My friend Josh and I talked about community over a meal at our local Culver’s Restaurant. Out of that conversation, three truths emerged about a sustained presence in community.
Begin with passion. This isn’t anything new. I’ve written about this before (check out “Small Town Triples in Size Overnight”). In Josh’s case, he loves wrestling (not watching WWE or horsing around with friends; but the real go-to-the-mat stuff). Something that involves wrestling gets his attention.
Find challenging people. Someone who knew Josh and his love for wrestling invited him to a Christian wrestling club. The group meets weekly and focuses the first 90 minutes on wrestling. They challenge each other to improve as wrestlers, but not just as wrestlers.
Move into a deeper and wider purpose. Purpose in community always has two distinct directions—deeper down and further out.
The guys who meet on Tuesday evenings not only wrestle with one another, but they also wrestle with Scripture in order to grow deeper in their faith. They spend the final hour together in study, conversation, and prayer. That’s going deeper down.
Paul wrote to Timothy, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth” (II Timothy 2:15 NIV).
In learning to live out their faith, Josh and his friends follow this advice: “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17 NIV).
The further out for Josh and friends involves a Brazil connection, a jujitsu instructor in São Paulo. Four guys from the local group travel every year to São Paulo in order to help shape the lives of young men who’ve grown up in impoverished conditions.
Josh made the trip this past summer and shared both his wrestling skills and his love for Jesus Christ on the jujitsu mat and in a Brazilian prison.
Let’s ask a few questions to think through your specific community in Christ.
What’s a strong passion in your life? Do you love sports or working on cars or baking or reading? Can you take your passion and find others who love what you love?
How do you build in a recognized deeper purpose? This isn’t meant to be stealth evangelism. The community recognizes their common interest but want to take that interest and springboard it into a deeper connection to Christ and His people.
How can the community take its deeper love and reach further out? Growing deeper seems to happen when the community’s purpose includes looking beyond the group. How can you connect your passion to the nearby needs of others?
In Josh’s case, the wrestling club worked all year doing what they loved while focused on a particular outreach, a Christian jujitsu club in São Paulo, Brazil. Not everyone traveled there but everyone helped prepare the group through their study, conversation, and prayer in community.
I’m curious. Where have you seen passion and purpose connect to create a thriving community? What is something you love that could serve to connect with others in Christian community?
“Lean on Me” by April McGowan (great story illustrating how compassion connects)
“The 3 Components of Job Satisfaction” by Michael Hyatt (passion is one of the 3)
“Small Group Surprises” by Jon Acuff (recognizing you still have a way to go to know others)
Two men. Two eternal destinies.
One common hope.
A poignant and compelling portrayal of heaven and hell, with a powerful look at redemption from the perspective of both the lost…and the saved. Well done!–Susan May Warren, best-selling, award-winning author of You Don’t Know Me.
“Dark Eyes, Deep Eyes” was a compelling read for me. The vivid descriptions challenged and ignited my imagination. Tom skillfully laid out a clever story that caused me to think and made me want to read to the end.–Ron Fruit GM, WRCO Radio
Dark Eyes, Deep Eyes can be found at:
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