Sometimes, a single phone call can change the entire trajectory of your life. Oftentimes, that call is a crisis.
Storms are going to come. One day, a phone call will come for you. One day, news will rock your world. When the call comes, it will find you in one of two conditions – either mostly in isolation, mostly disconnected from other people, largely on your own emotionally and not sure if there is anyone that you can reach out to.
Or … it will find you living in community, surrounded by people who know you and love you. You will eat together, laugh together, cry together and pray, play and struggle together. You’ve done life together. And when that storm comes, they will hold you up and strengthen you and support you and keep you together as if by an invisible force, because it is.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 – “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor; if either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up … though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
Harvard researcher Robert Putnam – “People who are socially disconnected are between 2 and 5 times more likely to die from all causes, compared with matched individuals who have close ties.”
The Church in Acts “devoted themselves” to community. Devoted is a powerful word. They learned together, had fellowship, got real, took off their masks, prayed together, ate together, suffered together and shared daily with each other. God hates aloneness. He loves community. It is how He made man. “It is not good for man to be alone”.
Robert Putnam – “People who don’t attend church are significantly unhappier than the norm. Those that attend church 20x a year are average happy but those that attend weekly are the happiest people on earth. Bottom line of these studies – if you belong to no groups but decide to join one, you cut your risk of dying over the next year in half”.
The key to this – the time to build community and friendship and connection and spiritual bonds is now. Because, if you wait for the phone call, it will be too late. When the storm comes, when everything falls apart, people who live isolated lives feel too awkward to ask for help. They don’t have the energy at that point to do the work to build community. They actually will become more and more isolated. The time to build community is before the call comes.
Maybe you’re not in a crisis. Maybe you’re feeling pretty self-sufficient right now and that life is going well for you, but I’ll make you two promises. One, the phone call will come for you. The day will come when you realize, you need community. Two, even if you don’t think you need anybody, somebody needs you. Someone needs your prayer, your touch, your encouragement and your perspective.
YOU NEED COMMUNITY. YOU NEED TRIBE. Jesus modeled it. He taught it. He walked with Tribe. Please, don’t try to do this life alone. Come into community. This is why we do Manschool.
Here is John Ortberg talking about this … https://menlo.church/series/because-life-is-better-in-community#/modal/message/5448/mlo