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Looking Back: Reflections on Community

In May of 2008 our family moved to Kansas City to help launch Redeemer. We came with a commitment to proclaim the news that the Triune God of the universe exists in perfect community with himself, and that he made a way for us to be reconciled with him and with others through the work of Jesus on the cross. Community is something God invented and designed us to live in, so we made it one of the Core Values of our church.

We came to KC believing that proclaiming the message of the Jesus and living it out with people was something worth giving your life to. But community is difficult and messy because we are difficult and messy. Looking back over the last five years brings both laughter and tears, sorrow and deep abiding joy.

In the early days, community seemed to happen mostly at dinner tables. Then meals in homes grew into parties in back yards, which grew into gatherings at parks. After we had grown quickly that first summer, we began small groups to help carve out smaller spaces for people to live life together.

Both beautiful and awkward, these memories remind me that groups of people living life together looks the same today as it did in the first days of our church.

Sure, the scale is different. In the fall of 2008 we started with nine small groups. Today we have over 70 small groups spread throughout the Metro with hundreds of leaders, coaching and apprentice structures, and systems and processes necessary for organizing the 900 people in groups. But at its core, community today looks just like it did at the beginning:people living life together in back yards and on front porches, pushing one another to trust Jesus more, and proclaiming Christ to friends and neighbors who don’t know him.

And five years later that initial conviction has only grown stronger: living for God’s glory in community with God’s people is worth giving your life to.

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