Community – Moving From Week to Week to Day to Day
I believe the number one binge-watched show on Netflix is Friends. I find this fascinating since Friends is an “old” sitcom from the mid-1990s. It did run for 10 seasons so I can understand it developed a large and loyal following and likely a new generation of viewers. I must confess I have never watched an episode of Friends and truly have no clue why it is popular. I do know the show revolves around lives and relationships of six friends in their 20s and 30s who live in Manhattan, New York City. Thus, I take literary “liberty” in extracting meaning and connection between this highly viewed modern comedy and the excellent message delivered by Pastor Jason Crabtree this weekend on Community.
I think Friends is all about relationships and “doing” life together. I imagine the many different plots all revolve around how these six people struggle, cope, despair, thrive, and overcome and succeed in a variety of life challenges. I imagine Friends showcases very deep and close ties formed between the six that withstand crisis, misunderstanding, self-centeredness and maybe even betrayal. I speculate for millions of viewers, underlying the comedic aspects of the show, there is deep subliminal satisfaction that comes from vicariously living in this close knit community of friends. I think these are the same emotional undercurrents that propelled the 80’s show Cheers, “Where everyone knows your name,” to the top of the TV ratings.
Whether you are from the generation of the 1980s, 1990s, or today, or back in the First Century during the time following the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we all hunger and thirst for meaningful and deep friendships. I submit Friends showcases a small group in action. As humans it is only natural that our viewing habits reflect this yearning. The sad reality for many may be the only place they get this sense of community is on a TV show. It is said we are a 24/7 connected culture but all too often living in disconnected isolation. The Church (the people not the buildings) of Jesus Christ stands in contrast and Christ-followers need not live in such seclusion. And not only do Christ-followers need not live this way, we can include the many who do live that way by inviting them in.
The First Century Church, as illustrated by Pastor Jason, lived life fully and practiced hospitable inclusion. Changed lives lead to lives being changed and community being formed. Jesus is still changing lives today. A great place to witness, and not just witness, but “be” an intimate part of life change, is in a GateWay Connect Small Group. Although the weekend service at GateWay is a wonderful gathering of real people, it is not a place “where everyone knows your name.” A GateWay Connect Small group is a place “where everyone knows your name.” We sincerely encourage you to join a small group, lead a new group and if you are in a small group, invite someone new.