When you don't feel good enough to join a Missional Community
I didn’t join a Missional Community (MC) until six months after I began attending The Well because I didn’t feel like I was good enough. I feared people would ask me questions like, “So how has your relationship with God been going?” and I would have to say, “Just ok,” when I wanted to be able to respond, “It’s the best it’s ever been!” I thought that if I put off joining an MC just one more week, then surely my life would be more together and my faith would be stronger. In one week’s time, when I did join an MC, they would be thrilled to have such a Spirit-filled addition instead of having to deal with someone struggling with sin upon sin upon sin.
But that didn’t happen.
Week after week, I put off joining an MC. I told myself that I wasn’t quite ready yet, that I’d join when I was reading my Bible and praying every day. I’d join once I had memorized all of the necessary verses to explain the Gospel concisely to my non-Christian friends. I’d join once I understood the entirety of Revelations.
Then, one day, I realized I was never going to get to where I wanted to be spiritually before committing to an MC, and I especially wasn’t going to get there on my own.
After I attended an MC for the first time, I realized the past six months of waiting were kind of a waste. I was trying to be good enough and trying to be a “good” Christian when someone could have saved me some time and told me, “By God’s grace, you are good enough, just as you are.” The beauty of MC is you come as you are, but I had a hard time believing that. I thought there was an asterisk to that statement. “MC - Come as you are!*”
*as long as you aren’t going to be a burden because you’re struggling with a bunch of stuff.
We are called to grow and love within our communities. I will always be struggling with something. But in an MC, we are able to experience the love of God through our relationships and pour into each other’s lives.
About a month into joining the MC, I noticed one of the guys I met during my first MC dinner hadn’t attended MC since that night. I assumed he was busy being engaged in a plethora of other godly activities. When he returned to MC after a six week absence, he said he hadn’t been coming because he’d been having a hard time with his faith. He didn’t want to have to honestly answer the question, “How are you?” As he told us this, he said, “After being around all of you again, though, I realize now that was really stupid.”
Our lives are better lived out in a community. Instead of struggling in silence, we are called to share our faith, confess our sins, encourage each other, and extend grace and love in a community of believers.
Ephesians 4:15-16 says, “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”
Even when it’s hard to admit when I’m struggling, especially if I’m dealing with the same sin week after week or year after year and I don’t want to admit I haven’t been freed from it, I know that my relationship with God will ultimately grow stronger in community than it will alone.
“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” - Ecclesiastes 4:9-10.