By Paula Bowlby, Early Childhood Associate Pastor
Woodland Hills Church
Today I was thinking back to my when my kids were in elementary school. Each of them in 4th grade had a unit in Social Studies where they learned about neighborhoods, communities, towns, cities, states and so on. I have been thinking about community and the definitions of community. In elementary school, community is defined as “a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.” We as parents have the opportunity to instill a different type of community in our kids. Community defined as, “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.”
In the Bible, we have several examples of community. In Hebrews, we are encouraged to meet together and encourage each other. In Galatians, we are called to bear each other’s burdens. We are created to be communal people, doing life together, praying for each other, helping each other and being together. Community is a beautiful thing.
The story of my life would be very different without my community. My “core” group of friends and family have been through thick and thin with me. They pray for me, they love me and they encourage me. Kingdom happens in community; Jesus is there. He moves in community. He uses us to encourage others and visa versa.
As part of my job, I have the privilege to participate in many types of community. In a church our size, it is sometimes hard to connect. I thought today I would take the opportunity to share with you a few places where you might meet a friend or find community.
Try sitting in the same spot each week. According to some of our reliable regulars, by sitting in the same spot, they have met and made friends. Some of the “neighbors” in the seats next to them now feel like their community and their church.
Volunteering is a great way to meet and establish community. For me, when I started coming to Woodland Hills, I met some of my very best friends this way.
Morning Meet-Up meets the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays here at Woodland Hills. It is a time when parents meet with their preschoolers and have a time of fellowship and playtime. Check out their Facebook page or consider even joining the Facebook group.
Cultivate is in session on Tuesday evenings and new classes are starting soon. Come to a class and meet people in a smaller setting. Free childcare is provided.
The Refuge is a wonderful community that meets on Thursday evenings. The meal starts at 6, worship at 6:30 and teaching time around 7 pm. There are several break outs to check out at 7:30. Free childcare is provided.
Being a healthy, connected parent is a gift to your children. To help your children develop community for themselves, I suggest a couple simple steps:
- Attending the same service regularly
- Be on time! It is hard for kids to walk in to a group and to have missed out on something or to walk into a large group because they are late.
- Be consistent.
- Be excited for them to go to class and to be with friends. Help them connect to their leaders and kids in the room. Your excitement will be contagious.
- Be bold and connect with a parent of a child the same age as yours in the Gathering Area or the hallway. Maybe meet for lunch or a playdate.
Community is wonderful. If you or your child is having a hard time finding community, seek us out. We are happy to be of assistance and are here to help. Check out our website for activities that are happening at Woodland Hills.