(My husband wrote this today. It speaks of the heart both of have for community so I wanted to share it here as well).
“I don’t normally write notes, but I read this today and I had to write about it. It is so much my heart for community and the way I see (or want to see) the church. You are tagged in this note because I consider you one of those who are on this journey with me…Does this ring true in your hearts as well?
‘The early church was built on small groups of people who came together to support one another in a whole new way of life. These primitive communities were visible evidence of an alternative to the status quo of their culture. Today we need small bands of people who take the gospel at face value, who realize what God is doing in our time, and who are living proof of what it means to be in the world but not of the world.
These ‘base’ communities or neighborhood churches should be small enough for intimacy, kindred enough for acceptance, and gentle enough for criticism. Gathered in the name of Jesus, the community empowers us to incarnate in our lives what we believe in our hearts and proclaim with our lips.
Of course, we must not romanticize such groups. It is all too easy to envision a cozy, harmonious little fellowship where everyone is tuned in on the same wavelength, to love the dream of community more than the sin-scarred members who comprise it, to fantasize heroic deeds for the Lord, and to hear the applause in heaven and on earth as we shape an angelic koinonia. The reality is otherwise. Egos collide, personalities conflict, power brokers intrude, anger and resentment surface, risk is inevitable. It is less like utopia than a crucible or refiner’s fire.
The experience of community is neither a luxury for the spiritually affluent nor a panacea (remedy) for the lonely, bored, and idle. It is, in fact, a necessity for every Christian. It is my personal conviction that this is what Jesus and Paul meant when they spoke of the church–small Christian communities praying and worshiping together, healing, forgiving, reconciling, supporting, challenging, and encouraging one another. Scott Peck says, ‘There can be no vulnerability without risk; there can be no community without vulnerability; there can be no peace–and ultimately no life–without community.’
We need a group of people around us who support and understand us. Even Jesus needed this. He called them ‘the twelve,’ the first Christian community. We need perspective on the present, so we pray together; we need accountability, so we share our lives with each other; we need a vision of the future, so we dream together.”
This is a quote from The Signature of Jesus by Brennan Manning. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to ruin their life for the sake of Christ and His gospel. Please comment on this note, I want to hear what you think.”