I feel like this is something we "church people" hear all the time, but how many of us really know how to do it? How many of us are actually doing it? I would say that until recently, we weren't. But now that we are, I love it & pray that every member of the Body of Christ would experience it too!
Our church is big on life groups. As in, if you attend our church regularly, you will feel like that's almost all we talk about & you'll receive phone calls from people inviting you to them. Our life groups are based on the Acts church - a small group of people who love Jesus & who spend time together singing, reading scripture, praying together, eating together, encouraging one another & holding each other accountable. We know what is going on in each other's lives & we help each other out. (Is every group functioning like this? Probably not. We are human after all - every participant needs to be willing, group leaders need to set the stage, etc. But this is the goal of our church leadership.)
We have been in the same life group for 3.5 years. People have come & gone, but there is a core group of us who have been there the whole time, & a lot of new fairly new people from the past year or so. Some older, some younger; lots of kids, mostly little ones. We don't all look the same or act the same & we wouldn't necessarily hang out together socially if we happened to randomly meet. We're not a group of friends who decided to make a life group. We are a diverse group of people who have one main thing in common: we are a part of the Body of Christ.
When you are with a group of committed people for that long, you will encounter obstacles to your relationship. You will see that every person is flawed. They might even get on your nerves. (They probably will.) But we are committed to love one another. So we've had tough conversations, we've had tears, we've had hours upon hours of prayer together & apart, we've had times where we fought spiritual battles for each other. But we've stuck it out & now I feel we are benefiting from that. We are truly a family. We love each other.
I am blessed to have been able to be a part of this group & to know what it is really like to be part of the Body of Christ. So many people just fight through life on their own. Even some Christians. We're not meant to! We are meant to live in community. That's how we were designed. We miss out big time if we aren't doing it. It's hard work & it's not always pretty. But it's so good. No matter where we are in life, for the rest of our time on earth, Josh & I will always pray to be a part of Biblical community & we will always seek it out. It's a vital part of the life of a believer & we praise God for His perfect plan for us. It's a good one!