Church Issue # 1: Community...

I've been in "the church" all of my life. Really, I have.
I came to Christ as a small child, and have faithfully desired to follow Him ever since that time almost 40 years ago....I've not been anything close to "perfect"--many times failing and falling from the "way"...but God in His grace has always seen me through.

One of the things that I glean from the Scriptures is that we Christ-followers really do belong to each other. This is not a difficult concept to "understand"--yet it seems, in our contemporary culture, supremely difficult to "live out." And I'm not even sure that I "understand" it as fully as I should.

We are "called out" from the world of sin, and transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of God's Son, the kingdom of light. This makes Christ-followers a very special breed, indeed. It also means that Christ-followers have a new identity, a new family, and a new blood line. We really do belong to each other.

But, one would hardly notice this "belongingness" in contemporary society. Some of us are contented (or maybe a better word is "resigned to") seeing So-and-So on Sunday mornings, and exchanging small talk. We never really have a "connection" with them any of the other 166 hours during the regular week. We know little, if anything, about them. We continually exchange our "pleasantries" or our "politenesses" every week...

And we think that we are "community."

Maybe, we are more "good, occasional acquaintenances."

To face all that the people of God will be challenged with in the coming days, we must become MORE than just casual commarades in the "church family." We must become tightly-knitted together. We must know more about each other.

We must weep with those who weep. We must rejoice with those who rejoice!

We really do need each other.

More than 20 years ago, then-Pastor Chuck Swindoll preached a powerful message entitled "People of Refuge."

While I won't rehash the entire message here, let me say this:

We are all we've got. The family of God is the most precious possession in my life. Fame, fortune, recognition, ability, or anything else will NEVER replace the preciousness of this "family" in my life.

We really do need each other. And in the coming days, we will see just how much.

1 comment:

M. Steve Heartsill said...

Phil...oh how I agree with you.

I'm at a place in my life where I'm missing that community. For too many reasons to go into here, I don't feel that close connection to the body of Christ. The community is tainted. I feel it. I know it.

The sad part of it is that no one reaches out in these times. I'm not reaching out. And, no one else is.

If community were truly there, we'd just know. Right?