Community: It Should Burden You!

billby Bill Mellinger

[preface: Bill Mellinger will be substituting for Michael Sove, who is is India for the month of January. Bill is senior pastor of Crestline First Baptist Church, a church in transition to the cell church strategy. I, Joel Comiskey, have had the privilege of coaching Bill for the last two years]

When I think of the theological underpinnings for Cell Community, one verse stands out to me.  (Galatians 6:2)  “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

The root word for carrying another’s burdens come from the word for walking.  Surely this includes all the things we do to help meet someone else’s needs.  Jesus said that we serve Him when we serve the “the least of these brothers.”  In the passage in Matthew 25 Jesus gives some great details of ways that we can “Carry each other’s burdens.”  By tangibly meeting someone’s needs, visiting the sick and imprisoned, we “fulfill the law of Christ.”

We understand that true Biblical community involves acts of service and love.  Every cell gathering is an opportunity for the people to show God’s love in tangible ways to one another.  But it is also an opportunity to look for ways to serve people who do not know how much God loves them.  As we work together to serve our neighbors, we are showing them God’s love.  By helping them with their needs, we are telling them the good news with our actions.

Living in a mountain community offers us unique opportunities to help our neighbors when it snows.  This past week one of our cell members cleared the snow from around his neighbor’s car.  When asked how she could pay for his service, he invited her to come to our celebration.  She came on Sunday because she was blessed by the way he helped with her “burden.”

This past year another cell member was dying of cancer.  We met weekly for cell group in his home so that he could participate more easily.  There were times we even gathered around his bed just to pray and encourage him.  Some of us helped to bring wood into the house for burning in the fireplace.  My own nephew accepted Christ after having spent time helping at his house and enjoying his friendship.

Think of all the ways that we can “carry each other’s burdens.”  Don’t forget, that the context even includes helping to “restore” someone who is caught in sin.  This takes openness, vulnerability, accountability, confidentiality and love.  When we are serving in this way, some pretty special community will be the result.

God bless you as you serve one another,

Bill Mellinger

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