Lonely. Isolated. Unknown. We live in a more connected society than any generation in history, and yet those three words describe the everyday existence of the overwhelming majority of our lives. Lonely, even though we have a thousand Facebook friends. Isolated, even though we can tell you what the majority of those friends are doing and eating at any given point of any given day. And unknown, even though we share more about our thoughts, feelings, and lives than ever before. We spend hour after hour playing games that have no real benefit and never end. We scroll through the pictures, thoughts, joys, and struggles of our friends. We wonder why their life is so perfect when ours is such a mess. And we long for the comfort and security of being known yet still loved.
This is community: being really known and still loved. On February 21st, Red Hill Church is launching two Community Groups. Our hope for these groups is that they would be a place for real, gospel friendship to develop. When you have real, gospel friends you don’t have to live in shame or fear about the sin in your past. You have friends who will celebrate your wins and grieve your losses with you. Community is founded on, established through, and sustained by the hope of the gospel. The gospel, the truth that Jesus both loves and forgives us, frees us from the expectations of perfection that condemn and ruin friendships. The gospel gives us a reason to both give and receive love and forgiveness, which are the fuel of lasting friendships. The gospel sustains love between friends by reminding us that anything and everything can be forgiven.
At Red Hill, our hope is that people who feel lonely, isolated, and alone would come to a community group to observe and experience what real, gospel friendship looks like. Community isn’t a meeting. It isn’t a fellowship. It isn’t a class. Community is a group of people who commit to loving and forgiving one another. Don’t let fear and shame keep you from experiencing the warmth of friendship. The greatest need of our generation is the gospel, and the best place to discover what the gospel is all about is with real friends.
In the book, Everyday Church, Tim Chester says, “At the very heart of our vision is not a new way of doing events but the creation of Word-centered gospel communities in which people are sharing life with one another and with unbelievers, seeking to bless their neighborhoods, ‘gospeling’ one another and sharing the good news with unbelievers. The context for this gospel-centered community and mission is not events but ordinary, everyday life.”
This is community at Red Hill: everyday people living as friends in everyday life.
Here’s what you can expect at a Red Hill Community Group:
Food. We believe the best way to share your life is to share your table. So we eat together, and we usually share the burden of bringing food.
Prayer. We believe that God answers prayer. So we pray together at Community Group, and we pray for one another during the week.
Bible. We believe that the Bible is the very word of God. So we will open our Bibles and talk about what it means in every day life. You don’t have to be a Bible scholar to participate in discussion. We will help you along the journey of discovery, and we hope that you will also help us on ours!
We are beginning with two community groups, one led by Darren and Melanie Farris and the other led by Steven and Carrie Davis. For more information about how to get connected in one of our groups just email: email@example.com. We’re excited to see new friendships develop, and we believe that the love we share will make a difference in our lives, in our community, and in this generation!