First & Lasting Impressions

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you
Philippians 1:3

As I am writing this blog, I just wrapped up a great meeting with some of our First Impression Team leaders. Our First Impression Team serves faithfully week after week to ensure all of the guests that walk through our doors are extended the hospitality and love we have received from Christ. We were sinners, and God forgave us and adopted us into His family. We were outcasts, and Christ loved us past our past. We want our guests to have this impression of Christ through our tangible love and fellowship.

Here in Philippians, Paul writes of his impression of the church in Philippi. He had a joyful and thankful account of the Philippian church because of their fellowship in the ministry of the Gospel. This church partnered with Paul and became co-laborers with him in reaching the Gentiles with the Gospel message.

Fellowship or partnership together requires intentional effort. Hebrews 10:24, tells us to “consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds.” We are to contemplate and strategize ways we can express God’s love relationally to one another. As we have received of this love from God, we walk in love with others. How do you cultivate community intentionally?

Have healthy expectations

Not everyone in your local church will be your best friend, but you can have a few deep relationships. Connect with many and develop significant friendships with few. Are you involved in a home discipleship group? Are you engaged in significant and meaningful ministry to others?

Baby Steps are okay

Living in community doesn’t mean everyone immediately is allowed to be “up in your grill.” You probably won’t let everyone in to your inner circle, but work at letting someone in. Have you been hurt by others? Allow God to heal the hurt, and let the walls that keep you isolated to come down. As you connect in the community of the local church, you will realize there are many others who have similar stories as you.

Take Some Ownership

Realize that community is everyone’s job, not everyone else’s job. Ask yourself, “how much effort am I putting into connecting with others?” Community is essential in our walk with God. We are loved by Him and in turn are able to love others. Remember, it doesn’t matter to God whether you have your life all put together or not. None of us have arrived to perfection yet. Find your identity in Christ and connect through community.

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