The idea of community seems today to be both trendy and foundational to the Christian faith. Particularly within the millennials the drive for ‘authentic community’ or ‘life on life’ has replaced the one time church growth staple of free coffee and convenient parking. The question however is exactly how do we ‘do life together’?
To begin with let me state that we are in danger of making community the idol of our worship. We are created to be in community and to want to spend time with other people. If we were not we simply would not. It is too messy and cumbersome of a burden. I would argue that it most often when we are broken emotionally or spiritually that we retreat from the group, personal quiet time with God notwithstanding.
So, without being too detailed let me suggest a few must haves in Christian Community and on a few point out the counterfeit so many have come to accept.
- Jesus centric. Christian community, like Christian anything, is focused on Jesus. You can and do have community around other lesser things like Crossfit, Yoga, Being a parent of a toddler or whatever. But, Christian Community has as its main hub the person and teachings of Jesus Christ. If all your group does is get together and have dinner, you may all be Christians but your community is self satisfying and does not actually encourage one another toward a more Christ like existence.
- Intentional. As I said, community is difficult. There has to be an intentionality to it. All people involved must take the ownership of the group. What so often happens is one or two people will do all the investing, while the mass simply takes. There can not only be one person planning all of the get togethers that same person praying, that same one person doing all of the follow up, “we missed you” Facebook messages. It is draining and turns what should be a group effort into a commodity.
- Diverse. Look around, if everyone in your group is the same as you you may not be sharing Christian Community. This is where our community is different from other knock offs. It is also where our community is so fulfilling and purposeful. Because our community is centered on Jesus any life stage can participate, any race is welcome, every education accomplishment is free to speak and invest.
We could no doubt add to this list but these three are from my perspective key to the true formation of Christian Community. In the next few post I will outline some tips in fostering this type of community is various setting such as Church Leadership, the church family and the broader geographic community.
Published July 26, 2016