Developing in Community: Good but Risky

Circle of Hope community, church, love, Jesus, group of icons

Community is the place where our faith develops and our transformation plays out. Relationships matter.

So glad to belong, right now.

Circle of Hope is preparing to birth a new congregation in northwest Philly. I am one of the pastors for this new congregation. We are doing this because we want to expand opportunities for people to get into the Body of Christ by belonging, so they can have a tangible place to work out faith and transformation that comes through Jesus. Being in a community held together by the love of Jesus—being known and forgiven—is transformational. As an experienced social worker and someone who has benefited from therapy, I know the importance of counseling and the helping professions. However, personal psychological work or social improvement alone isn’t salvation. It comes through Jesus and is worked out in the Body of Christ.

So challenged to develop, right now!

In community, our vulnerable places present opportunities for grace and mercy from God and others. I was feeling some of this recently when a friend asked me how things are going. I was telling her a little about how I have been growing and where I feel stuck. I need a lot of grace as I step in to this new role as a pastor. I have a lot of things to work out. I feel unsure about making decisions and prioritizing. I write blog posts but leave them unfinished instead of refining my thoughts and putting myself out there. I recognize old patterns kicking up and struggle to instill more discipline into my life. I am leaving familiar territory and entering into something new with God. I am developing. We all are. Is this not what happens when we follow Jesus? It feels risky to leave what is seemingly predictable to live provisionally with God and his people. But it is in this new territory that God keeps providing for me and for us. We have so much good among us! There are so many resources for developing. None of us is expected to have it all worked out. We have each other and God to help us along.

— Julie Hoke

[Julie (julie@circleofhope.net) was just deployed to be the pastor for our next congregation in Northwest Philly! New Sunday meeting Sep. 11! Check out the blog Julie and Jerome started.]

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