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Vision Series: Together in Groups

Matthew 4:18-22; 8:23-27; 9:9-13; 10:1-8 CSBTrey VanCamp | September 4, 2022


Honest relationships, genuine connections, and healthy friendships are all hard to come by in our modern age. While we might experience increased connectedness through the internet and social media, most of us lack real friendships with other people. As a result, we default into radical individualism or rugged tribalism, both of which feed our experienced loneliness and isolation.

But the way of Jesus offers us a remedy to our loneliness by way of community.

When Jesus lived on earth, he entered a world of broken people and invited them to live life with him. And the community that he formed with these people wasn’t jeopardized by their drastic differences. Instead, their relationships with each other were strengthened by their commitment to their rabbi. Today, we can experience the same type of life-giving relationships by adopting Jesus’ 4 components of community: Proximity, Vulnerability, Practice, and Mission.


You can take interactive notes. At the end of the message, you can email the notes to yourself.


I come to bring you bad news. You’re thinking you just did that. Despite our mini attempts to ignore or redefine the situation we are in a recession. Now, this is what I believe. I’m certainly concerned about the economic recession. We find ourselves in, but there is another recession that has gone under the radar for far too long.

And I would argue it is much worse. We are in a friendship recession, according to a I survey center on American life in Gallup, the percentage of men with at least six close friends fell by half between 1990 and 2021 36% of all Americans. And this includes 61% young adults. 51% with mothers with young children.

Can I get an amen of the moms? They feel lonely. Seriously. Lone. and the stats are getting worse and worse. I saw a chart the other day and I interpreted it for you. There was a graph here is what they said, and this made me so sad on average. Now be clear here. This is America. This actually isn’t the world.

The world, a lot of other countries are better at community. We’re one of the worst at it. On average time spent with your family peaks at less than 15 years old. So if you’re above 15, You don’t hang out with your family nearly as much as you used to now, part of that’s practical, right? You get move out of the house, but part of it is also sad.

Here’s what’s really the worst your time spent with friends peaks at 18 years old. I don’t believe God designed us to live this way, but this is the problem we’re in you. You, your coworkers peaks at age 30. Sorry, Caleb. We’re done. Cuz I’m 30 now from here on you’re like, I don’t care. Okay. With children.

Peaks at 40 with your partner in life. Sadly it peaks at 70, which you know, because of death, but then your alone peaks at the very end, this is a sad reality of life just this week. Not that I follow them, but I did see a lot of other pastors repost Vox. They posted on social media about this friendship crisis.

And the comments on the Instagram were all over the place. Some of them said it’s because of capitalism. That’s what they said, why we’re in a friendship recession. Others says we are two individualistic, which I would. another person said, how can we have friends when we are so busy with this thing called a job?

And the last comment I saw it says smash the patriarchy. Aren’t a people amazing on social media and just for good measure to make sure that you’re not depressed yet. Science is telling us that social isolation literally weakens the immune system and increases your odds for heart disease dementia.

High blood pressure anxiety. There’s a book for that inflammation, diabetes, cancer, and depression. Aren’t you glad you came to church this labor day weekend, this entire series that we’ve been walking together is this whole idea of what does it mean to be a disciple or an apprentice or a student of Jesus we’ve been asking ourselves, does life have to be the way that we.

can we actually change our life? It’s a key biblical concept. You see all throughout the text, we like to call this phrase, spiritual formation and spiritual formation is just simply the realization that you can live life by default, which the scriptures call this living by the flesh or. You can take responsibility and live life by design the scriptures, call this by the spirit, especially in Galatians five, Paul contrasting the spirit and the flesh, and he says that those two are in conflict with each other.

And the reality is you and I cannot live within both every day. We are either, either living by design or we are living by default. And what I mentioned last week by default, you and I are formed by the. Which is the world to flesh the devil in tribes for the sake of self. But we’re saying the scriptures are saying, no, you can live by design because we can be formed by Jesus together for others.

And so we finished a couple weeks ago, what formed by Jesus means, which is incredibly difficult in our age of skeptic, skepticism, and distraction. But what I think is equally as difficult. Is to be together, honest relationships, genuine connections and healthy friendships are all hard to come by in this modern age while we might experience increased connectedness through the internet, social media.

