Community

 

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)

You can almost call “missional communities” a trend. It even made it to wikipedia. You can almost call it that, except that the connotation of a trend is something fleeting and superficial and from what I have seen these groups are anything but.

My missional community (I know you don’t like that term, guys, but it works, okay?) is full of diversity. Ages ranging from 6 months to 60 years old, married, single, engaged, “it’s complicated,” people with kids, people without kids, students, teachers, business owners and unemployed. We are all in different places in our lives and in our spiritual maturity, but we are supernaturally bound by the same Spirit. At some point each of us has decided to resign our lives to Jesus and as we are working that out in our own day-to-days we are coming alongside one another to work it out as a Body.

The message of the Bible is one of love: an insane, all encompassing, relentless love. It is a love not just for “me,” but for “us.” Most of the books of the New Testament were written to communities of believers, not individuals. Our culture is so wrapped up in the mindset of “I” that we forget one of the most basic human needs is relationship. I have grown to appreciate so much more the idea of “us” since being a part of a real community.

Oh yeah, we also eat really, really good food.

So here is how this community works: we get together at a couple scheduled times every week to discuss life and dive into the Word of God. We also go to each others’ events and help each other with things like moving, cleaning, babysitting, etc. Because our natural impulse is to remain on the surface with our struggles, we make a point of being transparent. It is not perfected and as new people join the group {and as the “old” people have new issues} we have to continue pushing toward honest transparency. We do this so that we can share each others’ burdens – practical and emotional. We hold one another accountable to encourage and rebuke (gently).  We talk about what a community should be and then we try to put it into practice. It takes what Tom coined, “Organic Intentionality.” We have to make an effort to build natural relationships… There is a tension there, but what thing worth having doesn’t include tension? We die so we can live. We serve so we can lead. We strive so we can rest… The Christian life is a conundrum. :)

One weekend last September we went away for a last minute retreat with a good portion of our community. It was so familiar and easy. We weren’t with a church group or a bunch of friends even, we were with family. Our brothers and sisters, Raychel’s aunts and uncles and cousins. We cooked together and worshiped together. We joked around and discussed theology. We dove into Scripture together and prayed with one another. We didn’t have a program to follow or a waiver to sign… We just got to be together and enjoy one of the many fruits of being in God’s family.

Mikel holding George (which is kind of a big deal for him).

Some of us have been through really difficult situations since coming together. Various struggles, sins, oppression and trials have been revealed and worked through over the last year since we began living like this together. Gabe and I have learned the sincere value of confession. We’ve learned how to belong to one another. We’ve learned to appreciate the Body in it’s diversity. We’ve learned what it looks like when the Kingdom of God collides with this world. We are still learning these things and more through the Family of God. We have certainly not achieved any platform of success – we have a long way to go and a lot more to learn about the people God has placed around us – but we are closer than we have ever been to experiencing the kind of life described in the Bible between believers.

The other night as we were talking about these things with our group, Matt mentioned how different we all are. We all have different tastes in music, different clothing preferences, different backgrounds and upbringings, different talents, different views and perspectives… But the same God. The only thing really binding us is Jesus Christ. “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellence of him who called you out of darkness and into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” (1 Peter 2:10)

Some of our crew (the ones I have pictures of!):
Tom (Tish’s Hubby)
Tish 
Tessa
Hannah & Mikel 
Tim (of Tim & Tessa)
Sara
Vickie
Matt

4 thoughts on “Community

  1. I so wish Jen and I could be involved in this. I think it would be great for us. I love Alaska, but it's lonely when you don't have great friends like you and Gabe around to share it with.

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  2. I so wish that as well. We still miss you guys so much. :/ But I'm sure that God has people out there with whom you can have close community. I know it's tough when you have to keep leaving and Jen is by herself, but I'll pray that it shows up somehow. :)

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