Community as taught by minions
If you enjoy animated films or have little ones, you have probably seen the Minions movie that followed the popular “Despicable Me”—a story of a super villain and his minions finding a family—and “Despicable Me 2” movies. “Minions” takes place as a sort of prequel featuring the funny little yellow pill-shaped characters whose only true desire in life is to be together and find and serve the biggest, baddest boss out there! Nothing is more important to them—it is their purpose.
Just like these silly banana-eating little guys, each of us was created with an innate desire to belong to a community in fellowship. It’s not just a group of people with similar interests, but a body of believers united for a common purpose. That common purpose is what forges those bonds between you and others. Think of your friends, colleagues, brothers and sisters in arms, and even your spouse. Haven’t you experienced the most significant times of bonding and connection when you were working together, joint effort and joint conviction, toward a common goal? There’s a biblical reason for that.
Since the beginning, we were created for community. Since the time of Pentecost in Acts 1, the Church—the Body of Christ—has been given the common goal of sharing the Good News. Our faith is never meant to be a private thing. We are commanded by Jesus to go, tell, disciple, baptize, teach and keep the faith (Matthew 28:18–20). Those are our marching orders as a community of believers, and we have to make the decision every day to carry them out.
Think back to our little minion friends. At the beginning of the film, when they are without a big, bad boss or a purpose, those normally chipper yellow guys are miserable. They are so depressed they can barely stand. The games and foods that used to bring them joy are empty and unfulfilling. That’s really how our lives were before we belonged to the Body of Christ. Being in the military, most of us have had some form of “community with a mission” that we’ve been a part of, so we get that.
But a mission and purpose that is soul fulfilling with the joy of the Lord is at a whole different level. Just like all those little sad minions, we can go through the motions of life without joy. That’s why God commanded the truth of Christ’s redemption to be delivered through the fellowship of community. As odd or as obvious as this may sound, the Body of Christ and Christ Jesus are inseparable. You just can’t have an alive and growing faith without plugging in to the global community of believers (see Romans 12:4–6).
Your life as an officer may include a lot of transient faith and community. When you PCS, it can be challenging, time consuming or tedious to put in the work to find a group of Christ followers with whom you can connect. Maybe you had to leave a great group of close friends who’d seen each other through some heavy things, or perhaps you had just begun to forge meaningful relationships when your orders came. Once we have experienced deeper Christian community, our hearts eventually ache for this kind of community again. It is our job to take what we have learned from our past communities and take it with us wherever we go next in order to create and include others in something even better.
Think about this—you may be the one at your next assignment with the most experience in community. Community is where we learn, grow, give and receive affirmation and affection and so much more. How appropriate then that we are called together to fellowship and worship together and to disciple one another. In fact, the word “worship” is usually understood in Scripture as a corporate verb.
We are communal beings created in the image of the communal, triune God. As a Christ-follower, you are now part of the Body of Christ—the universal Church that spans continents and centuries and life itself, inclusive of all who call Jesus their Lord. That’s amazing!
If you look around the world today and particularly in our own cultural movements, it should be pretty clear to understand that as the Body of Christ, we are no longer the “home team.” Much of the cheering for Christian values and sensibilities and lifestyles has died down. The world, principalities and powers resist the message of the gospel at every turn. In this current environment, it is all the more crucial to be part of a team with a focused purpose.
Ultimately, we know the end of the story, and it ends in victory. Until then, however, we have a critical mission to accomplish with the rest of the Body of Christ. It is by joining together in steadfast conviction that we live as witnesses for Christ in an unreceptive climate. So, Christ-following minions, unite! Together we show to the world that there is another option—a joy-filled purpose to serve Jesus Christ, the biggest, baddest boss out there!
About Dave and Raine
Dave is a Christian ministries professor at Judson University, special projects assistant for MCYM, and senior author/editor for the military teen website RezLife with the American Bible Society. Dave’s daughter, Raine, is a freelance writer, reader, nomad, new wife, art historian, animal lover, Pinterest addict, horror fan and Christ follower. For more information on the RezLife geared especially for your military teen, check out the RezLife website.
Biblical perspectives on community and fellowship
Galatians 6:1—Here God tells us that community in fellowship is good for calling out with love the bad things that we do. It is our brothers and sisters in Christ who God often uses to speak to us and show us a better way.
Psalm 34:3—Another thing we can do in community is praise God together. There is something very uplifting about being able to worship together.
There are people who are your friends and who will speak truth into your life. Who are those people that you can go deeper with? What are some ways community has been there to support you or other ways your friends have been there for you? Are you a person people can count on?
Some of the most important things when cultivating deep and meaningful friendships are time, trust and mutual respect. Other things that may help are common interests, groups or hobbies. Maybe it’s time to get out there and try something new. Make an action plan. Don’t wait for someone to come to you. Pray that God would open doors and help you move forward.