Most of us lack real friendships with other people, especially as we get older and as a result, We default into what our culture is bathed in with radical individualism and rugged tribalism. And what it does is it feeds our sense of loneliness and isolation and makes our life worse and worse.

One of my favorite authors, he’s John mark comer. He details why our cultural moment may be more than ever is so difficult to live in community. He has this quote, he says the devil is just as aware of our need for a community as we. If not more and he uses that awareness to gain the upper hand in the fight, doing all he can to cut us off from community, with God’s people and from God himself in the digital age, we make his job a breeze hurry, pathological busyness, distraction, smartphone addiction, the constant stream of alerts and interruptions.

These all cut us off from community and feed our inordinate desire for autonomy. Cue the ax, Axiom. When Satan cannot make you bad, he makes you busy. The title of the message tonight is together in groups last week we mentioned, what does it mean to be together on Sundays? Thank you for being here. You applied last week’s message already, but today I want us to talk about what is the design that God has for us.

To be together in group. So open your Bibles to Matthew. We’re gonna be in Matthew four and then we’re actually gonna be jumping around all throughout Matthew to present a case. And here’s the case I wanna present to you tonight. Jesus has at least four components to community. Now let me be clear.

There’s so many aspects to community. You’re welcome. We’re gonna get outta here on time. I could say 20,000 components to community, but we want you to come again next week. So we’re just gonna stick with these four, but we think it’s a good place to start. So turn your Bible to Matthew four. We’re gonna look at verse.

18 and following just for some context, when you’re reading the Bible, you need to know a little bit what happened before, where it’s headed. And so Jesus had just been baptized in Matthew chapter three. He is starting his public ministry. He was tempted in the wilderness for 40 days, but now he’s starting now it’s the public ministry to reach out to people.

And one of the first moves he does. And. Spreading the good news of the kingdom is he gets his crew of disciples together. And so we read how that happens. Starting in verse 18 of Matthew chapter four, it says as he was walking along the sea of Galilee, Jesus saw two brothers Simon who was called Peter and his brother, Andrew.

They were casting Annette into the sea for, they were fishermen follow me. He told. We’ve been saying this phrase a lot during this series, we’re gonna say it for forever. We are Jesus followers. What he means. It’s not just Hey, go with me real quick. It’s a call of a lifetime. He’s saying be formed by my love, by my life.

And by my leadership become my disciple, become my Tama in the Hebrew. And so he says, and I will make you fish for. Now a lot of people kind of wonder, what does this mean? Is Jesus just noticing that they’re fishermen. And so now he’s just made up this phrase to fish for people. That’s not what he is doing.

This is actually a phrase that the Romans and the Greeks were already using for centuries. By the time Jesus was born here on earth. And so what this means make you fish for people. It’s essentially saying, Hey, I’m a rabbi. And I have a new way of life. That’s gonna persuade millions of people and I want you to join me in becoming like that.

It’s almost like entrepreneurs hearing this call, start this new thing with me. We’re gonna change the world. And that’s what he’s telling these disciples. And obviously it was a really good sales pitch and he’s God. So that’s what he can do. But immediately they left their nets and followed him. This is saying they could, they quit their job.

That’s what I wanna do with my life, whatever this is, you have Jesus. I want a rabbi. You’re calling me to be a disciple. That’s what’s also pretty incredible about this passage rabbis he’s picking his disciples. Jesus picks the most random normal crew. He doesn’t pick the super educated he picks fishermen and what a blessing that was.

So of course they left everything and followed him. And I pray that you do the same. If you haven’t already verse 21 going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James, the son of Zeeb and his brother, John. They were in a boat with ZDI, their father preparing their nets and he called them poor dad, look immediately.

They left the boat and their father piece out and followed. Jesus. So I want us to see this, what are the components to community and how does this apply to us? There was a lot of work ahead for Jesus, but notice, step one was proximity. Jesus just needed to be around. He wanted to have a community of people around him and that’s the invitation he has for you.

And for me, just know, he didn’t pick the best crew. He didn’t pick all these people that fits his personality. He picked a bunch of rag tag group of disciples, and that’s what we try to do with our together groups. We’re all different stages of life, but we just need to be in proximity. With each other.

