We know that community is a vital idea for us as God’s people. But how do we make the most of it? How do we tell if we’re experiencing the fullness of fellowship the way God designed it?
In a previous post on community, I used this illustration: If today’s typical Christian community were a car, it would advertise its fantastic hubcaps, rearview mirrors, hood design, paint color, and sound systems, and quite possibly have left standard equipment, like brakes or the engine, in the factory! A car without an engine won’t travel very far. Neither will a church, small group, or any group of believers experience God’s best for their community if they are focused only on things like curriculum, buildings, programs, bulletin design, number of staff, service times, or how good the worship band is.
I’m not saying that these things don’t have a part in the equation, but this may be why many believers (maybe even those who attend church or a small group) still have a huge void in their lives. They lack safe, transformational relationships with other believing friends.
A community functioning on all cylinders, with all equipment, will display these five God-designed characteristics:
· Interdependent relationships
· Authentic relationships
· Transformational relationships
· Redemptive influence (the Gospel flows naturally)
· Lives of worship (we praise God 24/7 in every arena of life)
When we keep this “standard equipment” as a main focus for our fellowship with other believers, we’ll begin to fight off isolation and loneliness and experience everything God has for us.
Are you experiencing the “standard equipment” of Christian community? How can you initiate a boost in the horsepower of your current relationships and church community to develop these characteristics more fully?