There are many different types of communities. This
page is just a quick summary of a few of the reasons this
topic is of interest to me. I'd like to hear your
reasons and ideas too so please share them. Note that
most of the text on this page is taken from other articles
already linked on this web site.
A) We Christians are
here to glorify the Father (Isaiah 43:7). We do that
best by becoming like Jesus (Rom 8:29, 2 Cor 3:18). Our
top New Year's resolution every year should be to become more
B) We all need to help
each other become more like Jesus (Heb 10:24), and living in
community seems a great way to do this. I think this
article sums it up well:
* Outdo one another in showing honor (Rom.
* Live in harmony with one another (Rom.
* Admonish one another (Rom. 15:14)
* Greet one another with a holy kiss (Rom.
* Wait for one another (1 Cor. 11:33)
* Have the same care for one another (1
* Be servants of one another (Gal. 5:13)
* Bear one another's burdens (Gal. 6:2)
* Comfort one another (1 Thess. 5:11)
* Build one another up (1 Thess. 5:11)
* Be at peace with one another (1 Thess.
* Do good to one another (1 Thess. 5:15)
* Put up with one another in love (Eph.
* Be kind and compassionate to one another
* Submit to one another (Eph. 5:21)
* Forgive one another (Col. 3:13)
* Confess your sins to one another (James
* Pray for one another (James 5:16)
* Love one another from the heart (1 Pet.
* Be hospitable to one another (1 Pet. 4:9)
* Meet one another with humility (1 Pet.
How can we fulfill the above without the things below?
Time: Perhaps the
first fruit of commitment is time.
Space: As important as
time is, so is sharing space.
mark of life together is being open-handed with the excess
that we have.
all of this—be it our time, our space, our resources—demands a
great deal of trust.
New! One way to help
others might be to help them avoid
viewing ads on the Internet.
C) When we live in
community as above, especially when not being isolated, it is
the best example of the Kingdom of God (which is what Jesus
told us to preach about). Our love and good works will
witness to our neighbors (John 13:35, Matt 5:16). There
are extracts from two articles below that show this.
God has created a new language of witness, a language that is
far more powerful than words-the language of community:
"All the believers were together and had
everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods,
they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued
to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in
their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,
praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the
Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved"
God's new language was embodied in a community of disciples
who demonstrated the truth of the gospel they were
proclaiming. The early
Christians did not just have a story to tell, they were the
story being told.
How it looked in an inner-city neighborhood of Grand Rapids
several years ago:
“…better a neighbor nearby than a brother far away” (Proverbs
A dear Christian brother or sister who lives far away is
sometimes less valuable than a next-door neighbor who isn’t
even a believer. It’s true if your car breaks down, if you
need to borrow a shovel, or if you need a couple eggs to
complete a recipe. It’s also true in a multitude of other
The believers in our fellowship have deliberately positioned
themselves to be more valuable to each other by deciding to
live close to each other. For some that meant selling their
home and moving. For others it meant renting a place closer to
other believers. Rather than a 15 or 20 minute drive
separating us, we would much rather have a one and a half
In the past days and weeks believers have shown up at my door
to borrow shovels, rakes, a wheelbarrow, and some other things
that I can’t remember. How is that “spiritual”? Well, whenever
two or three believers who
are dedicated to conforming to Christ and helping each other
conform to Christ…whenever such people can see each
other or interact it is a great opportunity to share a
Scripture, a thought, or a prayer… or even just share a
shovel. Random acts of kindness have been known to increase
love between people. When Jesus says to “love one another” and
that “all men will know you are my disciples when they see you
love each other” he was referring to everyday life. I don’t
think he was meaning that unbelievers would say, “wow, look at
how those Christians love each other by going to that building
together every week!” So, as we look to increase in love for
each other and to show the world, random acts of kindness
toward one another is a big deal.
About a week ago, a neighbor who is not a part of our church
called and asked if she could borrow some vanilla. We (the
believers here) were right in the middle of sharing life
together. My wife was attending to one of our children and I
was in the middle of a conversation with a couple of brothers.
