I have been working on a rather large project in my church lately. It has been awesome, challenging, humbling, and any other -ing words you would want to associate with a big task. There are so many facets and connection points to this thing, and I have been going over all of these things, obsessing over them, making sure that I haven’t missed anything. Now, while I’m sure that I have missed many things because of my own fallible tendencies, one thing is for certain. Community is more than just a trend.
You might read that last sentence and think, “whom ever said it WAS a trend?” I don’t know if anyone has said it outright, but I sense a shift in the church that has been happening for a little while and it is pointing toward truth and authenticity like never before. And this rings especially true for community and relationships. What’s funny about this to me as that if we look at the Bible, relationships have always been the key. The church in Acts became what it was because of the relationships. When they had the rift and appointed deacons to sort out the fair treatment of people (Acts 6), they picked 7 men who were “well respected and full of the Spirit and wisdom (verse 3). Respect (and disdain) comes from knowledge. These people lived in this community and people respected them for it.
Christian communities have struggled because we aren’t worshiping together. Sure, we are worshiping in the room at the same time. Sure people are coming to worship centers and auditoriums and sanctuaries (did I miss anyone?) around the country. But are we really worshiping in community, or are we single worshipers that happen to be in a room with other people? I believe there is a difference. If I come to work, I do my job, and it consists mostly of me emailing people and communicating with them as little as possible, knowing where people are just so I can avoid them when I go to the bathroom, we are working together because we are in the same place. But we aren’t working together. From a church standpoint, when you come into the room and you sing, but not too loud because you don’t want to be heard, or the only time you talk to someone is when they make you during the dreaded meet and greet time, and you leave right as the offering is being taken so you can get to your car before the parking lot gets too jammed because you want to beat the crowds for lunch, you might be in the room worshiping (and if you’re thinking THAT hard about other stuff, I’d challenge your idea of worship), but you’re not worshiping together.
True community and togetherness creates passion to do life with others. You share experiences. You share you worship times. You truly worship together. Again, I sense that we are going to see this be more pronounced in our churches in the next few years. I know that I’m pushing toward it in my own fellowship. There is a learning curve, and I believe it’s because we’ve been rocked to sleep. Rocked by performance driven worship. Rocked by systematic Sunday programming. Rocked by uninspiring messages. I sense that a shaking is coming and it’s coming with this next generation. I do in fact “see a generation, rising up to take their place, with selfless faith…” We really do need to be on our knees in preparation for what God wants to do next. We need to be on our knees together. Praying together. Worshiping together. Serving together. The community needs to be strong again. I know I’m starving for it. I don’t think I’m the only one.
Are you in a strong community? What is it like? Are you not in a strong community? What do you feel like you’re missing? What are you doing to find community? Let me hear from you.