Community is a loaded word. It can mean so much in our lives. If you have a community, you have people that accept you unconditionally. If you have community, you have a group to share your inner thoughts with. If you have community, you have friends to share the highs and lows of your life. If you have community, you have a group to help you get your hands dirty and make a difference.
Community seems to be a fading concept. Most of those that I encounter are starving for community, but don't know how to find it. Our world seems to think they don't have time for it. Our world doesn't seem to know how to form it or how to contribute to it. I'm not sure why, but our world seems to be letting go of community. Over the last 50 years, while society has been growing more and more prosperous and individualistic, our social connections have been dissolving.
Emily Esfahni Smith from The Atlantic describes the price for our social disconnection:
"We volunteer less. We entertain guests at our homes less often. We are getting married less. We are having fewer children. And we have fewer and fewer close friends with whom we'd share the intimate details of our lives. We are denying our social nature, and paying a price for it. Over the same period of time that social isolation has increased, our levels of happiness have gone down, while rates of suicide and depression have multiplied."
I have never been great at sitting still. After our grand opening I paused to consider what was next for Northwest. It was clear to me that this will be a year of community. On Sept 11th, Northwest kicks off Life Groups after our summer break. We have a few new groups and opportunities for community. If you feel like you haven't found your community, we hope you will give some thought and prayer to joining a life group.