What is community? I think it’s people surrounding other people living in a way that supports, uplifts, and points people to Jesus. It’s about being real, sharing the good and the bad, laughing together, weeping together, being still together and just being in each other’s lives.
This year I’ve thought a lot about community. Sometimes we try to create a formula to fit all the people into a specific group and call it community, but I’ve seen more often than not this just doesn’t jive for most folks. We are all unique individuals who click with some and not with others.
Over the course of several months I’ve had the honor of being a part of an unexpected community. It formed overnight, literally, and involved 500 people. How can this be community you ask? How can you connect with 500 people? I’ve wondered about this mystery myself.
It all started with Jen Hatmakers new book “For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards”. I saw on Facebook one night that Jen was looking for a Launch Team to read her new book before it came out and share their thoughts about it with whomever would listen. On a whim I applied to be on the team and somehow out of 5000 applications was chosen to be one of the 500 on the team. I honestly couldn’t believe it, but it came at a time when I needed something out of the norm. I needed something for me.
The day we got the email letting us know we were part of the team there was a link to join a private Facebook group just for these members. My newsfeed blew up with messages from people I had never met. There was this common thread – Jen’s book. This common bond overrode the not knowing each other and propelled conversations, prayers, encouragement, and hilarity.
In For the Love, Jen talks often of community. She says “I meet women all over the country, and I look so many in the eyes and see loneliness. People crave what they have always craved: to be known and loved, to belong somewhere. Community is such a basic human need. It helps us weather virtually every storm. If Jesus’ basic marching orders were 1.) to love God and 2.) to love people, then the fruit of that obedience includes being loved by God and loved by people. We give and get here. According to Jesus, the love of God and people is the substance of life.”
Are you involved in community? Do you have a group of people who know you and you know them? Do you have people that you trust? A tribe you can laugh with and cry with? If not, why not take the first step? Find some people around you that you’d like to get to know better and make a plan.
It has been a breath of fresh air to participate in this diverse community these many months. I will likely never meet all of these lovely people in person, yet I feel connected to them.
“We are called to this work, and it might not seem like much, but if you play your one note and I play mine and she plays hers, together it will create a beautiful song that sounds like freedom for the captives and good news to the poor. May the broken hearted be healed and ashes turned to beauty in our generation.” Jen Hatmaker
Each of us is playing our note, together we are a symphony – may the music we make last for eternity.
Today is launch day. If you pre-ordered, your books should be coming soon and check your email b/c your info on your freebies just might be there today. If you haven’t bought the book yet, now is a great time. It’s just half price on Amazon today. Here is the link to the book’s webpage – forthelovebook. Enjoy!