I believe that the church can be described as a community.
The dictionary defines community as a social, religious, occupational, or other group sharing common characteristics or interests and perceived or perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the larger society within which it exists.
The Church would most certainly describe itself this way. We are a religious group…whether we like that terminology or not…that is what we are. We have common characteristics and interests. And we most certainly perceive ourselves as distinct from larger society…although I am not sure society sees us all that different. They should, but in a very positive and good way, typically society sees this difference in a very negative light.
I have a couple of thoughts I hope to share over the coming days and weeks about community. I have started this already some, but am quite admittedly, a bad blogger.
Today, I start with a few practical thoughts about community and just some questions. I would love your thoughts.
There are three things that should be true of me as I exist within a community…
1. I consume.
2. I contribute.
3. I communicate.
If one of these three things is not true of me as I exist in community, I really mess up community life. I mean it is quite awkward and frustrating to try to serve the consumption needs of a person that does not communicate. (Ever tried to figure out if the baby needed a diaper, food, to burp, or to sleep?) In a healthy community we consume what others have to contribute and we contribute what others need and want to consume and in the midst of that we communicate with one another.
So here are the two questions as this community thought applies to church and life…
1. If everyone in your faith community (local church) consumed as much as you consume and contributed as much as you contribute, would your faith community (local church) thrive or die?
2. If every organization within your community (city or town) consumed as much as your organization (local church) consumes and contributed as much as your organization (local church) contributes, would your community (city or town) thrive or die?
This principle needs to apply to us individually within our communities…for my purposes as believers in the local church…but it applies to other communities as well. But the principle also applies to the bigger picture of our geographic and physical communities, our cities and towns.
If we all consume more than we contribute, our communities die. But if we choose to live beyond ourselves and contribute to this place more than we consume, the whole community thrives.
May the living Church of God be so filled with the life of Christ that it contributes a vastly greater amount than it consumes. My this cause our community, not just our church, to thrive and not die. May the source of this contribution be so obvious that our society would know that our God reigns…or As Jesus said, “let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)