“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” (Acts 2:42)
LEARNING in community replicates the way Jesus deliberately taught his disciples. His followers grew in their understanding of God and matured in their awareness of God’s will for their lives as they listened to Jesus’ stories, instructions, and lessons while gathering around dinner tables, on hillsides, and at the Temple. Notice the dual reference to learning and community in the Scripture above. Jesus taught us to learn our faith this way.
In community there is a natural accountability. Covenanting together keeps us strong in our convictions and habits. That’s why Jesus sent the disciples out two by two to go “to every town and place where he himself intended to go” (Luke 10:1). In pairs, the disciples could build each other up for the task; pray for one another; and support one another through the inevitable resistances, difficulties, misjudgments, and false starts. We learn in community because others keep us faithful to the task of growth in Christ. And we cannot learn spiritual qualities such as forgiveness, grace, love, justice, and humility by ourselves, but only by practicing our faith with others.