Contacting Versus Connecting

This article, Contacting Versus Connecting, is from the Church and Culture blog.


One of the great myths of relational life is that community is something found. In this fairy tale, community is simply out there – somewhere – waiting to be discovered like Prince Charming finding Cinderella. All you have to do is find the right person, join the right group, get the right job or become involved with the right church. It’s kind of an “Over the Rainbow” thing; it’s not here, so it must be over there.

Which is why so many people – and you’ve seen them and probably flirted with this yourself – go from relationship to relationship, city to city, job to job, church to church, looking for the community that they think is just around the corner if they could only find the right people and the right place. The idea is that real community exists somewhere and we simply must tap into it. It’s not something you have to work at; in fact, if you have to work at it, then you know it’s not real community.

This mindset runs rampant in our day. If you have to work at community in a marriage, you must not be right for each other. If you have to work on community where you are employed, you’ve got a bad boss or bad coworkers or a bad structure. If you have to work at community in a neighborhood, you just picked the wrong subdivision. If you have to work on things with people in a church, well, there are obviously just problems with the church or its leadership or… yep, its “community.”

I cannot stress enough how soundly unrealistic, much less unbiblical, this is. Community is not something you find; it’s something you build. What you long for isn’t about finding the right mate, the right job, the right neighborhood, the right church—it’s about making your marriage, making your workplace, making your neighborhood and making your church the community God intended. Community is not something discovered; it is something forged. I don’t mean to suggest any and all relationships are designed for, say, marriage. Or that there aren’t dysfunctional communities you should flee from. My point is that all relationships of worth are products of labor.

This is why the Bible talks about people needing to form and make communities, not just come together as a community or “experience” community. It’s why principles are given – at length – for how to work through conflict. It’s why communication skills are articulated in the Bible and issues such as anger are instructed to be dealt with. It’s why the dynamics of successfully living with someone in the context of a marriage or family are explored in depth. As the author of Hebrews puts it so plainly:

        So don’t sit around on your hands! No more dragging your

        feet… run for it! Work at getting along with each other.

        (Hebrews 12:12-14, The Message)

James Emery White

A Million Little Choices


As we go into the summer months, where is God leading you? As we live a million little choices, we set a trajectory to our lives, our families, and our groups. More often than not, we make these choices without even recognizing what we are doing. Today, where is Jesus inviting you to align with His Kingdom? In the midst of a lifetime of choices, today will you make just one to align with Him? Maybe its showing grace to a coworker. Maybe its loving your spouse. Maybe its making time to be with Jesus today. Will you make the choice?

Click the link to watch this short (two-minute) video on RightNow Media:

Are You Qualified to Lead?

Ever feel like you’re not qualified to lead? Scripture is filled with the beautiful stories of men and women who were called to make a kingdom impact. Often times, it’s the imperfect that perfectly fit into His plan. As Groups wind down, where have you found His strength in spite of your weakness? How can we celebrate His faithfulness this year?


What distracts you the most? Social media? TV? Magazines? Pastor Ryan has a message for you about distractions, take a moment to watch:


A Challenge

In this week’s video message, Pastor Ryan has a challenge for Group Leaders. Take a few minutes to watch, then let the challenge begin!

Also, we want to hear how God is moving in your group. Please email a testimony to Sarah or Ryan at your convenience. Ideally, we’d love to receive one submission from each Group.

What Makes A Great Leader?

Have you ever wondered what makes a leader great? Is it conflict resolution? Communication skills? Pastor Ryan has some thoughts.

You can reach Pastor Ryan by emailing or by calling (253) 848-2028.

Overlooked Aspects of the Christmas Story

Many of us will read the Christmas Story out of the Bible with our families in the coming days, and if you’re like me, the parts that stand out are the angel appearing to the shepherds, the faithfulness of the shepherds who went to find Jesus right away, and Mary “treasuring” the information the shepherds shared with her.

In this excerpt from his Christmas devotional, pastor and author Paul Tripp reflects on three aspects of the Christmas story that are often overlooked. Please take three minutes to watch this short video.

May you have a blessed holiday season as you reflect on the sacrifice, honesty and glory of our Savior.

News For Home Group Leaders

Next week, home group leaders Dutch and Sharon Bylsma are hosting an exciting event at Lighthouse and all home group leaders are invited! Missionaries Dave and Jen Bell will be sharing a testimony about their baby rescue and adoption ministry in Kenya. This special event will take place on Tuesday, September 12th from 7 to 9 p.m. in Room 321 in the new building. If you plan to attend, please send an email to


If your home group would like to jump right into a service project this year, Lighthouse can use your help! As you know, Lighthouse was blessed with a new building without undergoing much debt. To keep costs low, Lighthouse relies on volunteer cleaning teams to serve for just three hours on a Saturday morning. Since the opening of the new building, all of the cleaning shifts have been filled. However, after this month (September), there are very few volunteers scheduled to help. If your home group is willing to serve our church in this capacity, please sign up online at


How’s Your Prayer Life?

Take a moment to think about the way that you pray. Has it become routine, or do you feel like you’re really connecting with God and having a conversation? When was the last time you heard from the Spirit? What did he say? However you would rate your prayer life, I invite you to take about ten minutes to watch this video of Francis Chan talk about prayer. The stories he shares about the growth of his own prayer life are encouraging and motivating. Feel free to pass the link on to your group members if you’d like.

A Lesson in Leadership

Home groups, learning groups and fun groups are starting back up this month. As you jump back into your leadership role, take a moment to watch this video about building momentum within your group. It may seem silly at first, but watch what happens, it just might surprise you.

If you missed today’s training about equipping and empowering your peers to become leaders themselves, and would like more information, email to set up a time to talk.