A February Note from Pastor Rich

Community 

On March 5, 2014, a contractor made the startling discovery of a mummified body in a Pontiac, Michigan foreclosure home. Officials say that the woman had been dead for at least five years. Her body was outfitted with winter clothing in the back seat of her jeep in the attached garage. The key was in the ignition but not turned on. Because all of her bills were automatically deducted from her bank account, everything seemed normal, including the maintenance of her lawn. When the $54,000 in her banking account ran out, the house went into foreclosure and led to the realization that an entire neighborhood had functioned for five years without ever noticing her absence. One resident, Renea Garrett, noted remorse about the situation. She said, “People need to be closer to each other and check on your neighbors.”

Can you believe that this could actually happen? This is obviously an unusual case, but it does point to the need for a greater sense of community in our culture. To think that a neighbor could die in her own home and the community doesn’t even miss her for five years is almost too horrible to perceive. You know what that means: Nobody ever called this person. No one ever took a plate of cookies to her door. Even the gardener never rang the doorbell. She was never invited to another home for coffee, lunch, or even to babysit the kids. Did she have a church? If so, why didn’t someone from the church check on her? Could a person be missing from church for that long and not be missed? Is it possible that a person could be so alone in the world that no other person cares to make some contact? Maybe that’s why she died in her aloneness.

If community is needed in the neighborhoods of our nation, how much more it is needed within the context of our churches. The very word “church” means “gathering.” We especially need community in the church because we live in a hostile world and we are obnoxious to Satan. We need each other and only as we stand together, can we stand as one against all the pressure that is coming against Christianity in our present world.

We need people to live with in our lives. Remember what God said when He created Adam? “Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone ...’” (Genesis 2:18) New Testament passages like Acts 2 and Hebrews 10 tell us that we were made for relationship and that the church itself is the God-designed network for Christians to maintain those relationships. That is why we have “Community Groups” and “Fellowship” times to promote relationship. Ask yourself, “What could I do to develop and promote relationship and fellowship within our church here at Northwest Hills.” Allow me to give you some suggestions: (1) Check on someone (especially an older person) you have not seen for a while. (2) Invite another family to your home for lunch or dinner, either after church or some evening. Play games or watch a movie together. (3) Suggest that you have coffee with someone during the day. (4) Ask people how you could pray for them and do it. (5) Join a Community Group so you can really connect with some of our people. (6) Enter into a discipleship/accountability relationship with someone else in our church. (7) Join a Men’s or Women’s Bible Study. (8) If you do not have time for any of the above, cut something out of your schedule in order to allow you time to enter into relationship.

You may have better suggestions than I do, but let’s make our church a place where people know they are loved and cared about. Hooray for Community! Down with Aloneness!

Serving Christ Together,

Pastor Rich