A sister in the Lord was available and she brought the vanilla
over to the neighbor’s house. What did this plant in the mind
of my neighbor? It was unexpected that someone other than a
member of my “family” would bring the vanilla over…but maybe
it will help reveal what Spiritual Family is all about.
A couple weeks ago, a brother borrowed my car. (It was very
handy since he lives a block and a half away!) He noticed that
my oil needed to be changed probably because he saw the little
reminder sticker that the oil change place put on the upper
left corner of my window. He brought the car back with an oil
change and some information about something that the mechanic
said could be wrong. Another bonding experience from an
“everyday” situation. It was more bonding that sitting in a
church pew and looking at him across the room.
:-) Other times, my car has been returned
having been professionally vacuumed!
In the last few weeks several people have needed to use our
washing machine for various reasons. These were great
opportunities to share and also to be “inconvenienced” in a
very minor way, learning to put others before ourselves.
One day our neighbors stopped by. (Different neighbors than
those I mentioned earlier, but they aren’t a part of our
church either.) When they showed up, someone from our church
was just leaving. We talked with them for a few minutes and in
walked a couple from the church. They asked if we could pray
about a trip they were going to take to China. This made quite
an impression on the neighbors who noticed that we do more
than just “go to church” together… there is something
happening that is unlike anything they’ve seen…
A couple days ago I was stapling up insulation in the walls of
a bathroom we are adding to our home. (A brother had already
framed the walls for me; another had done the plumbing;
another had done the electric; and another had done the
heating.) I ran out of staples. Just then a brother named Andy
knocked on the door and asked to borrow our rake, but someone
else had already borrowed it! So he left in search of another
rake. Meanwhile I called a different brother named Ryan and
asked if he had any staples for a staple gun. Ryan informed me
that he had staples (but no gun) and that Andy had just shown
up looking for a rake. Andy got several rakes and Ryan sent
the staples with Andy, who hand-delivered them to me. My wife
and children ended up going with Andy and helping with raking,
while I finished my project.
The other day, I was getting my 2 year old in the car to go to
Home Depot. I thought, “This would be a much nicer trip if I
had someone to go with me.” So, I called a brother (who lives
down the street) and he came over with his son and we all went
to Home Depot. It allowed us to observe each others children
and offer meaningful input into father-son relationships and
child-training. We also opened our hearts to each other on
some topics of concern. It was a good time.
A week and a half ago, I had a work-related conference to go
to in Chicago, on a Friday. A brother, Joshua, who had the day
off graciously volunteered to go with me to keep me company
and to fellowship. Another brother, Scott, arranged so that he
could have the day off! The day before we were to leave, a
dear believer from Missouri called and asked us to come for
the weekend: they needed some help with a very serious
spiritual matter. God worked through several brothers (7 I
think) to show us that Joshua shouldn’t go afterall, but that
another brother named Chris should go. And all of us needed to
take Monday off of work. So, we all spent the day driving
about 3 and a half hours to Chicago. And then another 6 down
to Missouri later that evening.
OK, this is getting a little long. Sprinkled in the midst of
all this we have had prayer, Scriptures, a few songs, help
with child-raising, etc, etc. The other believers would each
have their own stories to tell. And if I sat here longer, I
would have more to tell as well.
At the very least, strings of affection have been tied in each
situation. In some situations, unbelievers have watched. In
others, we got to speak truth and life into each other’s
lives. We see each other interacting with spouses and
children. We can offer advice and speak about things that we
can see, but individuals may have missed. Whatever the case
may be, may God receive glory in his Church.
D) There are many
other reasons. Here are just a few:
Many hands make light work - improved efficiency allows less
"bread labor" and more time serving others as well as more
time for recreation and study.
Better prepared to help each other if hard times come upon us
in the future.
And there are probably a lot more benefits when there are urban
communities in close regular contact with rural communities.
Note: A book "When the Church was a Family" (Joseph H.
Hellerman) seems to have some of the same thoughts as on this
web page. For example, this is from page 105:
"People did not convert to
Christianity solely because of what the early Christians
believed. They converted because of the way in which
the early Christians behaved."
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