A Case for Community- Part I
by Pastor Marc Herron
What if I told you that you were made for community? That you were made to live in fellowship and relationship with others? That unlike many of our natural inclinations, the Christian life is meant to be shared? That it is not a solo project?
There are two primary or broad categories of how many of us live life or approach life. The first approach is individuality. This view prizes privacy as a right and even a virtue. This is a very American thing to do. Yet this is also the road to isolation. The second category or approach to life is one of community; living life together. Community is much more common in our cultures and countries where families stay together and villages are unified together. And yet this idea of community, fellowship, life together, is just what the Scriptures seem to call us into. The scriptures make a clear case for community. Through several scriptures we can see God’s design as good and in response we may desire to participate in God’s plan for life together. The scriptures indicate for us what community is, why community matters, and how community works.
- WHAT is community?
In the book of Acts we see a tremendous example of Christian community.
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. (2:42- 47)
This is what community can look like, it is fellowship, it is unity, communion with other like-minded people; brothers and sisters in Christ. In Acts 2 we find the early church were gathered together (v. 44), they spent time together. They had all things in common (v. 44), they were unified. They were caring for the needs of one another (v. 45), they were generous toward each other. They went to the temple together and ate together (v. 46). They worshiped, praying, being taught, together (vv. 42, 47). And they grew numerically together (v. 47).
Another example in the scriptures is given by the apostle Paul. In his first letter to the believers in Thessalonica, he writes: “So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.” (1 Thess. 2:8). Paul is suggesting two things, 1) they shared the gospel with them AND 2) they shared themselves; their life. They lived life together; they did life together. Pastor Pat Aldridge writes, “we are called to share our lives with other believers. It is necessary for us to be involved in each other’s lives; for devotion, for fellowship, for a meal, and for prayer.” This is community!
Part II: “WHY Community Matters” coming soon.
About the contributor: Pastor Marc has been serving at First Baptist Church since September 2002. He is a graduate Summit University of PA (B.S. 2000, M.A. 2015). He has 15+ years of pastoral experience. Marc married his wife Amanda (Rendon) in December of 2002. They have four children: Paige, Luke, Johanna & Owen.
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