The Need for Community

For the past few years I have watched with amazement at the isolation of people in American culture. It’s all about need, greed, and speed. People are hurting; that’s the need.  People trying to succeed; that’s the greed. People are busy; that’s the speed. 

communityNever has there been a more important time in church culture than now for the need of biblical community. I’ve been preaching (not pulpit preaching) lately to people that “I’m tired of getting of being on  the wrong side of the questions in peoples’ lives.” Often, because our culture is so busy and programatic, we only lightly hit the real problems people have. If it takes 3 months to build trust, and we never get with a person for growth purposes, for 3 months, then will we ever get to trust? 

The problem in our culture is not the information available to people. It’s the missing relational factor that gets us an audience with people. Young people especially are played out on traditional “niceties.” They want authentic Christian faith. They want genuine disciple making. I’ve been leading a young adult small group for 6 months in my home. I’ve poured myself out to them and they in me. Believe me, they are no longer impressed with my “religiousity.” ( I know it’s not a word)

There is a great need for biblical community. Why don’t most churches get biblical community? One reason is we just offer too much to people. Andy Stanley is correct that in his model of church at NorthPointe in Atlanta, Georgia, they basically do Sunday worship and groups in the week. Larry Osborne also does the same thing at North Coast Church in Vista, California. Worship, and sermon based small groups. They offer less, to get more. People across the board are the target, not the same 10-20% that come to everything. The people on the perimeter need to community. The 20% have had it for years now. 

Jesus took 12 and provided community for them. Three years later, they changed the world. That’s where our focus in the west should be. Making disciples in small groups. If not, we never know where a person really is in his/her walk with God.

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