The Connection Between the Means of Grace and Community

When I talk about the means of grace what I mean is the ordinary means by which we as believers draw near to God. Specifically I am talking about the intake of the Word, prayer, the sacraments (baptism and communion) and corporate worship. It is by the partaking of these means regularly that believers draw near.

The mistake that some make is they take these means as only personal. What I'm not saying is that the personal side of devotions aren't important because they are. I'm also not saying that the personal side of devotions aren't necessary in some way. Without our personal time in the Word, discipleship doesn't happen they way it was designed to happen. Without God drawing us near, we have nothing to offer others. What I am saying is that there is a reason God draws you near. As believers we have a responsibility with what God has given us in those times. There must be a call to action, there must be a response. God isn't just working on you, He desires to work through you. There should always be a fruit bearing aspect to what God is doing in you. When it comes to action and response to God through what you receive by the means of grace, one of the biggest avenues that I see most often employed is through community.

It's in community with other believers that we can talk through and test what we believe God is teaching us. I need others around me to help me think through what I'm learning. I don't have it all figured it and need others to help me process through it. It's in community that I am encouraged (1 Thess. 4:18, 5:11) to stay focused on the right things. It's in community that I'm exhorted (Heb. 3:13) about where I might be misapplying or misunderstanding. It's in a community where I'm loved (Eph. 4:2; 1 John 3:11), experiencing the Savior's love. It's in community where we practice all the "one another" passages throughout the New Testament.

The benefits of community are a double blessing. You are a blessing to others by your ability to articulate what God is doing and lead them closer to God than they would be aside from your sharing. It's a blessing to you as they respond and correct you in ways you may have missed on your own. It's through true, open, honest, and vulnerable participation in community that the means of grace come alive in our lives.

Bonhoeffer on Happiness

Best Quotes from The Compelling Community by Mark Dever and Jamie Dunlop