Wherever two or three gather together as my disciples, there I am among them.Matthew 18:20
It is clear from the teachings of Jesus and from the practice of his disciples that Jesus did not intend for his Way to be a solo path walked by oneself. His Way calls for the gathering together of his disciples and, indeed, it is only fully alive when these disciples come together as a familial community. After all, Jesus said that the proof of our discipleship is our love for one another (John 13:35)… That would be pretty hard to do on your own!
For example, when Jesus sent out his disciples on short “mission” trips to share about his radical Way of living, he sent them out in pairs (Luke 10:1). The rest of their time seems to have been spent as a nomadic entourage of men and women united by Jesus’ leadership, often joined by great crowds of potential disciples (e.g. Luke 8:1-4).
Living and working with other disciples of Jesus is not only important, but also extremely helpful, and it should be seriously considered by anyone who wants to practice Jesus’ teachings. And of course, there are practical reasons for why Jesus’ Way is best practiced with others of the same conviction. We will list three reasons here:
- Physical safety. Just like with anything else, it is usually safer to live/work with other people than to live/work alone. In case of accidents or unexpected health problems, having at least one other person around who you trust is very helpful no matter what lifestyle you choose.
- Spiritual reinforcement. Besides physical safety, one of the most obvious and immediate benefits of living and working with a community is the spiritual encouragement of having like-minded people all working for the same goal: to be disciples of Jesus. This sort of community setting creates networks of accountability to help keep everyone on track. Community life helps to establish safeguards from “heresy”, and it provides an extra incentive to avoid temptations that distract from the Way of Jesus. Especially when the whole world lashes out fearfully against Jesus’ revolutionary teachings, it is helpful to be surrounded by other disciples who reinforce your own conviction to follow Jesus.
- Emotional support. Just like with a family or a close-knit group of friends, a community that is dedicated to practicing the teachings of Jesus (a spiritual family) offers a lot of emotional support to carry us through the hard times and celebrate with us during the good times. The bonds that we create as a community of Jesus’ Way often go deeper than any other relationship we have experienced in our lives. This bond is a special opportunity that comes as a natural byproduct of practicing the Way of Jesus in community. It’s truly an incredible experience that we hope everyone gets a chance to choose for their lives!
We know of a few communities of such people scattered across the globe. If you would like to see what living in community is all about, we definitely recommend visiting one located on your continent.
But it is important to note that these brave individuals are hard to come by, so don’t expect to find a community of committed disciples in your own neighborhood or even in your own city. As Jesus said, the way to destruction is broad and many people choose to walk it, but his Way to life is narrow and very few even seek to find it (Matthew 7:13-14). We hope that you are one of these special few!
Please email us for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.