Community Building

Besides a hilarious TV show and the word we use when we want to make church sound less formal, what is community? calls it a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common. At the Aroma, one of our desires is to build up a community that helps others become the Aroma of Christ. But how do we do this? Community Groups.

About four months ago, we launched three brand new Community Groups with the intent of creating a space for people to grow that particular common characteristic, specifically; Christ-likeness. Our goal was to give people a space to get to know their brothers and sisters in Christ and spend time forming community. Community that can then better help others smell and spread, the Aroma. We intentionally launched Community Groups on Sunday nights after our church service.

Since beginning, we’ve seen some pretty amazing things happen. Some expected, some unexpected. All of them full of Holy Spirit working.

“I crave time with people.”

This is what one young man said to me one Sunday evening. “My job keeps me so busy throughout the week. This time that we have to hang out with each other is so valuable because there is no other time that I have to be with our community.”

“I’m thankful for a group of people to come back to… I feel so well received.”

This was the response from an old friend who had left our community for some time and then came back. He has dealt with the passing of his father, much strife in his home country, and the recent revealing of a change in beliefs. Thank the Lord that He has worked through our community to provide a safe space for this young man.

Can we lead some activities tonight?

“Can we lead some activities tonight? We want to go even deeper with everyone.”

What a joy it is to see those whom you walk with stand up and make their faith their own. These two individuals met and planned out an entire event to be done during the Community Group that meets in our home. It started with some simple questions getting to know one another and forming community, which led to us talking about the sermon from earlier in the day and deepening community, and finally a time of prayer with one another in order to strengthen community.

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” (3 John 1:4)

Whether it’s a Community Group like ours or a big community meal such as some churches have. Holy Spirit uses many ways to build the Body of Christ. This is what we do at the Aroma. What about you?

Adding to the Kingdom

I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building. 1 Corinthians 3:6-9

Last month at the Aroma we received two men into the Kingdom of God. I am honored to call them my brothers in Christ and so I want to introduce them to you, our international family!

This is Sam.

A prayer of blessing over Sam after he made his decision to follow Christ.

Sam was brought to church by a friend who wanted to check out the Aroma church but didn’t want to come alone. I’ve watched Sam sit and listen intently to many sermons over the months. We’ve prayed over Sam, who has struggled with health problems for quite some time. Yet, it wasn’t until recently during a prayer meeting where he was asked, “Sam, do you want to give your life to Christ?” His answer was, “Yes.” Praise the Lord!

Sam’s story wasn’t an overnight conversion. His friend who brought him to church has been praying a long time for him. Sam’s asked many good questions and took time to consider who he is putting his faith in. And Holy Spirit has met Sam where he is.

Pray for Sam. His family, like many in Taiwan, and he has an ancestor shelf in his home. There they offer prayers to their ancestor’s spirits in hope for good fortune and health. Sam wants to remove it and, as the eldest son, has the right to do so. Yet, he has several older sisters who are opposed. So, we pray for Holy Spirit to use Sam in his family’s situation. We anticipate God working through Sam’s story.

This is Nick.

Nick + The Siemens took a trip to Yehliu Geopark.

Nick became acquainted with the Aroma through our English ministry; Coffee Talk. For quite a few months Nick would come every Friday night to release tension from work and practice his English. – Funny how some people think language learning and relaxation can go hand in hand!

I remember one Friday night asking Nick how he was doing since his composure made me think he wasn’t having the best day. It was then that he revealed to me that he wasn’t performing well at his job. His boss kept reminding him of this and he was becoming more and more disappointed and frustrated with himself. – I love how Coffee Talk gives us this opportunity to see into people’s lives and reach out with some Good News!

I ended up praying for Nick and I encouraged him to come to church because I knew he would hear more truth spoken there. He delayed a few weeks. Work was too busy… but eventually he came and he hasn’t stopped coming since!

Fast forward a month or two and Nick has left his job. He seems much more happy and he has a bit more free time on his hands. He asked me if I would be interested in reading through some of the Bible with him. We began meeting weekly and our conversations would go deep quickly. At Nick’s core was a worry, a fear that he would not be able to carve out a career that would be able to provide for himself and his parents, not to mention any future plans of having a family. He said he continued to attend church because the people there were different. They seemed much more happy.

Praise the Lord, soon after this conversation I had another with Nick… But this time it was about him making a decision to put his hope in Christ and leave his worry behind him. He’s still working on letting go of those worries, but now he has Jesus helping him every step of the way.