By Lindsay Hall
Recently, someone asked: “Could someone explain to me why Watermark believes ‘living in community’ is biblical and necessary? Who defines community? How is it defined?”
All great questions! And, if I’m honest, I think I might have had similar questions when I first attended Watermark in 2010. I heard everyone talking about community and their own personal experience with their community group and I couldn’t help but wonder, “what’s the big deal about community?! I have my friends…isn’t that enough?”
The hope and mission of community at Watermark is to connect people into authentic relationships that lead to spiritual transformation. However, we didn’t come up with this concept on our own; it’s a principle given to us directly from the Bible. That’s why we believe it is important, and that is where we find it defined and described. Some examples from Scripture:
We are called to accountability.
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. – James 5:16
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. — Proverbs 27:17
He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. —Colossians 1:28
We are called to encourage one another.
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. — 1 Thessalonians 5:11
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. — Hebrews 3:13
We are called to live life in humility.
Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. —Romans 12:10
Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. — Romans 15:7
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. — Philippians 2:3-4
Community is modeled for us in Scripture.
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. — Acts 2:42-47
Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. — 1 Thessalonians 5:12-14
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up…Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. — Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, 12
You’ll notice that in all of those passages, we are called to do life with others because it is for our own good!
My life, walk with the Lord, and views on community have been radically transformed in the past 3 years. (You can read more about my own transformation here.) I get so excited to report that mine is not the only life that I’ve seen change when making the choice to dive in, head-first, into living out and following these principles! So many of you are also choosing to live a life of authenticity with one another for the sake of the gospel to be lived out in your lives!
Living life in community and following the commands of these Scriptures isn’t always easy…sometimes it gets messy. I can tell you, though, that living life in biblical community has been so worth it.
I am so thankful that God has made us in such a way that requires us to need one another in order to experience more fullness in Him. We were never intended to journey alone.
P.S. If you're ready to jump into a Watermark Community Group, join us at our next GroupLink!