Community

42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. 44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.

46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart,47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47
 
     What do you picture when you hear the word “community”? I wonder if we all think and picture the same thing. I am convinced that the modern day church is suffering from a lack of community. It seems that though everyone is talking about it (which is good), very few are doing it.
 
     In Acts 2, the church planters were given 4 imperatives for their mission: continue in the apostles’ doctrine, fellowship, break bread together, and prayer. Each of these items were important individually, but also built on each other to produce a community of individuals who were distinctly Christian and enjoyed the same worldview, cared about and for one another, spent time doing life together, and submitted all things, every part of their lives, to God, in prayer, through Jesus Christ.
 
     Some words that come to mind with biblical community are:
Availability
– take the TIME to spend with people, interact, have real conversations about real issues, have fun together. Community doesn’t automatically happen with time spent; there needs to be quality things happening during that time… but time is a required element.
 

Shared Life

– A certain amount of transparency is necessary to build community. People need to know your strengths and weaknesses in order to love you well, support you, pray for you, and hold you accountable to God’s Word. This transparency doesn’t happen over night, nor should it. It comes through discernment and a progressive, deepening sense of community.
 

Strength

– There is a strength that grows individually and corporately as community deepens; we enjoy safety, comfort, challenge, growth, prayer, faith, accountability, and exhortation.
 
     We have an amazing church family! I have honestly never been in a church where I have met such genuine and caring people. But I want to encourage all of us to be even more purposeful about developing community in our lives and in our church; a community that is identified by the fruit of the Spirit and godly care for others. This is not something that should be saved for church services, but should be practiced everyday as we interact with each other. Even with all of the church activities that are planned, we still need to let each other into our private lives in order for real community to flourish. We have an opportunity to develop something epic of eternal value; a unique, and God-intended community. But we will need to make the time and reach out with boldness and courage. Who’s with me?
 
Love you guys, 
Pastor Jim