Community is central to the Bible’s view of what church is all about. The word that gets to the essence of community in the New Testament is koinonia, often translated as "fellowship." It is expressive of an intimate communion or close relationship. We are first of all in fellowship with God. We are called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord (1 Cor. 1:9). We share all spiritual blessings in union with Christ. In the great trinitarian blessing Paul prays that the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all (2 Cor. 13:14). That vertical community is what creates the horizontal community that we share with fellow believers. Because we have fellowship with God we can have fellowship with one another (1 John 1:3).
Worship on Sunday morning is key to nourishing that fellowship as we hear God speak to us in his Word and respond with praise and prayer, ending our worship in sweet communion at the Lord’s table. But that cannot satisfy our need for fellowship. We need a place where we are known and loved as we are. We all crave the human fellowship that reminds of God’s acceptance of us with all our warts and blemishes.
That is why we have community groups. They are places where we can share life together in Christ. Places where we can encourage one another and spur one another on to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24-25). The heart of a community group is sharing our journey together in Christ and praying for one another. It is a place of laughter, love, and meditation on God’s Word applied to our individual lives. A place to question, discuss, and learn from one another. As my wife said on our way home after a meal together this summer, “I really like our community group.” That is the goal of community groups – building family together in Christ.