“The first service one owes to others in a community involves listening to them. Just as our love for God begins with listening to God’s Word, the beginning of love for others is learning to listen to them. God’s love for us is shown by the fact that God not only gives God’s Word, but also lends us God’s ear.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together
“Community.” It is a word that has come up over and over again as we work with young adults and university students. As we talk about our relationship with God and our relationship with others, the expressed need for community is something that has caught our attention. “It’s not enough to simply meet and study the Bible together. We need to know each other,” said one of the young adults we meet with regularly. There is a desire to know and be known and it is something that the Nueva Vida small group has been pursuing and is committed to continue to pursue as the group grows and includes new people. We’ve grown from one group to two house groups and in the new house group the participants have expressed how they have longed for a place to study God’s word, listening and learning from others, experiencing authentic community. “It’s not very often you can find a place where people are open to listening to you and your ideas,” one participant shared. Often times the meetings have gone up to three hours as people talk and share about their lives and people genuinely enjoying being together.
This past weekend we had the opportunity to spend time together at the local Botanic Gardens as we enjoyed a picnic. We had the opportunity to play together, listen to one another, learn a little more about the different people who make up this community and be encouraged by one another. It was a special time. Every time we come together is special – whether it’s to make cookies or study the book of Ephesians or to serve as tutors for high school students struggling academically. We are all different; we come from different places; have had different experiences, but in Christ we are united and we need each other.