Through my years in high-school I was blessed as well as challenged with a close-knit group of Christian friends (some of whom where directly responsible for my coming to the Lord). This group, approximately six of us all genuinely desired to seek and strive after an authentic relationship with our Savior, encouraging and exhorting one another as we served together in not only our church, but in our school as well. I understand in many cases this scenario is in the minority. Many of you who are reading this now face a daily struggle of isolation from your peers because of the truth that you bear. It is for this situation that I desire to write this article; in support of you whom God desires and cares for so much.
We all met within our high-school’s Bible Club fittingly named “Powerhouse.” Each of us eventually rose to a position of leadership within the club seeking to honor and extend the message of God’s Truth on our campus, forming the bonds of friendship and accountability along the way. In our own manner we felt as though we were acting out the First Century Church as outlined in the book of Acts within our own little community.
We were all passionate about our Lord individually as well as corporately within our group yet we lacked one essential item, true community.
It was not uncommon for us to share multiple prayer and worship times together a week (as well as an occasional movie). We were all passionate about our Lord individually as well as corporately within our group yet we lacked one essential item, true community. In our own self-involvement in serving our King we had unknowingly neglected one element of God’s true heart and that was for His people and His Church.
Deuteronomy 6:4-5 represents the essence of the Old Testaments message. It reads as follows:
“Hear or Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You shall Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, with all of your soul and with all of your might!” (NASB)
As we head into the New Testament Gospels, Jesus adds to this thought in the Gospel of Mark 12:31:
“The second is this you shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these. (NASB)
The importance of this statement is made so clear by Jesus’ intentional connection to the Old Testament scripture, which was clearly known and understood by all that heard Him speak it. Therefore, this is beyond important!!
It was within this latter part that our little “community” had fallen exceedingly short of this mark. We became a group among the six of that allowed our “love” to be exclusive to the six of us.
You see reader, the point that I would like to make to you today is that so often among the current Christian Pop-Culture we have created within ourselves a “Christian Clique” that is harmful and destructive to what God intended for His People. Many of us with the purest of intentions mixed with blind mistake have made ourselves exclusive and closed off to those that so seek and desire for community. We have made ourselves rich with one another when in fact we are so poor and in desperate need of everyone in the Body of Christ. Jean Vanier writes:
“People may come to our communities because they want to seek the poor; they will only stay once they have discovered that they themselves are the poor.”
My friends and I had become a group that no longer needed those that appeared to need us so much when in fact we needed them just as much or more. Our “clique” of 6 Christian friends had allowed a counterfeit of community to replace the true and genuine thing. We felt as though we had an entire Church when in fact it was but a collection of bricks.
Community is about all of us, desperately poor, isolated in need, finding peace in the presence of our Savior together as one.
True community is not exclusive, it is not selfish, and it is not about what makes you comfortable. Community is about all of us, desperately poor, isolated in need, finding peace in the presence of our Savior together as one. We cannot continue to operate under the guise of false community, of cliques and exclusive circles of friends, and be fully effective in sharing the love and compassion of Him who has called us out for His Purpose. If you are in a place of contentment in your personal community, take a look around and you may just become aware of a need around you. You may also find how poor and in need you are.
“We feel small and weak, but we are gathered together to signify the power of God who transforms death into life. That is our hope, that God is doing the impossible: changing death to life inside each of us, and that perhaps, through our community, each of us can be agents in the world of this transformation of brokenness into wholeness, and of death into life.”
–Jean Vanier, “From Brokenness to Community”