Let me prove to you. Jesus did not pick perfect people. We all know the story we see here. Peter would continually have rage issues throughout the gospel of Matthew. He has a loud mouth. He is quick to. Chop off somebody’s ear. He has image issues. He’s worried about whatever to think about him.

You also have Andrew he’s one of the ones that was leading the way and doubting that Jesus could feed the 5,000 people. And then you have James and John, which we just read about James and John. They were brothers and Jesus grew to call them sons of thunder. Now that’s not a good thing. It’s not, he’s not saying like you’re Thor or anything like that.

He is saying you have major rage issues. there was one time in the gospels where the brothers come up and say, Hey, there’s these guys performing miracles in your name, but they’re not a part of our crew. So should we like kill ’em? And he’s if they’re not, if they’re not against us, they’re for us.

Calm down, John. All right. They’re sons of thunder. They have rage issues. This just should encourage you and encourage me. Here’s what Jesus does. And this is what the church does. We get in proximity with people who have problems. And their problems have problems. Amen. This is what Jesus does. This is what the church does.

Hear me. Jesus was not looking for maturity. He was looking for availability. Do you want Jesus to use your life? Don’t look and think, oh, am I perfect? Am I doing a lot? Would God be proud? Are you available? Do you show up? God does something incredible with that? This is step one to community. Get in proximity.

So many say, man, I don’t have any friends. You don’t show up anywhere. How are you gonna have friends? Nobody said hi, did you say hi to anybody? No. Okay. Get in proximity. This is hard for the introverts, this whole sermon. They’re like, ah, I don’t like this. You need, you gotta figure it out.

All right. Here’s the next passage? Matthew 8 23 through 27. I want us to look at the next step to community. So you have Matthew four just happened five through seven. Is the sermon on. Which honestly we’ve already preached through. I wanna preach through it again, cuz it’s just incredible vision that Jesus has for the kingdom.

But I love verse 23, this story, after that teaching he’s now with his disciples again. And so as he got into the boat, his disciples followed him suddenly a violent storm arose on the sea so that the boat was being swamped by the waves. But Jesus kept sleeping. Next time, your spouse is trying to wake you up.

You’re saying I’m being like Christlike right now. I’m just gonna keep sleeping through this. Okay. This is what Jesus does. I love it. He’s taking a nap. Naps are biblical. All right, next verse. So the disciples came and woke him up saying, Lord, save us. We’re going to die too many of us read our Bibles.

Lord, can you save us? Is, we are going to die. No, they’re freaking out God, we’re what’s happening. The next verse he said to them, why are you afraid? You have little. Also by the way you read scripture shows how you picture God, how you picture Jesus. I like to think when he’s saying this, he’s just being, it’s a loving, like fatherly ah, you a little faith, you got so much to learn, man.

We’re in this, you haven’t seen all the miracles I’ve already done. Come on. So then he got up, he rebuke the winds in the sea and there was a great. The men were amazed and asked, what kind of man is this? Even the winds and the sea obey him. Jesus has a way of doing this in your life. He’s the one who got you into the boat.

The storm now hits you’re in this situation because God told you to be in it. And it looks like God’s asleep. Where are you? God, I’m here only because you told me to be. And now I feel like you’re nowhere. At all, what God loves to do, what I’ve noticed in my life. He often doesn’t fix the problem until you deeply feel the problem until you really know how much you need Jesus.

But here’s also what I believe he’s doing in this moment with this community. I believe the next step he is doing is calling this community to vulnerability. We tend to privatize this reaction, but notice this, they got vulnerable. we are going to die. We are in a tough situation. What are we going to do?

And I believe Jesus took a nap because what happens in community is when we get scared together, when we sweat together, when we hurt together, that vulnerability creates a deeper intimacy of friendship. And too often, we are too scared to get that far friendship. Jesus community requires vulner. Quick, let’s look at the next steps.

So that’s two steps. Let’s look at Matthew chapter nine, starting in verse nine. So as Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. Jubal what was his other name? Possibly Levi. He texted the group this week. My children didn’t know. No, your children knew that his other name was Levi and they were calling you out cuz you didn’t know.

Okay. That’s amazing. That’s what together groups do we make? Fun of ourselves. All right. So he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax. Which, what does that mean? He is a tax collector and he said to him, follow me. And so he got up and followed him, totally left his job. So while he was reclining at the table in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came to eat with Jesus and his disciples.

