As I grow older, I increasingly see and understand the importance of living in community with one another. I have seen and experienced the joy it brings, the strength and character development it fosters, both in my life and in the lives of those around me.
Through these experiences, I appreciate on a deeper level why God made us to be in community; why it was that at the very beginning, God said that "It is not good that the man should be alone” (Gen 2:18). We were not made to be individualistic, dependent only on ourselves — rather humbly dependent on God and interdependent in our relationships as we serve one another.
More recently, I’ve been immensely encouraged by those around me at GWAC.
Not only do I see how we embrace and encourage each other in our strengths, but how we support each other in our weaknesses, without judgement or shame. As Paul encouraged the Colossians to “bear with each other” and to “forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13), I see this being emulated among those within our community. When we take the courage to be vulnerable by acknowledging our weaknesses or limitations to our brothers and sisters in Christ, the response from our community is one that stems from a loving and caring heart with compassion to help, thus creating an environment that could only be described as safe, genuine, and authentic.
I have personally seen this at work in many areas of my own life. When I have struggled or made mistakes, others have encouraged me on as well as held accountable. Where I lack certain skills, others are gifted in these areas and bring assistance. Through the understanding of my limitations, I am humbled. I am amazed by made how unique God has made each one of us; each remarkably different so that we bring something special to the community, as one body in Christ belonging to one another (Romans 12:5). As a member of a GWAC gospel community and the Envisioning Task Force this is something that I have been constantly reminded of.
I hold sincere love for the GWAC community, a family that I am invested in; I am excited for what the next five years will bring, for where God will lead and guide us in this coming season. As disciples of Jesus, I am excited to hear your thoughts on how we can better reach, welcome, and live out the value of ‘Authentic Community’. Each of you will bring something unique to GWAC and its ministries; so let’s work together, modelling and striving towards a welcoming, inclusive community that boldly shares the love of God with those around us, because it is not something that we are meant to do alone.