Community

What does the word “community” mean to you?  Many of our towns in the northeast have a white church building (or several) on the town square reminding us of a day when neighbors knew each other and were involved in each others lives.  Today, we are more likely to be close with people who share a common interest or experience even if they live 20 miles away.

We go “to church” and we hear about community but what does it really mean?

I grew up among Christians who looked at the early church as a model of this community.  We wanted to “go where the early church was going.”  We regularly raised the fact that they were committed to four things (Apostles teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer).  We knew all of the greek words and the nuances of each word.  BUT – just because you know and understand a concept, it doesn’t mean it is real in your life.  Selah!

Well, here’s a thought.  The early church met in homes and occasionally in a rented hall or in the synagogue.  They chose, however, to focus their building of community in their homes.  That limited the size of their meetings.  Did you know they also didn’t have paid staff, run “programs” or center their meetings around the sermon.  Ever wanted to be a fly of the wall to see what their meetings were like?  I know I do.

Check out Robert Banks book, “Paul’s Idea of Community” or Frank Viola and George Barna’s book entitled, “Pagan Christianity.”  They describe something very different than what we often experience.  What do you think?

 

 

8 comments for “Community

  1. Lawrence
    October 17, 2016 at 12:47 pm

    Great insights in this article and the comments

    The idea of community is buzzing in me!

    Thank you all

  2. David Simmons
    September 26, 2016 at 5:29 am

    Every time a new “Jesus” film comes out, I am intrigued as to how the central character is portrayed. Is he Anglo-American and blond? Does he look Jewish? Is he portrayed by a superstar which detracts from the portrayal?

    Every time we share life within our church community, I am reminded that we see the face of Jesus in our brothers and sisters. We need the church community – we are designed to be interdependent, and there is something so powerful in a corporate expression of love.

    The other part of me wants to see other lives transformed into his likeness – those who don’t yet know him.

  3. August 27, 2014 at 10:14 am

    How did the early church – comprised of Jew and Gentile – accomplish this stunning feat
    of taking very diverse people; Jew, Gentile, various kinds of Gentiles and form them
    together in one corporate whole that was characterized by love for one another that was
    uncommon for the ancient world, so that when there was a famine in Jerusalem, brethren
    who were not Jewish – in places as far away as Macedonia, Corinth – would send enough
    relief to take care of the needs of the brethren in Jerusalem? How could such a thing have
    happened?

    How did the first century church accomplish this stunning change, wherein that they
    loved each other the world was astonished? How could that have happened? We have not
    grown in regard to this matter, historically, we have regressed. What was it that caused
    these very diverse people – racially diverse, spiritually diverse, different backgrounds
    culturally and so on people in Macedonia, Corinth having nothing in common particularly
    with each other and less in common with the brethren in Jerusalem then they might have
    had in common with each other. Yet they sent sustained relief – not a once in a while,
    take up some offerings – they sent sustained relief to alleviate the problems caused by
    famine in Jerusalem. How did that happen? The answer is first and foremost and at the
    core, they came into the culture of the kingdom. They were different. Once they crossed
    over, being released from the domain of darkness into the kingdom, they came to be
    immediately exposed to a culture that taught them that they were one people. They were
    not Jew, they were not Gentile, they were not bond, they were not free, these issues
    of….now practically they remained Jew or Gentile.

    Here is the clue. Turn with me to the book of Acts chapter 2 verse 42, speaking of how
    3000 were added to their numbers that day, that’s the day of Pentecost. And right after
    that, “They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching(The early church was led by apostles, not by pastors, but by apostles) , to the fellowship, to the
    breaking of bread and to prayer.” Four things, these were the four cultural imperatives of
    the kingdom, “They devoted themselves,” devoted themselves.

    Now, the word ‘apostolos’ means “one sent”. That means there’s somebody who sends the
    one who is sent and it means the one who is sent is sent to do the will of the one who
    sent him.

  4. August 3, 2014 at 10:16 am

    I think we live in an age of ever increasing digital inter-connectedness, combined with a greater isolation. As a people we need to have an answer for those who are searching for community online. I have nearly 1,000 Twitter followers. My youngest son said to be, “how many of those have you actually met?” OUCH!

    • Keith
      August 3, 2014 at 4:56 pm

      What a great point David! Don’t you think we’ll come at some point to hunger for real community? The digital feeds have their place but can never be a substitute for community and true friendship. From the mouths of babes…

  5. Mark McGrath
    Mark McGrath
    March 16, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    Keith, I am convinced that the time to re-evaluate where believers find community. Let’s keep our hearts searching for reality here.

    • Keith
      March 16, 2014 at 2:33 pm

      Good point. Seems like I have to overcome so many things to stay hungry. How about you?

  6. Keith
    March 16, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    Good food for thought. Thanks.

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