Young adults, in particular, deeply yearn not just to learn facts about faith, but to experience the power of that faith in the community. So, for many people belonging comes before believing. And while everyone yearns for community, true community -- really being family, brothers and sisters -- is only fully realized when we have a personal encounter with Christ. That is the power of the Gospel - to break down “the dividing wall” between people and creates bonds stronger even than one’s biological family (see what St. Paul says in Ephesians 2:14).
On a practical level this means that we don’t just have a "welcoming" person at the door -- someone who greets people warmly -- but that we all help everyone who comes to understand the importance of real hospitality. This also means respecting the differences that exist between men and women. This might mean that sometimes we need to address matters in gender-specific small groups This in turn can build strong ties among the men and the women in their respective groups.
|"Laughing Jesus" by Hooks|
Authentic Christian community is intimately tied to evangelization. First, the way we live together gives witness to a world torn apart by division and broken relationships. Jesus tells us, “By this all men will know you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). Second, evangelizing and serving together further builds up the community, as one young adult has shared:
"Going deeper into community isn't just showing up to a bible study though. It is also carrying out service together much like what St. Luke's does with H.O.P.E.S. or Power Packs. When I am with others doing these things, I can see the people grow closer together as they work together."
Challenging young adults to go outside of themselves and put their faith into action is key to building that community and is an essential part of leading young adults to a deeper commitment to Christ and his Church.