What does "community" actually mean?

We hear the word “community” a lot, especially around church. But what is it, really? 

We have relationships all around us. We’re meant for connection with God and with other people.

The closest friends, the most supportive family members, the people who understand you when no one else seems to—that’s the essence of being in community. Those are the kind of connections NewSpring Groups are all about.

The point of community isn’t just to connect; it’s to move forward together.

Real community isn’t just based on proximity but on purpose. The point of community isn’t just to connect; it’s to move forward together. The best friendships are the ones that help each other take a step closer to Jesus.

Four Benefits of Being in Community

1. You are known.

Friends know you: your fears, hopes, struggles, values, weaknesses, and strengths. Every one of us should be known and valued for who we are because we are each known by God and valuable to Him (Psalm 139:13-16).
 
You can help your friends grow more comfortable and share more of yourselves with each other. Your willingness to share your heart, struggles, victories, and honest thoughts will encourage them to follow your example. The more transparent you are, the more potential that relationship has to grow.

2. You trust and are trusted.

Trust is like oxygen to the life of your relationships. An atmosphere lacking trust will choke your momentum and can cause friendships to fizzle out. On the other hand, an atmosphere thick with trust helps foster amazing experiences and conversations that help you and your friends take your next steps in your walks with Jesus.

Because Jesus is trustworthy to us, we strive to be trustworthy to others (Psalm 31:14-15). We can instill confidence in our friends by helping them focus their trust in God (Proverbs 3:5, Psalm 56:3-4). Trust paves the way for more next steps together.

3. You love sincerely.

We learn how to love by looking at Jesus. He gave up something (His life) so we can be given something (eternal life). He shows us that love is looking out for the wellbeing of another person, no matter the cost­—and that’s what we can do for the friends closest to us (Philippians 2:3-8).

God sent Jesus to pay for our sins, not because of our great love for God, but because of His great love for us (1 John 4:19). And because of God’s love for us, we have the ability to love each other (1 John 4:11).

4. You invest in each other.

The best friendships don’t exist in a vacuum. Relationships grow stronger as two or more people walk together through more experiences. Next steps are a conversation, not a one-time event.

Jesus helped His friends take their next steps. They were fishermen when He found them, but through their time and relationship with Jesus, they were changed forever. Jesus saw their potential to be leaders of the church someday (Luke 5:1-11).

Sometimes our friends will lovingly correct us, and other times we will lovingly correct them. No matter who helps whom, we’re all taking next steps together, and that is what the best friendships are all about.

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