun. When one Jeep Up member’s vehicle required expensive repairs, the group got together and performed the fixes themselves.

Friends don’t pay attention to each other only in good times; they’re with each other in good times as well as the bad times. The rough days are especially important, because none of us can do life alone.

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).

There are opportunities to build community around common interests everywhere.

The most important thing Todd and Heather want others to know is that there are opportunities to build community around common interests everywhere. More of us can take leadership of a group of people who already love the same thing, help them connect, and help them take next steps with Jesus.

Jeep Up gets it, but it doesn’t have to stay confined to them. Community is for everyone. We can all share something we love with other people who love that thing, too.

“There are other communities out there just waiting for someone to take it.” – Todd Rutherford

You can do this, too. You can gather people around a common interest you share and enjoy it together.

The way you connect with people around you impacts the way others impact those around them. None of us can do it alone, but together we can be the church that cares about people.

Share your story with us and find others by using #NewSpringCommunity.

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