Debbie Burgess explains what being part of a church community means for her.
I am single, and that makes community really important to me, because the danger is that I can choose a life that is quite independent and without others if I wanted to. So, I actively work hard to try and create community in my life.
One of the things I like to do is to give friends coming to my home, (whether for the first time or after many visits), “fridge rights”. I like them to come into my house, and feel like they could make themselves a cup of tea, help themselves to a biscuit, or maybe have a little look around, to see what they might like to eat. For me, home is where I am, and anyone coming into it is really welcome to come and chill out, and make themselves at home as well.
Over the last year, something I have been doing, is trying to host meals for people to mix and meet other people as well. It’s really struck me, reading the Bible, that Jesus modelled this*. He was often at meals, or hosting meals, attending weddings, going to festivals, and spending time with other people.
It’s something I would like to try and model as best I can, firstly because it’s great meeting new people, and second, because it’s great getting to know my current friends better.
So how do I do it? I invite people to my house, for a meal or barbecue or just to hang out in the garden, watch TV or a movie, - it doesn’t have to be anything particularly special. It might be going to a restaurant (I’ve got some vouchers which reduce the price of the meal both for myself and my friends), going out for walks, doing sport, whatever you like, however it looks.
People do community in different ways, and it’s just about spending time together, that really helps build friendships and common experience.
Why should we do it? What’s the point? If you look at Scripture, we weren’t made for doing life on our own. God says we are no longer orphans, but in a family, when we come to Christ. So, I just want to make the most of that, really. I’m not an orphan – I’m part of a family. I have a biological family, whom I love, but also a Christian family as well. That’s why community is important to me. I love it – I love people, and it creates a space where you can learn from other people without judging them.
* An example of Jesus doing community can be found in John 1:37-39: “Two men went after Jesus. Jesus turned. He saw them coming after him. He said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said, “Teacher, where do you live?”. Jesus said, “Come and see”. They went and saw the place where Jesus was staying. The time was about 4pm. They stayed with Jesus the rest of the day”.
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds”. Heb 10:24