As a Christian, being involved in a community is part of who we should be. Yes, being in a personal relationship with Jesus is key and it is the foundation of which we base our faith, but as Christians, we should strive to go beyond that realm and create a community of believers who share the same values and principles that we do.
We need those people to come along side us and to support us in what we are being called to do and we also need to be that person for others. It is important that we surround ourselves with others who have the same beliefs as us because it will help us grow stronger in our personal faiths, as well as deepening those bonds with other people.
There are five categories that I believe are key to any sort of community. 1. The desire to follow Christ; 2. Fellowship; 3. Accountability, Transparency and Generosity; 4. Compassion; 5. The goal.
1. Desire to Follow Christ Without this desire and commitment, there can be no community. As I think about community, it starts with a commitment to grow in the knowledge of God, with spiritual growth coming from the application of this knowledge. Looking into the book of Acts, we see the importance of for developing a real community.
Acts 2:42 says, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching.” Acts 2:46 says, “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts.” (“They” speaking of the Jerusalem church). Acts 4:33 says, “With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.
We can see the desire the church had for furthering their knowledge of God and how it is truly the basis on which we set our feet. A desire to grow spiritually is the starting point of a biblical community.
2. Fellowship Fellowship, hanging out, doing life, whatever it may be, is what it’s all about. Fellowship is the heart of community. Acts 2:42 says the believers were “devoted to fellowship.” Acts 2:46 says the believers met “every day.” These passages give us two critical pieces of information here. One, fellowship requires close proximity, or being together. Two, fellowship requires frequency and being together often. Fellowship can’t happen unless we’re hanging out, doing life together and doing it often.
3. Accountability, Transparency, and Generosity Accountability: James 5:16 says, “Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” Keeping one another accountable for their actions and whatnot is crucial. As humans, we forget things and make mistakes, but it’s the people who can approach us with love and say, “Hey, that wasn’t right and you know it,” or whatever that may look like. Transparency: We shouldn’t hesitate to be transparent with our friends. If we’re struggling with something or have needs, what is holding us back? Is it our own pride that tells us that we shouldn’t need things or require anything from others? As Christians, we are to build one another up and giving to those who have need. So, as Christians, we shouldn’t be afraid to approach our friends in times of need or support. Generosity: Putting others’ needs before our own. Be humble and give generously. Our hearts should be focused on what God has called us to do, so that when others are in need, we can give with a grateful heart.
4. Compassion When I think about the previous three items, the theme that comes to mind is compassion. Its contrary to our human nature. The temptation is to sit in judgement of others when we are transparent or being held accountable. Galatians 6:2-3 says, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.”
5. The Goal The ultimate goal of community is to grow together towards Christ’s likeness. If that is our goal, and we follow the examples set before us in Scripture, we will succeed in furthering the Kingdom of Heaven and creating a biblical community that honors God.