It's safe little community where I can be me without fear because the worst thing that can happen is that nobody repins my pins. Being who I am in real life isn't quite that simple. There is a lot more at stake than lack of pinning.
The message a PCC today was entitled "Don't Go Alone." It was a message on the importance of community, and yet again, it made me cry. (Seriously, what is wrong with me?!) Eric and Tyler did a great job of showing how community takes us from here to there - or from where we are now to the place that God is calling us to be. Their message was simple. Community moves us from:
- complacency to commitment through accountability.
- hypocrisy to transparency through authenticity.
- judgement to understanding through acceptance.
- vulnerability to security through assurance.
As I have processed this a bit, the word that stands out the most to me is vulnerability. I think it is the hitch-pin to the concept because so many of these facets are beyond our control. We cannot control how or when others hold us accountable. We cannot control whether others will judge us or understand us as we look for their acceptance. We have no assurance that when we are vulnerable, we will be secure. The only thing that we can be 100% sure of is that we can choose to be transparent through our authenticity.
Don't get me wrong, I am a HUGE fan of community. As the ministry assistant to Adult:Life, it is not only my job but my passion to help others connect in it, but I can also see why so many people choose not to enter in. In Journey Groups, one of the main things we emphasize to our group leaders is to provide a place that is safe for those who attend their groups. But, until people experience what it is like to be in a truly safe community, they will be hesitant.
I learned a lot about community in the last year. I tasted true community with my Serbia team. They accepted me for who I was, assured me that I had a safe place to grow, and held me accountable as I took my first baby steps toward authenticity. It was an amazing experience, and in all honesty, I miss my team a lot. I see a few of them on a regular basis, but I rarely see others, and I feel like part of my heart is missing.
I have also been reminded this year that with vulnerability sometimes comes hurt, and that people are human, and that transparency when misunderstood can get you into trouble.
God has some amazing plans for PCC. Okay, maybe I haven't actually seen the plan, but I do know that He has blessed our church with some incredible leaders with a heart to not only draw our body into "a genuine and growing relationship with Jesus Christ" but to also teach us how to be in community with one another.
So while Pinterest can be a great form of distraction, I don't want to enjoy it too much, because for someone like me, it would be easy to find comfort in my friend lists on social media sites and lose sight of the ultimate goal of community. I have tasted and seen...and community is good.