We live in a society where commitment is increasingly rare. “Even as believers, many people choose to stay on the fringes and never risk being accountable through church membership or in community,” said Rick Wisner, Watermark’s Sr. Director of Community/Connecting. “But the consequence of staying on the sidelines is steep.
You miss the opportunity to be who God wants you to be and to have your gifts fully used by God. It’s true that membership and biblical community at Watermark come at a cost: being fully known. The question to consider when looking at the cost is: Are you willing to pay that cost to be more Christ?”
Meet a group of Watermark members who’ve stayed committed to each other as a community group for more than five years. Being fully connected through membership and in community has made a significant impact on
each family in the Hammack community group. And being fully known has helped each person take new ground in their walk with Christ. Here’s a snapshot of how God has worked in their lives:
Blake Shipley: “Being members at Watermark connected us to the body of Christ. And it’s increasingly moved us away from our default ‘consumer’ mindset where we sought our own comfort and preferences. Submission to Christ and His people has changed that. It’s not perfect, but we find ourselves part of a body that is a joy to serve and be served by.
“Part of membership here at Watermark is serving. We chose to volunteer with the Marriage Ministry years ago, because people had invested in our marriage and we wanted to do the same. Through serving, we became familiar with the leadership at Watermark and got to know other people as well. That’s helped our walk with Christ because we trust the authority He placed over us. Because I’m a member, I see the body of believers around me as family instead of strangers we occasionally see on a Sunday.”
Britton Church: “Choosing to be a member at Watermark has been a significant decision in my Christian walk, because it has given me a feeling of belonging to a specific body of believers. The teachings on Sunday and ministries such as Equipped Disciple have challenged me to live my Christian life throughout the week and not just on Sundays. I don’t believe I would be plugged in to ministry and community if I hadn’t made the commitment of becoming a member.
“Staying committed to one another in community has given me a place where we can be authentic about what’s going on in life and receive wisdom that is based from Scripture. My wife, Beth and I have processed a number of items – from financial commitments, struggles in
our marriage and parenting. We’ve been encouraged to receive feedback from a biblical worldview instead of a cultural perspective.”
Erynn Shipley: “A few years ago we went through infertility and miscarriage. At the same time, three couples in our group were having their first babies and having the time of their life! We really can’t give a better example of the hands and feet of Christ than our group during this time. There were times we received bad news and they would drop everything and come over to shed tears with us. When Blake couldn’t be at a doctor appointment, one of the girls would go with me. One year at Christmas we were all writing down our blessings and our prayers for the upcoming year. Every single family had ‘Shipley Baby’ at the top of their prayer request. It blew me away that they would even think about our family for their prayer list. They also asked hard questions during this time and even though it was difficult, they tried to point us back to Christ as much as they could instead of letting us sit in sorrow. When we did get pregnant and the Lord blessed us with a little boy to raise…they were ecstatic for us. The biggest blessing is knowing that we are one another’s biggest fans.”
Adam Hammack: “The Lord has used our community group to strengthen our marriage. From being part of a Foundation Group when Sara and I were newlyweds, to learning about leadership from Men’s Bible Study classes, God has helped me become better equipped as a husband and father. I love that our community group has gone from newlyweds with no kids, to a group with six (and counting) kids. It’s definitely gotten harder to meet as our families have grown, but the time we spend together is so valuable, we aren’t willing to sacrifice it.”
Are you in a community group? If so how long have you been a part of your group? Leave a comment below and tell us about it.