In her book Hold Me Tight, Dr. Sue Johnson writes that one of the reasons the love relationship is so central to people’s lives today is that “we are increasingly living in social isolation … Most of us no longer live in supportive communities with our birth families or childhood friends close at hand. We work longer and longer hours, commute farther and farther distances, and thus have fewer and fewer opportunities to develop close relationships.”
While this is true of many places, it is particularly true of New York City. Many people that come here don’t have family or childhood friends here. Long hours at work is almost a given. In a city with so many millions of people, forming relationships can become even more difficult, as it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
This can even be true at our church. Thousands of people attend Redeemer churches each Sunday. Odds are that you won’t sit next to the same person twice in one year; how, then, will you develop close relationships and gain the sense of belonging that comes with community?
The answer is “intentionality.” If you want to build close relationships, you’ll need to be intentional about it. Redeemer has created a simple way for you to do that: Community Groups. Community Groups are a place where you can intentionally build relationships with real people, where you can wrestle with the Christian faith and its implications together, and where you can find people to walk alongside you through all the joys and sorrows that life brings.
Every fall Redeemer launches new, seven-week Community Groups called “Beta Groups” that are perfect for people who are new to church, new to the city, new to the Christian faith, or new to intentional community. They are perfect for people who are curious or even skeptical about the Christian faith; in fact, some groups are especially designed for those who are grappling with the truth claims of Christianity: these are called “Questioning Christianity Groups.” Seven weeks is a relatively short commitment, and it’s a great chance to test community life at Redeemer.
What might you find if you join a Beta Group this fall? One member who joined last year said this: “I was happy to have joined a Beta Group because it made the sermon stick — not only to hear the message but to discuss it with a group helped it become a more tangible part of my life. Of course, the friendships forged are no small part of what makes our group special. At first, it was somewhat awkward, but it has organically grown into a true relationships where we are comfortable talking about any topic, ranging from faith to personal struggles to plain old sports and bar talk — not common in NYC and something to be cherished.”
With every step into relationship, there is risk involved. Life is messy, and we’re all imperfect. But by intentionally taking the step to build relationships and community, you may find that you have helped build “something to be cherished.”
For more information, visit redeemer.com/beta.