For all the talk I see about community it sure seems to be an elsuive idea. I have tasted and seen kingdom based community for my own eyes, and I’ve seen people get excited and the idea never materialize. If we are going to be intentional with our lives then I propose we be intentional with our community.
Community is not simply saying hi to our neighbors a few times a week, nor is it an exclusive club of Christians gathering from time to time to just hang out, talk a little, and go about their lives. Community needs to be about the society and culture we live in, and have kingdom influence. How? By first observing the world around us, seeing the needs of those around us that we know God can meet, and seeking his will about how we as believers can meet those needs. Second, loving the community for who they are, living in their midsts and intentionally be God’s hand and feet through simple offers of compassion and benevolence. Thirdly, offering God’s truth in all things, speaking his life giving grace, peace, hope, and love into the community around us.
Sounds all nice and neat, doesn’t it? Well it’s not, the reality is that this takes a grand amount of patience and labor. In my own observance, many people are not willing to sacrifice and suffer their time and money unless they “know” for sure there will be fruit (aka a return on their investment).
I challenege this school of thought, not so that we waste our resources but that we actually be wise in God’s way and take his risks to heart. His ways are higher than ours, and he wins our battles. The victory is already his! I am willing to say (through experience) that stepping out into the unknown to touch the lives of those around you, weather they are people you know or not, will always produce fruit. It may or may not be tangible, and that’s where we begin to doubt.
Community will look different from place to place, but it will always include sacrificial love and truth. I really wish we weren’t all locked up in our detached homes, fenced off from the world, because if we lived lives where we had to cross paths with “the others” we might just see God do something! We might actually hear his voice prompt us to be community. We must surrender all of that to God, and continue on, good and faithful servant.