Is the modern day church where we also find community?
I think it's safe to say that in many ways church has moved away from its original design and become a pit stop once a week, maybe twice, along our Christian journey.
Then there's the other extreme. Where devotion to church is so legalistic and templated that there is no room for the manifestation of the Spirit's power. We don't need to rely on the Holy Spirit when we have a template and strategy that we hold tightly to.
I can't help but continue to go back to the first church formed in Acts 2. The New Living Translation titles this passage of scripture as "The Believers Form a Community."
Acts 2: 42 All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer. 43 A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. 44 And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. 45 They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. 46 They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity— 47 all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.
I sincerely believe that the human heart continues to long for community. Though we've become a very individualistic society I do believe something in us still craves the fulfillment that comes from doing life with people. Even if you consider yourself the most introvert of introverts lol.
I'm questioning what it takes to get back to this? As someone called to a direct form of ministry I understand the emotional roller coaster that comes with pouring yourself out and often times based on responses feeling like you want something for people more than they want it for themselves.
I also acknowledge the person who feels as though they've tried to be devoted to community and only find themselves being deeply hurt by people who they expected so much more from as followers of Christ and as men and women in leadership.
While I don't have all the answers I do know one answer is to press on.
Phillipians 3: 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
I believe that those of us who have been called to lead communities have to press on when things feel fruitless and pointless and continue to set our eyes above.
I believed that we as believers have to continue to press on to see the fulfillment of God's Kingdom here on Earth and to be committed to the type of community we're called to as disciples of Christ.
As with most things, it starts with us individually. How do you need to be different in order to see community happen within the Body of Christ as intended and demonstrated Biblically.
If you're a leader of community this especially starts with your own relationship with Christ. Ensure that you're continuing to prioritize this relationship and hearing directly from God about his good and perfect will for your community of believers.
All of us as believers have the same call within our personal relationships with God. We have the call to continue to repent in the areas we're falling short and not operating within God's will for our lives.
Stop choosing comfort over community. We continuously choose self and then complain about the effects. We complain about not feeling fulfilled. We acknowledge the effects of isolation or self preservation on our relationship with God, but don't feel the effects enough to be compelled towards change and repentance.
At some point it isn't a matter of needing to hear from God concerning what needs to be different but simply a matter of what God has already stated in the Bible. How's that going?
Hebrews 12: 12 So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. 13 Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.
Let's all get up. Let's take a new grip. Let's mark out a straight path. Let's commit to something different and let's anticipate the move of God in doing so.