Jesus preached the sermon on the Mount and now he’s living it. He’s saying my kingdom is for the least of these, somebody hang out with the sinners. Who need the father? Look, when the Pharisees saw this, they asked the disciples, why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners? Now, when he heard this, he said, it is not those who are well, who need a doctor, but those who are sick, go and learn what this means.

I desire mercy in that sacrifice. I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners. Here’s the next step we have in community that you need to live a life together. Step three is practice. Jesus preaches the kingdom. and now they’re living it. This is one of the hardest things to do. Here’s what Jesus was doing with his disciples.

They were learning to practice hospitality. They were learning to forgive, to listen, to serve. I promise you, they were stressed out that they were with tax collectors and sinners. Some of these guys were good. Sunday school, all stars. They grew up memorizing the Torah and now they’re with sinners. Jesus is teaching them rethink your way of community.

It is one thing to dream of community, which we mentioned last week and we see a beautiful picture of community in the sermon on the mountain, but it’s another thing to do. And so Jesus puts the disciples on himself in situations, not just to say we love the sinner. We are four of those who are out there know he actually gets involved and is with those who are not like him.

So that’s the next step practice. Let me be, let me keep going. That’s let’s move to the last step. Matthew chapter 10, one through four. Then Jesus was led up by the spirit and to the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. Sorry I did the wrong. We need ten one through four. Is there any way that you can, I messed that up?

So let me read it, Matthew 10, not Matthew four, Matthew 10, one through four says summon English, 12 disciples. He gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to heal every disease and sickness. And so these are the names of the 12 apostles. This was like, Together group. This was his crew first Simon.

Who’s called Peter and Andrew, his brother, James, the son of Zeeb and John, his brother. We just learned about those in Matthew chapter four. Not that Matthew four now Philip and Bartholome U Thomas and Matthew, the tax collector aligned tax collector. Okay. This is one James, the son of FAS and Thaddius Simon.

The Zet. And Junis is scar who also betrayed him. There’s a lot here. There’s three phrases. I want you to notice this is the crew that Jesus picked. First, you have a tax collector. The tax collectors were literally the Jewish people who sold out to Rome and said, okay, I am going to charge my Jewish people way over what they want.

These are the ultimate trader. So this is a political stance. You have a tax collector in Jesus’s together group. What do you have next? You also have a zealot. What is a zealot? The complete opposite of a tax collector. The zealots were so convinced that Jerusalem, that Israel needed to rule over the planet.

They believe the only way to win the war is to win it by force. And so they were known as people having swords out and ready to overtake the city to overtake. Can you imagine how political those conversations were? You have a tax collector, you have a zealot, and then you have Judas. Who’s gonna betray Jesus later.

This is not the best together group, but they’re all together. Communities messy. we, our vision of community is way too well defined, but then you’re doing great back in the back. Thank you for that. I’m gonna read verse eight. You don’t have to go there. It says verse eight, he gets all the crew together.

Then he says, look, heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those withy drive out demons freely received freely you give step forward to community ass mission. You’ve lived life together. Okay. You’ve in P. then you were vulnerable. Then you begin to practice community together. But now Jesus says, okay, I brought you in to send you out this community.

We’re having here, go do it more out there. And so that, just make sure you don’t, I don’t know if you know this, but when we talk about community here, it’s not to get just more people in the seats. It’s to restore relationships. It’s to pray to God, to heal people of their sicknesses. It’s to renew people’s minds from depression and anxiety it’s to adopt people into our family and we expand the kingdom of God together.

And have you, I want you to honestly think through this, have you taken these difficult steps towards Christian community? Cuz here’s what I’m convinced of. You can’t be formed by Jesus. If you refuse the together. being formed happens in community. So our church, what we wanna do is to give you grace where you’re at, but push you to help you take the next step.

Here’s a visual of what I’m talking about. We believe the first step to community is just proximity. We believe it’s not as hard of a job to do. You just have to show up, right? So we just ask you for our together group, the reason we are calling it together, groups is our biggest win is that you guys showed up.

The biggest victory we declare every night. Did we get together? Boom. We had together group, great time. There’s sometimes where we don’t even get into our Bibles. Don’t Sue me. We just needed to be together. Have pizza together, share our life together. Now of course we’d love for you to get in the scriptures, but also we’d love for you to do the scriptures and sometimes doing the Bible means you’re not in the Bible cuz you’re doing the Bible.

