Last night at our Leadership Team Meeting, we started talking about “Authentic Community.” It was a good conversation. I thought I would share a little bit about this topic in a post, because it is part of our vision statement and it is an imporant piece of who we are in ministry.
So what is “Authentic Community?” We get a picture of what it looks like in Acts 2:42-47. There we see believers who are truly devoted to one another. So often a church is simply a bunch of loosely connected individuals. Authentic community happens when we decide to be committed to one another.
In order to build “Authentic Community” there are 2 things that need to happen. Proximity and purpose. First of all, we need “proximity.” That simply means that we need to spend time together. Hebrews 10:24,25 reminds us of how important this is, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Too often we forget how important it is for us to be together. We don’t make it a priority and we consider ourselves too busy to make time for being together outside of Sunday morning. Then we wonder why we don’t have stronger relationships. We need to be in proximity with each other if we are going to develop authentic community.
Then in addition to proximity, we also need purpose. Consider Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spritiual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” God has a purpose for us to be together. We need to recognize that purpose and develop the level of depth that is going to allow that kind of purpose to happen. So often we are content to simply talk about things like the weather, sports, work, current events and other similar topics. We need to go beyond that and start talking about where we see God at work, what He is teaching us in our walk with Him, what we are struggling with in our lives, and even where we have fallen.
When we commit ourselves to proximity and purpose, then we will begin to have authentic community. Let’s not be satisfied with anything less!