I think it is safe to say that we all long for community.
We long for fellow soldiers who know the wounds of war.
We long for family with whom share God's Holy Spirit.
We long for friends who know us, and whom we can know.
We long to be with people who can help us grow, can pray with us, and whom we can serve and help to follow Christ more closely.
We are longing to live within a community of brethren. Think about the word for a moment. Brethren: a lovely term that speaks of a close and brotherly bond. We have fellow church members, family, and neighbors, and yet we are still longing for there to be community. Why, we ask ourselves, does we feel like we are not connecting with them? Why don't we have that community we long for?
The Church in Acts lived out this brethren relationship. And when we read Acts, we want what they have. That is why so many Churches began small groups. It is clear that anonymity of large, modern churches, the lack of relationship between members, the "How dare the Pastor suggest that I don't do that?" are not Christian fruits.
Small groups promised accountability, closeness between people, and shared life. They were a good idea, but small groups are not the ultimate solution. Authentic Community is the answer, community lived out.
This book is about so much....
This book is about our loss of community in our world. Do you have a circle of friends- real friends? When was the last time you shared a meal? Having just read Randy Alcorn's Ollie Chandler series, I can see the importance of friends sharing meals. Most good talk between the characters happened over lunch or dinner. Good friends, nourishing each other with talk and a meal. Simple, but honestly important.
Did you know the suburbs are designed in a way that limits community- and the people in them are designed to need community? Yet everyone comes home, walks into their private yard, and locks the door. You can live beside some one, wave at them while they mow their lawn, and never know them. I have neighbor's on all sides I don't know!
When was the last time you borrowed a cup of sugar? Never? How odd. Yet I would go without or drive to the store rather than ask for a favor.
This book is also about restoring that community with real relationships. As usual, the answers to this longing for community are rather simple, but not easy. Relationships are built and sustained by simple actions that cost a great deal from the one who takes the action.
Have you ever thought that maybe the community we need is right here in our neighborhood among Christian neighbors and those who are not yet believers. I am not surprised to see that the same actions that nurture our families will build community, Be available. Be willing to listen. Be willing to talk. Learn how to be corrected by wiser people when you stray. Learn how to lovingly correct a straying sheep. Share meals. Pray together. Read the word together. Become a people of Growth, Belonging and Serving.
These quiet steps of getting to know our brethren will build up the Body, and we Christians can build a flourishing community with a shared Mission: the Gospel, shared Authority, Traditions, Creeds, and Standards. Those will hold our friendships together and give them Gospel purpose. We will pass these on through making disciples and raising our children to walk in God's ways. When you think of it this way, the early Church was a connecting Church.
The principles here in The Connecting Church are the principles of community.
I am glad I have this book from Cross Focused Reviews.