You’re loving, praying, serving, listening, doing those things. So that’s how many of us have been in a Bible study? And yet we didn’t do nothing. We just learned a lot, but we didn’t do a lot. So for us first step is to be together. It’s very hard for some of us in the room. We’re just asking you to take that next step.

Ask the holy spirit to strengthen you, to get in proximity with others. And the way we wanna apply at this church is we would advise you to do that by be joining at together group. The next step is maybe the hardest for so many people. It’s vulnerability, pastor. Caleb’s the one who puts together the group guide every week, which I think he does a fantastic job at it.

It’s on our messages page. Every time when you like click on today’s message, there’s always a group guide down there below, and he has some hard questions that you can get vulnerable with this last Sunday, we talked about together on Sundays and one of his questions was essentially, so what are your excuses?

You’re giving yourself for not showing up on Sunday. That’s a tough question to answer, right? It gets vulnerable, especially as the pastor. So I’m like, okay, what, who, what’s your answer? That was tough. He has other things like, man, what’s the deepest need in your life right now. Can you share that?

What’s the hardest moment that you’ve gone through. Here’s what I’m convinced us. Some of us never see the value in community because we have never been vulnerable in community. There will be no value without being vulnerable. That takes time. So don’t show up the first week. Here’s my life story. You don’t have to do that.

It, but slowly, but surely begin to live life together. The next step we want you to take in our together groups is practice. You’ll notice. Somebody even mentioned it last week. Hey, I’m noticing in your messages. Very clearly defined next steps. I appreciate that. And I appreciated that. He appreciated that.

So we mentioned a practice at the end every week. Why we want you to do the word because we believe that’s what the scripture says, God blesses, but also we mention the practice. The idea is that okay? Say, okay, I’m gonna do this and I’m gonna talk about it in my group. And even this week’s practice you have to do in your group.

And so this is when we begin to practice community. And so we wanna encourage you to forgive each other. We all love the concept of forgiveness, but it’s actually very hard to practice forgiveness. We want you this week to pray for one another. That’s extremely D. This one in our individualistic culture, we never think of, but Philippians two says, put other people’s interests ahead of your own that’s practice.

You can be in proximity and vulnerable, and yet still not really care about anybody. The practice is okay. I’m gonna sacrifice for you because that’s what the Bible tells me to do. Here’s what we want at our church. We don’t hear the word alone. We do the word to. and that I am convinced is the only way we change to become more like Christ.

The last one is mission. And so we are trying. Put together our together groups so that we help you take each step at each step mission. We want you to advance the kingdom together. Things like Halloween, how great would it be if our together groups picked a house and you did that whole fire pit thing, you hung out and gave candy to your neighbors.

As they walked by service projects, blocked parties in general, helping each other and encouraging each other as you’re witnessing to your coworkers, coming up with strategies to invite people to church, whatever it is, can you imagine. If we began to create this kind of community at passion Creek church, and I believe we can do it, but we have to do it together.

Thank you. So it was like two vulnerable story. Here’s me practicing it right now. All right. So for two years after I graduated from CBU, I would wake up with tears just. and my wife was like, what is wrong with you? And there were just tears. I don’t know how to describe it. I guess maybe it was tears of grief.

It would happen at least once a week for two years straight. And I wouldn’t call them nightmares because it almost felt like the exact opposite. I would dream of being with all my friends again from college. It was just like, I would relive moments like being at Disneyland together or, studying together anything, working out.

And I just had such a great time in college because of those friends. And I would wake up and realize I’m an adult now. And maybe I’ll never have friends again. that was honestly where I was at. Now. You can imagine that didn’t. But it wasn’t super nice for my wife to hear, I would just be honest with her, man.

I’m just lonely. She’s you have me, this is hard on our marriage. We’re only married for a couple years and I would not pick them over her. I’ll tell you that today. Okay. And back then, not just today. I need to be careful here. We’re but we had a first child, like you were literally like Trey, we have a kid now.

Like why do you wanna go back to college? And what I realized, cuz I thought it was just college that I needed, but what I needed again was just good genuine community. And so even today, like I still randomly wake up in tears because that relationship was so special. and being an adult makes life a lot more difficult, cuz there’s this thing called bills, right?

