“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1)
Community is the single-most important aspect we need as people to function happily. Community provides a sense of belonging, an opportunity to give and to receive. It provides the source of human interaction and love that we thrive on.
Even God lives in Community: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Having moved to a foreign country on three separate occasions, it is the sense of Community that has enabled me to settle in.
For the practicing Christian, what is the most obvious source of Community? For the Fellowship of Believers (Acts 2:42), the opportunity where love, companionship and camaraderie is available most readily is the organisation called the Church. The Church is not a building but a body: a group of living, breathing people who engage in relationship so that each is protected, encouraged and challenged to grow more like Jesus.
I’d love to challenge and encourage you the reader, and myself: are we in Community?
For me, Community means an environment where I can share my heart, give of my love and grow with others. Being part of Community takes time and energy, consistent availability and the willingness to form personal bonds. Community is cross-generational, accepting and challenging, involving face-to-face encounters and a shared sense of place and purpose.
Why does Community matter? It matters to us because we are created for relationship and it matters to others, because the world will know us by our love (John 13:35).
Sometimes, I confess, I avoid Community. Writing is isolating and demanding at times, so I simply put my head down and focus on the screen. But in truth, I must reach out, risk and engage. That’s a part of my calling, and my make-up as a human being requires it. Otherwise, negative thoughts and feelings find their way inside me and limit me.
Let’s make sure we are in Community, so that we can be lifted up in our difficult times and lift others during theirs. When circumstances don’t allow face-to-face encounters, let’s reach out on-line or by phone. If our situation prevents us from attending a church group, then let’s find another way to experience reciprocal Community. It’s so important for our continued growth and to encourage the growth of others.
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2 replies on “Living in Community: The Fellowship of Believers”
Recently we started attending a midweek Bible Study in our town and after some weeks the small numbers attending were asked how they felt about attending a Sunday fellowship. To myself and my family, the idea of meeting on a Sunday is a very welcome one and while our objective is to bring the message of the Gospel to others and win souls for Christ, I would be concerned that the group would not become too large. What happens then is that the small group becomes a large group and then a church; the church then becomes a social club more than a church, cliques are formed and gossip sets in…..and if people don’t fit into all the side activities that arise, they start to feel excluded and disillusioned. And if the founders become really ambitious they get ideas about forming branches in other locations and those remaining at the home base start to feel neglected or forgotten.
So while Community is very relevant and important, if we want to articipate in a Christian Community we should not be sidetracked into ambitious projects that deflect from original good intentions or allow ourselves to be reluctantly drawn in to activities we do not feel comfortable with.
Thank you, David. Your observations seem so “spot on” to me. It seems as though the cycle is one beginning with a passion to be different and ending up the same as any other church where growth and not people inevitably becomes the focal point. Let’s hope this is not always the case and pray that folks find the churches/fellowships/gather places/ needed to inspire, equip and feed the sheep 🙂