Way, way back in the 90s, there was a computer program called Microsoft Encarta encyclopedia. It was developed by a team of experts and was fun to look at with great graphics and audio. But then something really strange happened at the beginning of 2001. This little site opened called Wikipedia which was basically an open-source of information with articles not written by experts, but by regular people all over the world. Anyone could write an article on whatever they were interested in and edit an existing Wikipedia article. They developed an online community with millions of people contributing their knowledge. And unlike Encarta, it was totally free. Microsoft pulled the plug on Encarta in 2009, long after anyone even realized it still existed. What is the lesson of Wikipedia and the way it took down the giant, well-funded, commercial Encarta? Here it is: everybody is better than somebody.

Everybody is better than somebody.

We are better together!

Jesus – “For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.” Matthew 18:20

Your health is directly connected to your relationships with other people. When we’re not in relationships, we suffer physically. It affects your health.

A Harvard scientist looked at 7000 people and discovered that the most isolated people were 3 times as likely to die than those with good relationships. People with bad health habits like smoking, poor eating obesity, and alcohol abuse but with strong relational ties lived longer than people with healthy habits but were isolated.

It’s better to eat twinkies with good friends than to eat a salad by yourself.

Another American Medical Association with 276 volunteers who were exposed to a common cold virus, and they found those who had strong emotional connections did 4 times better fighting off the virus than those who were isolated. Those with stronger connections, were less susceptible to colds, less viruses and produced less mucus than the isolated subjects!

Unfriendly people are snottier than friendly people!

You’ll never accomplish everything God wants you to accomplish until you bring the right people around you.

When the right people get together for the right purpose, God is there and great things will happen.

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47

There is nothing else on the planet as beautiful and amazing as the local church when we are functioning the way God planned for us to.

4 Marks of Real Community

We all need a place…

To Know and be Known

“For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12

People want to experience authentic community so much they will go anywhere to get it.

A 2012 Pew study showed that young adults have been walking away from the church but they are still looking for something deeper, a spiritual experience. And they are going to certain places to find community. One of the places they are going is to fitness classes. Groups like CrossFit and SoulCycle are offering people more than just a chance to lose weight or tone up. They function like churches. They said, “People come because they want to lose weight or gain muscle strength, but they stay for the community. It’s really the relationships that keep them coming back.” We heard people say, “Well, Crossfit is my church,” or, “Soulcycle is like my cult,” in a good way.

People are searching for connection. Our job as a church is to show them that what they’re looking for comes from a deep relationship with Jesus and His people. If you want a workout, go to a gym. But if you want meaning and purpose in your life, come to Jesus.

(Adam) answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” Genesis 3:10

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. James 5:16

We are only as sick as our secrets!

To Love and be Loved.

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection Romans 12:9-10

Jesus – “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35

If we are a place where people are loved and they know we’re gonna love them, you can’t keep people away from a place like that.

To Serve and be Served. (John 13:1-17)

Jesus – “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28

Our relationships should be a serving contest to see who can out-serve the other.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

To Celebrate and be Celebrated.

Take delight in honoring each other. Romans 12:10

What’s celebrated gets repeated!

If you think it and it’s good, say it now.

At The Connection Church, we grow larger and smaller at the same time.

Do you know when a church gets too big? It’s when you don’t know anybody and nobody knows you. You don’t have to know everybody. You just need to know some people. When you’re in a Connection Group, you’re going to know people and they’re going to know you.

People are belongers before they’re believers.

At The Connection Church, people are finding a caring community of people who will come around them and walk with them to help them grow in your faith and in their walk with Jesus.