This thing called jobs, responsibility, children, they ruin everybody’s schedule. Amen. It just gets really, they don’t ruin, but yeah, they do. Yeah, they do. I was like, that’s mean, no, it’s not. They ruin it. But the other thing about adults is we move on. It’s just a lot more difficult, but I think here’s what we need to do.

I think we have to get honest that community’s hard. But I think we have to realize it’s still not impossible. It was way easier in college. Yes. But we can have community today. So let me be clear. I believe there is a cost to community. What I’m asking you to do for together group is really difficult.

And here, let me give you three reasons why joining a together group might be really dumb. Okay. You ready? Number one, groups are inconvenient. I’ll tell you this. My kids, they are cranky by 8:00 PM because that’s how late our groups. They’re not fun to be around and not only that night, but they’re not fun to see the next morning.

They’re just cranky, but we’ve decided, okay. That cost us a lot, but not being in community cost us even more. I don’t feel that all the time. sometimes we’re like we could have missed, we could have missed that night. It’s inconvenient. The other thing I’m old, I eat dinner at four 30. We don’t eat till six 30.

So Tuesdays, I just babe, can I have a, like a pre snack or something? You. It’s inconvenient. The second thing groups are inconsistent. What I mean by that we meet every week, but some weeks we get together, Jordan missed last week cuz she was helping with sick kids. And I was like, we missed you, but it was one of the best weeks, it was amazing.

It was like heaven, came upon us. It was an incredible time. But then there’s so many other weeks where I’m like, man, you miss nothing. We were there. We happened to be all at the same place. But it wasn’t that amazing. Somebody set the tone, it was negative. Joe Schmo kept bringing up politics and my stomach hurt, like whatever, like it’s not always the most amazing thing.

And the other thing that’s really hard is groups are gradual. It takes a long time to make friends. And I have learned chemistry is a terrible indicator of. So that’s what shocks me. When you look at my friends from college, I would’ve never picked those as friends, but we just happen to live in the same hall and we live life together for a year.

And we finally were like, oh, okay. We like each other, like we’ve been through life together. And for too long, some of us we wait, we go to together group once the chemistry wasn’t there. And so we’re out deep, real friendship takes time. it takes so much time. Look, there is a cost to community, but there’s an even greater cost to isolation.

And so I get it. There is a struggle, but I want you to think through and say, yes, there’s a cost. Yes, it hurts. But what happens if we don’t do it, let’s start talking about how bad it is for our souls. Let me give you three quick examples to bring back what we’ve been saying, cuz with the discipleship series, we’re saying you could be stuck stubborn or stingy isolation keeps you.

Let me look at this Galatians five 14 for the whole law is fulfilled in one statement. So he’s saying if you wanna apply the Bible, if you wanna actually be a holy person, here’s what you do. Love your neighbor as yourself. You can’t grow. If you don’t love you, can’t love if you’re not in proximity.

So it makes you stuck. The second thing, let me be quick. Isolation makes you stubborn. This is, we stay in an echo chamber of false narratives and lies. Hebrews three verse 12 says, watch out brothers and sisters. So there won’t be any of you, an evil unbelieving heart that churn away from the living. God, just because you’re here tonight, there might be a reason there might be something that churn you away.

What makes us turn away, but encourage each other daily while it is still called today. So that none of you is hardened by sins, deception. Hebrew author, how do I encourage will? We need to be together. We have to know each other and help each other. There are seasons where I’m doing great. And my job in group is to encourage people to keep going.

There are other seasons where I don’t like life and their job in the group is to encourage me to keep going. Does that make. This is what we’re called to do. Let me, man, I gotta be quick. But one of my best friends from college, I called him yesterday and I was on the phone with him and I made a disparaging comment towards a group of people.

And I don’t know why I did it the moment I said it. I’m like, he’s gonna hold me accountable to this. He just paused. He’s I’ll call you back. I gotta go. And I thought, man, I made him real mad. Like I just he’s done with me. So I even told Jordan, like I was replaying the situation, said the thing I said, so I sent him, I was like that like insecure girlfriend from high school.

