Building Community

One of the elements of our growth as Christians is our association with other folks striving to be better disciples. We associate with them to help bear each others burdens. We call it a community of Faith.

But do we have a handle on what real community is about.? Dr. Scott Peck who wrote such books as People of The Lie andThe road less traveled stated that although the early church was a model of community, today’s churches are harder to build community. Peck sees most of todays congregations as groups that are merely pretending to be communities. Why? Because communities require work and what he calls discomfort. He sees two main reasons for the church’s unwillingness to become real communities.

First of all building community requires work and time and few people are willing to give that much work and time to the church. Secondly church congregations are rarely willing to go through the pain of times when everything seems to be falling apart, yet such times are necessary. To achieve real community, these tensions and conflicts must be openly dealt with. Churches usually see conflict as something to be avoided.

But in real community people don’t feel they must constantly hide their real selves or stifle conflict. They feel free to speak of what really concerns them the most. According to Peck, another important part of developing real community is that it must have support from the top.

I can say that the church I now attend (as a lay person) is tackling all of this head on. The sermon series that we are now in is called “Decision, Stand, Walk”. The lead pastor begins the series by asking “Why Discern?” His focus is on the lies that are told in the community and in the outside world, We need to discern what is biblical truth. Then we stand on the truth of the bible and we speak those truths. Therefore we walk in His Light and we shine our light in this world.

These themes from the pulpit are carried on through all the teachings in Sunday School. So what we hear in Sunday School is what we heard in the message. But with this church (and I had never seen this structure) they have what they call “House churches”. Small groups that meet weekly in homes to discuss what has been preached and taught at church. I believe this the place where community comes full circle. If you have ever been in a small group it is a place and atmosphere where people who are fellow Christians and who love each other, can express their concerns and ask for help to be better followers of Christ.

As a pastor I have encouraged and led many small groups on various biblical subjects but there was not a cohesive message throughout the church. If this the situation in your church, I urge you to visit with your Ministry Team and develop this plan. As you can see, the church I attend is all in to 1) making disciples for Jesus Christ; 2) Helping Christians know what is biblical truth; 3) developing a biblical world view.

I thank God for bringing me to such a church. Amen

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