Yes, I’ll admit it…I am a hopeless musical product of the 70’s and 80’s. One of my favorite bands from that era is the group, “America.” The chorus of one of their songs titled, “I Need You” resounds,
“I need you, like the flowers need the rain, you know I need you; like the winter needs the spring, you know I need you.”
How many love songs or poems have been written with the phrase, “I need you” in them? Since I still have a little bit of a life, I didn’t take the time to count. But I imagine it’s almost too many to count. However, needing someone goes beyond the world of romance. In fact, recent research reveals our need for community and friendship.
Susan Pinker, in her 2014 book, “The Village Effect” highlights a 2006 study of 3,000 women with breast cancer that discovered those with a large network of friends were four times more likely to survive as women with sparser social connections. She talks about a French study that monitored nearly 17,000 utility workers which revealed the degree of their social interactions was a good way of predicting who would still be alive by the end of the decade. Another study, involving almost 3,000 Americans, shows that people with close friendships are far less likely to die young. And listen up men: One study found that fifty-year-old men with active friendships are less likely to have heart attacks than solitary men.
But regrettably, with all this powerful scientific evidence, our habits are becoming increasingly more solitary.
Since the late 1980s, according to surveys in the United States, Europe, and Australia, more and more people say they are feeling isolated and lonely. Robert Putnam, in his groundbreaking work, “Bowling Alone” put his finger on the sociological pulse of America by portraying a nation fragmenting into smaller and smaller pockets of disjointed individuals.
These studies serve to remind us of what the Bible teaches in the opening chapters of Genesis:
We need others in our lives because God – who exists in community (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) – made us in Him image to do the same. Move through the story of redemption and you’ll see God continually calling His people to live together in community. When Jesus began his earthly ministry, he developed community with his disciples. And after Jesus returned to Heaven, he sent his Holy Spirit to form a unique community like none other: The Church.
When Jesus saves us, he adopts us into his family and places us into his Church, which serves as a constant reminder that we need each other. “There are two things we cannot do alone,” said Paul Tournier, “one is to be married and the other is to be a Christian.” In order to be a healthy Christian, the Bible reveals that we need to be part of a visible, healthy Church.
At CITYLIGHTS we believe that it’s not just enough to come to church and leave. While we’re glad you choose to worship with your church family on Sundays, we want you to take advantage of going even deeper in your relationships with other believers at CITYLIGHTS. And one of the best ways we recommend going deeper in your experience of community is by becoming part of a CITYgroup.
CITYgroups provide a unique opportunity for you to connect with others by being cared for and extending care to those around you. In CITYgroups you can optimize the possibility of truly knowing others and being known by them.
The family of God is just that: a family. And you belong. We can help you get connected. Click here to learn more and find out how to sign up for a CITYgroup.
-- Mike Thomas, Community Life Pastor at CITYLIGHTS