Christian Community - The Impact It Would Have On Our World

The Bible uses various language to express the community aspect of the Christianity, from kingdom to body of Christ to the family of God. The Bible doesn't really get into a whole lot of individualistic language (like personal relationship). However, having the right language doesn't mean that we are doing it just like having the wrong language wouldn't mean we are not doing it. I like this quote from Alexander Campbell that I shared the other day: "The Bible alone in the lips, and the creed in the head and in the heart, will not save the church from strife, emulation, and schism. There is no moral, ecclesiastical, or political law, that can effect any moral, ecclesiastical or political good, by simply acknowledging it in word. It must be obeyed...The Bible alone is the Bible only, in word and deed, in profession and practice; and this alone can reform the world and save the church." The concept being lived out is more important than the words being used.

Most churches teach the right concept in some form or other. Living it out is another issue. When we visited all of the churches we visited, only 3 were very friendly at greeting. If you aren't friendly at getting to know the visitors, I can almost guarantee that you aren't living out the community aspect of church. The love should be overflowing.

I think the Bible deals with what are some of the elements of community. Sharing meals together. Praying together. Encouraging one another. Confessing our sins one to another. Meeting one another's needs (that would entail knowing those needs). Loving one another. Being patient with one another. Being at peace with one another. Having fellowship with one another. Many of the biblical teachings, along with the biblical concepts, focus on healthy community. I'm sure this list isn't all inclusive.

Maybe the church is healthier than most of my experience leads me to believe. I sure hope so. Take a year off and visit church after church and see what you see. Just kidding. I don't wish that on anyone - especially someone with kids.

I think I always see the room for improvement rather than say well done. (That might be the polite way of saying I'm overly critical). That is what I've been trained to do in retail. Every day I try to come up with ideas on how to improve things. I encourage our workers to notice the flaws in the way we do things so that we can improve. If their is a better way to do things that doesn't cost money, we change in a heartbeat. Every week I'm tweaking something.

Another thing we are taught in retailing is to look at our store as if we are seeing it for the first time. What impression does it give off? Does that match with the impression we want it to give? We need to do the same exercise with our church. In examining what impression we give off, we are more than likely really seeing what we are rather than what we think we are.

So when it comes to being the church, we will only be perfect for short periods of time. We are like a window to the world that allows the light of Christ to shine through. All windows seem to get dirty, especially when dirty things are going on around the window. When the farmers harvest the crops around here, the windows get filthy. Sometimes we get a sideways wind mixed with rain that sticks leaves and items to our windows. With the church, a lot of people and events are messing up the window. Some are sticking their faces on it to look goofy. Others write messages in the dew that don't need to be there but leave a lasting impression. Some of the dirt is the natural dirt of harvesting. All sorts of activities get the window dirty. We need to always be cleaning the window to allow the light of Christ to shine through in all its glory. That light will change us and the people around us.

Watch out for the potholes.