A few weeks back I had the chance to go backpacking with a couple friends up in the western Virginia mountains. I noticed a few interesting things on my trip, but the one I thought was really unique was that after we had set up camp for the evening a couple hours later a guy came hiking into the clearing we were in. We talked for a bit, and he eventually set up his tent at another campsite. He was backpacking alone that weekend, and after a while he came and hung out with us for a while.
Now, don’t get me wrong. If it wouldn’t end in my untimely death (I’m bad at backpacking) I would enjoy backpacking on my own. Yet it was interesting that even though this guy was out in the mountains alone when we offered him a spot at our campfire to hang out, he joined us for quite a while. It’s crazy that community is such a basic human need. It’s like we are all wired in a way that makes us long for a place to belong.
Obviously this has church implications. People need connections, and that’s why larger church have no choice except to move towards building a small group ministry. In fact, if you point out any healthy church that’s actively growing and making progress for the kingdom all of them have some way of helping people connect with others. They all have some kind of program that fulfills that basic human need for community.