Have you found a church community?

When I told my pastor in Singapore I was moving to Hong Kong in 2023, his first concern was not about my new job, housing, or when I would return. His primary concern was how I would stay connected with the body of Christ. So why is having a Christian community so important?

Ephesians is one of my go-to books for Bible study because it addresses this very question. I’ll share three reasons from Ephesians on why church community is important and examples of how I experienced them with my Growth Group at St Andrew’s:

we form deeper relationships in our Growth Groups

1) “To comprehend, with all the saints.. and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge” (Eph 3:18-19). My understanding of the gospel as an individual imperfect and sinful man is, at its best, limited and, at its worst, flawed. How crucial is it then that Paul prays for the church that our understanding of Christ’s love needs to be with all the saints.

This is why our Growth Group meetings are focussed on Bible study. Every week, we engage in discussions to sharpen our understanding of God’s word. It is more than an intellectual exercise. Perhaps the most encouraging moments I experienced were simply listening to others share how the Bible passage personally impacted them—because this is our creator, God, speaking to us.

2) “To equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” (Eph 4:12). Ministry work is not the sole responsibility of our pastors, church staff, or leaders – it is a role shared by every member, to strengthen the church. Understanding and experiencing the love of Christ should inspire us to take our own actions of love, as Paul describes, “to walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us.” (Eph 5:2).

Growth Group gives me the opportunity to love sinful people sacrificially and to be loved by others despite my own sinfulness. This is how we point each other to Christ. When we encourage, support and pray for one another, and of course, love each other in practical ways, we form deeper relationships in our Growth Groups. It helps make a big church feel small and intimate.

3) The days are evil (Eph 5:16, 6:13). Paul ends his letter asking the church to put on the armour of God, because we are fighting a war. A war not of flesh and blood. A war I know I’ll lose, if I fight alone.

Paul warns us of the “flaming darts of the evil one” (Eph 6:16) and I feel the bombardment everyday – the world trying to deceive me what success looks like, its twisted versions of morality and love, and persecution if my faith says otherwise. It’s a battle not meant to be fought alone.

That is why I’m greatly encouraged by my Growth Group, seeing brothers and sisters by my side standing firm. We share in our honest struggles and failures. We correct and hold each other accountable. We help each other set our minds on things of heaven, not things of earth, which we are so easily distracted by.

When we gather as a Growth Group, equipped with the knowledge of Christ’s love and walking together in that same love, we get a glimpse of that beautiful image Paul describes of the church – “the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love”. (Eph 4:16)

St Andrew's Member