In the Book of Genesis, there are two views of the Creation story. Two different camera angles. The events recorded in the first two chapters are portrayed in a different sequence…with each rendition serving a purpose, telling a story of its own. From these two vantage points we see God’s Hand, as well as His Heart.

Imagine Genesis Chapter 1 as a helicopter shot. Sweeping views, an epic portrayal of the landscape of Creation, panning across God’s handiwork; six days of moulding masterpieces. Chapter 2 begins on the seventh day, and the camera begins to zoom…dropping down, coming closer, skimming oceans and brushing mountain peaks, rushing Eastward into a forest, a protected place filled with beautiful plants, vegetation and fruit-bearing trees…before settling into focus on a God who moulds and makes by hand. God is forming Adam, and so we find that Genesis 2 contains foundational truth about how man was made, what we need most, and the heart of a LovingGod who will stop at nothing to give us what we need, even if He has to create it from nothing.

The Hebrew words used in verses 8-23 cast beautiful imagery on the scene we’ve described. The “Garden” {which was probably more akin to a forest} was planted in the “East”, the implied meaning being that it was to be a place where God and man would meet, where God Himself would “hasten” to walk with Adam in the cool of the day.

 God designed man to Live in direct, intimate relationship with Him. What happens next is of crucial importance, but is often overlooked: God decides that Adam needs something more. Don’t miss it. Adam already has God, and a relationship with Him. Yet God decides that something more is needed. God’s actions following this decision shine a light on the depth of His love and care for mankind, and His desire to maintain a relationship with us.

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” So the Lord God formed from the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would call them, and the man chose a name for each one… {Gen. 2.18-19 NLT}

God made the animals as a source of companionship for Adam. Formed them by hand, out of the dust, just like He made man. Brought them one by one, species by species, and presented them like gifts to Adam. Like balloon animals at a county fair, created just to bring a smile to a child’s face, God makes animal after animal…and delivers each one, just waiting to see what Adam will think…to see what he will call it.

God, holding a giraffe behind His back like a surprise…“Wait till you see this one Adam”. He does it over, and over…each new animal is a new excuse to visit Adam and make him smile, to bring him a new companion…to spend time with him.

We all know what happens next;God makes Eve, in states the concept of family, and gives one of His greatest gifts to humanity…He creates community. God designed man to Live in community with others. As Adam named animals, God was there. As Adam lived and loved with Eve, God was there. When Adam accepts these gifts from God, he gets more of God along with them. Relationship with God, and community with others, perpetuate one another in a beautiful God ordained cycle.

So we see that the purpose of community is for God to be in the midst of it, visiting His creations as they visit with each other. Speaking to them. Speaking through them. Community was always designed as a mechanism to bring us into deeper relationship with God. And to this day, where two or three gather, He is there in their midst…

How beautiful…our God Who desires to know and be known, Who creates in each of us a desire and need for the same, Who created community as a vehicle, always there to carry us back to Him.

Sow hat does this mean for us? How does it pertain to our ministries?

It’s a simple certainty…

If we give people God, but don’t lead them into community, we’ve only given them half of God’s design. A step further… If community is designed to lead us into deeper relationship with God, when we neglect to nurture it, we’re missing more than just community; we’re missing out on God Himself.

If Jesus died to bridge the gap, gave Himself to re-open the door to the Life God designed for all of us, if He paid full price, why would we ever settle for living on half? Why would we ever lead our followers to the halfway mark, then stop?

Let’s go the distance. Let’s create community, and watch Jesus appear in the middle of it. He’s longing to connect with us, as we connect with others.