Fullerton Free In Community
By Fullerton Free | March 25, 2021
Human beings are naturally driven towards community. We seek out other people who share the same backgrounds, interests, careers and everything else. But for us, community isn’t just getting together on a Sunday, it’s about sharing life together with all of its ups and downs. We share each other’s joys while we carry one another’s burdens. This community isn’t exclusive or restrictive. Instead, all the barriers of status, color, age and class are dropped and we fellowship with each other as one. It’s where we know others and are being known, as God models community for us in the Trinity, where Father, Son and Spirit are all in perfect unity and love.
To encourage us to practice the discipline of community, we asked some of our FF family to share with us how they have experienced and practiced being in community. May you be encouraged by the ways they practice this discipline and maybe even be inspired to practice in a similar way. No matter what, our prayer is that you would take time listening to God, diving deeper into your relationship with Him as we practice this discipline together.
“When hearing the message on Sunday I was reminded of the sweetness of longevity in community. Apart from my familial relationships, I did not experience this until college. Within this newfound community, I was exposed to a new kind of vulnerability. I think most humans fear being unknown or misunderstood. A community that is Christ-centered helps balance that fear, it reaches toward the stranger with an invitation and fosters humility in numbers. No one is better than the other, all are welcome at the foot of the cross. For me, community discipline means staying in the community, even when it feels burdensome or scary. Being deeply known and misunderstood is scary, being deeply known and loved is one of the sweetest gifts this side of heaven.” -Rachel Alexander
“Our family has an amazing neighborhood community. One of the things I love about this group is that we came together in the weirdest of times. About two months into what my husband calls ‘The “Rona’ we were all pretty desperate to find safe outlets for our kids. So we decided to form a ‘pod.’ As we spent time together our kids became friends, but maybe even more awesome is that we parents became close friends too. We have a standing Friday night engagement where one family cooks dinner for everyone, the kids destroy our houses and the parents play games. We grab donuts on the weekends. We babysit each other’s kids. We do a Sunday afternoon hike. We’ve started a neighborhood workout group and have most recently begun a Bible study. I would never wish for another pandemic but I can’t be totally sad about COVID because it brought these relationships into my life.” -Susie Ginther
“When I think of community, I think of the people in whose company I find joy in. It’s my friends and I on a hike, it’s sharing a meal with family, it’s listening to a sermon with fellow believers. Community is interesting because it necessitates the sincerity of connection, but with the complexity of many individuals.
I met my best friends in college, and now we’re all married — our community no longer contains three single men who share mutual loves of sports, movies and thinking about life’s big questions. Now, our community contains those same men, but also our respective wives, with whom we share different interests. Each one of us have a unique relationship with the other, and our community is the unique combination of those unique relationships. For it to thrive, we have to constantly listen, learn from, and love one another, even if we may think we know everything about each other from the time we’ve spent together. It’s one of the most rewarding aspects of my life and every day I’m grateful that God put this community in my life. Similar to other disciplines we’ve talked about in this series, Community is a lifelong learning process with lifelong rewards.” -Matthew Faris
“My community discipline experience left me feeling like we really accomplished something good for the neighborhood and His church. When my husband and I were first married we attended the church he grew up in. Christ Community Church. YES! It’s right in the center of the name, COMMUNITY! One member of the church was a single mom of three children, who had been divorced a few years. Her house hadn’t been painted, the shrubs were overgrown, and the grass hadn’t seen a lawn mower in years. When her neighbors had complained that her house was an eye-sore to the neighborhood, she reached out to the church congregation for help.
One Saturday we showed up to her house and teams were set up for painting, trimming and mowing. Whoever had the equipment brought it! We had the best time! Neighbors started walking over and asked how they could help. Her neighbors wanted to know what church we were from — great conversations started from that question. Music was playing, the house was looking great, we ordered pizza and before we knew it the work was done. One member even left his mower so she can keep up with the lawn.
The response we had during and after was His amazing reveal in our acts of KINDNESS, LOVE, PATIENCE, SELF-CONTROL, JOY, GOODNESS, GENTLENESS, PEACE and FAITHFULNESS knowing it was all done in His name! The best part was introducing new members from her neighborhood a few Sundays later.” -Raćhel Stolk
“I am so thankful for the many gifts that God gives us, a big one being community. We were created to be with one another and designed to be in community. I have had different seasons where the idea of community was kind of intimidating and difficult. Transitions, change and finding your community can be overwhelming. It can be exhausting getting out of your comfort zone and trying new things. Especially now as we have had over a year apart. There can be anxiety and the fear of not being known. Let me encourage and remind you that you’re not alone and you are known. You are known and seen by the God of the universe. God values community and can redeem anxiety, pain and loneliness. As things are starting to open up, coming back to the community may feel weird or maybe your desire for community began during quarantine and you don’t know where to start. You are not alone and you are seen, known and valued in God’s kingdom. So I encourage you – say hi to the people you sit next to, get involved with that group or event that has been on your heart, get plugged in and prayerfully lean into the community God may be leading you to. Every time I spend time with my Fullerton Free community, at Closer Walk where I’m an intern, Basecamp with my fellow college students or with my intergen Adult Fellowship class, my cup is refilled and I am blessed. It is a gift to see each other at church or on zoom. God has done a lot in my life through community and it has definitely been a journey. Choosing to trust God and face the unknown can be overwhelming but what I have learned is that when I choose to trust the Lord and pursue His plans, it is so sweet!” -Jane Locke