Fri, 08/22/2008 – 02:04 — David Watson
One of the areas in my own life I have been struggling with for the past year is the concept of community and what it means to be a community and live in community. I have for several years realized that church, as practiced in most places around the world, does not meet the definition of community as revealed in the Bible. In my next few blog posts I want to explore with you what a Biblical Community of Believers would look like, and how we can lead Believers to live in Biblical Community.
“Community” has been defined in numerous ways, and I find them all true when applied to church. and I find the all unfulfilling when I try to get to the essence of what a Community of Believers should be. The basic definitions of community relate to a group of people who live in the same area, or have a common background/history, or who interact with one another on a frequent basis, or just society in general. All of these apply to most churches, yet there should be more to a Community of Believers than is expressed in any or all of these definitions.
I want to be a part of a community that makes me a better person, man, husband, father, leader, servant, businessman, friend, servant of God and more. I want to be a part of a community that protects the weak, picks up the fallen, binds up the wounded and heals the sick, encourages excellence, provides hope to all, and promotes well-being. I want to be a part of a community that provides a safety net for those who may lose their jobs, supports the retired with limited resources, helps widows and widowers with limited means, provides security to the orphaned, educates everyone, trains for any job that furthers the goals of the community, and helps anyone reach his/her economic potential. I want to be a part of a community that welcomes the stranger with open arms, protects it members from the snakes and wolves of this world, builds safe emotional and spiritual and physical environments, expects moral integrity from all members, yet is willing to forgive those who truly repent. I want to be a part of a community that is a launching pad for the young to become the best they can be as God has gifted them, and encourages every member to explore avenues of interest that benefit the community and the Kingdom of God. I want to be a part of a community that makes the world a better place to live, meets the needs of those with less, demonstrates to the world what it means to be committed to a relationship to God that transforms individuals and families, and offers a doorway to the Kingdom of Heaven to any who are interested and called to enter. I want to be part of a community that responds to human disaster and natural disaster, makes no distinctions between individuals or groups based on gender, race, physical condition, age, economic condition, or education, and does not falter to do what is right because of boundaries established by political entities when the welfare of individuals, families, or groups are concerned. I want to be a part of a community that looks not only to its own interests, but also LOOKS to meet needs where ever they may be found, and establish systems that build independence and self improvement that rely on God and the interdependence of His creation and His Communities of Believers, A.K.A. the church.
We will examine together what the Bible has to say about community, and how we who are church planters and church leaders can help pave the way to Biblical community. As with many topics found in the Bible, the ideal community will be beyond human reach. But this does not mean we should not try to reach it, or expect less than what God wants for all of us as we live in a Community of Believers, or fail to understand that with God “all things are possible.”