Americanized Christianity has produced a very interesting struggle in that it has brought forth a whole heap of churches that don’t particularly function as biblical churches. Now, don’t misunderstand me. There are many churches that are faithful in doctrine, discipleship, missions, prayer, conservative Bible teaching, evangelism, programs, fellowships, reaching their cities, mentoring, prioritizing the Gospel, and helping the needy. But there is still one aspect of church that gets lost in the shuffle, mainly because of the way we operate our day to day lives, and that is Community.
This term is overused and abused by many pastors, authors, churches, and ministries. It may have lost its meaning way before it became a commercial tagline for churches. So how can we know what community is since it has been a damaged word in Evangelicalism? How do we define it in its truest sense? It is almost easier to begin by defining what community is not before we tackle what community really is. And we must approach it first from a Christian perspective because it is necessary to line up Church hand in hand with community. So what is biblical community NOT?
Community is not going to church. Community is not going to church functions. Community is not participating in church ministries. Community is not being in accountability groups. It is not taking part in discipleship groups. It is not evangelizing. It isn’t becoming a member. It certainly isn’t hanging out with other believers. These are just a few activities that we attempt to define community with.
The only way to define biblical community is:
Being The Church – Believers of Jesus Christ coming together as an “entity” known as the local church. Becoming the very body of Christ.
This is what is known as becoming Incarnational (the church becoming Jesus in the world). Going to church is not the same as being the church. Attending and participating are not simply enough to consider oneself as a person locked into biblical community. So it is not about being IN a church or being AT a church; it is all about BEING the church. Becoming unified as one with believers – one body, one Lord, one Baptism, one mission. ONE.
Passage to Ponder:
1 Corinthians 12:12-31 “What this Entity Looks Like”
Over the next few weeks, we will break down what it means to BE the church. Next week: Churches Struggle With Viruses