Discipleship

Why Community is Important for Spiritual Growth

Jeff Nieman

Western culture emphasizes the importance of the individual. With technology and packed schedules increasingly distracting us, we are becoming more disconnected than ever. Families are drifting apart, and neighbors are just people we pass on the street.

Christians have even incorporated this individualism into the way we follow God. Individual study and prayer are great, but if they are our primary methods of spiritual growth, we miss out on the important benefits of experiencing Christ with others.

Benefits of a Community for Spiritual Growth

So what would it look like to shift from our emphasis on individual growth and one-on-one discipleship to a community approach?

The answer lies partly in building relationships. With a community approach, interconnected relationships between community members are important, not just an individual’s relationship with the leader. Communities are stronger when members meet together to encourage and support one another.

Discipleship within a faith community also has the potential for greater inward and outward impact:

  • Community helps bring the Word of God to life.
  • Communal prayer ignites life-change.
  • Community is essential for effective evangelism.
  • Community plays an important role in character growth.

Faith communities can happen inside and outside of the local church. They are open groups of people – often diverse in age, ethnicity or stage of life – who are dedicated to learning together about God. These community groups pray for each other, read God’s Word, talk about life, reach out to others in need and provide true friendship.

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