I was like 10 text messages in a row. Hey man, here’s what happened. I’m so sorry. I was just going off all day. Never heard from him. And I’m just so stressed out. He was like, no, bro. Like my kids needed me. I was fine. I didn’t even hear what you said. So I was like, oh. Praise the Lord, but what was great about it is I realized I don’t think I would’ve spotted that disparaging, like that contempt within me.

If I wasn’t talking to him, he’s held me accountable. I’m realizing because of community he’s gonna call me out. Because he does such a good job of that, I’ve now learned to call myself out. It keeps you from a stubborn spirit. You can see your blind spots. Lastly, isolation feeds your stinginess. You will not be pushed to give, if you don’t know.

but here’s what the scripture says about giving in every way. I’ve shown you that it’s necessary to help the week by laboring like this. And to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, because he said it is more blessed to give than to receive. Do you wanna be blessed? Give, do you wanna give, get to know people who are in need and that’s one of the greatest blessings of being in.

you have situations where you can’t help, but offer your help, not just with money, but with your time and with your talents and all those sorts of things. Let me be brief. Let’s close. I want to offer you a together practice this week. To practice this, obviously, one, one thing I want you to think about is where are you at?

Do you need to get in proximity, then do that this week? Do you need to get vulnerable? Do that practice, mission, whatever those things are, but here, let me make it more simple for you this week. I think anybody, all of us can do this. I want us to create space for intentional sharing, listening, and praying together.

If you join it together, group, if you go to your together group this week, we’re gonna ask you towards the. To say, okay. Who has prayer requests you share, which is vulnerable. And then someone in the group’s gonna pray for you out loud. Okay. And then it’s done. Now, somebody else mention a request. Now somebody else pray for them.

It and keep going. That is an intensely communal thing. That’s vulnerable. It’s practice. It’s mission. It’s all of those things together. Friends. We don’t wanna just talk about oh, how great would it be to live in community? We want to be a church that says, Hey, community is worth it. It is hard by the grace of Jesus.

There’s four steps. You and I should take when I ask you which one is it? Proximity, vulnerability, practice, or mission.

Group Guide

Meal & Conversation

Open the night with a quick prayer over your time together. As your Group shares a meal, use one or two of these questions to check in with everyone:

1. What’s one thing you’re grateful for this week?
2. What’s something restful you have planned in the coming weeks?

Overview of Teaching

Honest relationships, genuine connections, and healthy friendships are all hard to come by in our modern age. While we might experience increased connectedness through the internet and social media, most of us lack real friendships with other people. As a result, we default into radical individualism or rugged tribalism, both of which feed our experienced loneliness and isolation.

But the way of Jesus offers us a remedy to our loneliness by way of community.

When Jesus lived on earth, he entered a world of broken people and invited them to live life with him. And the community that he formed with these people wasn’t jeopardized by their drastic differences. Instead, their relationships with each other were strengthened by their commitment to their rabbi. Today, we can experience the same type of life-giving relationships by adopting Jesus’ 4 components of community: Proximity, Vulnerability, Practice, and Mission.



Have someone read Romans 12:3-21 over the Group. Then discuss the following questions as a Group:

  1. What stands out to you about Paul’s description of community? Where do you see Proximity, Vulnerability, Practice, and Mission reflected in this passage?
  2. Take a moment to note all the practical aspects of community that Paul mentions. Which of these aspects do you notice in our own Group? Which aspects are missing?
  3. What often prevents you from establishing and building relationships with other people? How have you experienced loneliness and isolation in your own life?
  4. Reflecting on this Together Group, where do you think we are as a community: Proximity, Vulnerability, Practice, or Mission? What next steps could we take to get to the next stage in the process of community?


Debrief last week’s practice as a Group.

1. What next steps have you considered taking from the practice last week? What hesitancies, fears, and anxieties do you have about these next steps?



In order for our Groups to move past Proximity and into Vulnerability, we must create space for intentional sharing, listening, and praying for one another. Do the following practice right now as a Group:

  1. Have each person answer the following questions:
    • What’s one area in your life you need God to move right now?
    • How can your Group support you or help meet this need?
  2. After each person shares, pause and allow someone to pray for that person specifically on the spot. If they mention a tangible way for the Group to support or meet their need, discuss how your Group can do that together. Then continue the practice until everyone has shared and has been prayed for.
  3. If you pray for someone, make a note to text, call, or meet up with them in the coming week to follow up.