The foundational, deep roots of community are an essential component in our understanding of spiritual formation, which we depict in the image of a fruit-bearing tree to represent our discipleship philosophy. We believe the need to be in community is part of human nature, and it is something engrained in us from our Creator. From the beginning of humanity, the Triune God (Father, Spirit, Son—three in one) declared, "Now let Us conceive a new creation—humanity—made in Our image, fashioned according to Our likeness" (Genesis 1:26). The Godhead, a representation of community in itself, continues to demonstrate the importance of community in the sending of the Son—Jesus Christ—into the world, which the Christian tradition refers to as the Incarnation. Eugene Peterson paraphrases John 1:14 in The Message this way: "The Word [Jesus] became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood." Community is a gift from God, and when we intentionally "move into the neighborhood" with other people, it is bound to get a little messy at times, but that is part of us being fully human and fully present with others.
We believe there is no substitute for close-knit, deep-in-the-trenches type of community. Living life-on-life is not an option for followers of Christ, and as part of our ongoing discipleship, we all need to experience spiritual growth and accountability in the context of small groups where people intimately know one another. Each of our Life Groups will be a little different, but a common purpose for all of our Life Groups is to be communities where life transformation happens. In light of the communal nature of this important foundation of our discipleship philosophy, it is vitally important to note the overlap between the various components of discipleship (e.g., worship frequently occurs in community with others, communities with shared gifts and passions can be on mission together). Wherever you have been and wherever you may be going, Harris Creek invites you to make yourself at home and establish deep roots in community.