|image courtesy of ElvertBarnes via flickr|
We have an innate need for community. In the Trinity, God gives us the perfect model of what this should look like. The Father, the Son, and the Spirit are always in unity, despite their different roles.
Our need for community must primarily be met by the Lord who created and redeemed us. Blaise Pascal wrote that man "tries in vain to fill [his cravings] with everything around him, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object, in other words, by God himself."
Human relationships are not meant to fulfill us, and are powerless to do so outside of the context of gospel.
Nevertheless, community is important, and we have experienced this as we have struggled with isolation. In the past 15 years, 99% of my community (with peers, mentors, and those I’ve mentored) has come through Grace Church. But now with us in Allendale, many of these relationships have understandably changed.
These changes haven’t just affected me, but my wife and children as well. In fact, caring family and friends repeatedly ask us how our children are doing with these changes, and they really have been doing well. They are at a great phase of life where they can adjust to and enjoy this mission for our family. But we also need to make sure that we work diligently to help them feel security, stability, and familiarity in this transition.
One thing that has been beneficial is continuing to follow and teach what they would have been learning in their programming. I’m thankful that the Children’s Ministry of Grace Church publishes their curriculum outline; now on Sunday evenings, I read them what they would have learned. Though it may not be as thorough as what they would have had in their church small groups, I can tailor it to who they are and what I feel they need. No matter where we live, we need to help our children in their spiritual formation. They need us to continually lead them toward Christ.
We also can download and print their take-homes. We do the S’moreCards together, and then they do their ROAD Bible study through the week (see the website, and look under Elementary). This routine is what we had done when we lived in Greenville, and has helped them stay connected to our “home” church.
We have mostly attended Vision Ministries worship services (under the teaching of Pastor Joe Mole), as this is the church that Grace has been working with. But we can also get the teaching from Grace each weekend. Whereas audio versions have been available for some time now, Joanna and I are both thankful that the videos of the teaching are now available (see the Resources-Teaching page). It’s better for us to watch the teacher, instead of just listening (where we tend to be more easily distracted). Here is one example of this recorded teaching:
And if you want to stay connected to us (besides what’s on this blog), you can sign up for our bi-monthly electronic newsletter, by checking out this post.
So thankful for family, friends, and a church (and for awesome technology) that help us stay connected!