Monday, April 9, 2018

Community that Motivates

I have struggled with the concept of being a part of a community since relocating. Prior to moving, my family and I were part of a vibrant community where we felt seen, known and heard. There was no real protocol that governed our interactions except our connectedness. If someone was sick, we ministered to them.

There were instances where we cleaned a sick person's house since this would not have happened otherwise. There was no judgment - only a willingness to help and share a burden. If there was job loss we prayed and helped in practical ways. We were all inadvertently responsible for each other's children. I knew that other parents would discipline my children without wondering if they had crossed a line; I did the same for theirs.  And there were good times. Because we were there for each other, it seemed that there was always an opportunity to eat and fellowship with each other. The fellowship and simply doing life together strengthened our bond. The biggest thing we had in common was our faith and from there it snowballed in a beautiful way.


But then we moved and this loss of community became a void that we could not avoid. We subconsciously tried to remedy this as quickly as possible but discovered there is no quick fix for finding community because the essence of forging community is establishing and maintaining a connection. We also (wrongly) thought that being with other Christians would make it easier to forge a bond, but alas that was not so. We were needy and displayed it, but others were not receptive. That hurt!

As it relates to connection, forging means to form or make, especially by concentrated effort.

A concentrated effort.

Jesus left his heavenly home, came down to earth, and while here on earth, had twelve disciples with him (Luke 6:13-16).  When he called those who eventually became the twelve disciples they forsook everything and followed him (Mark 1:17,18). These men were from all walks of life but the one thing they had in common was the call to follow. Though they forsook all to follow him they saw that in forsaking all they gained so much more. In Jesus, they had a living example of giving and connecting with all people. If that's not a concentrated effort I don't know what is.

In our modern day world, there are several examples of what being in community looks like. It's coming alongside others and sharing with them. It's walking with them as they go to the store. It's stopping or calling on a whim just because. It's ministering to a need as it presents itself. Community is vibrant and life-giving. It's mutually beneficial but not always reciprocal. It's not always homogenous either. However, you definitely know when you're not a part of a community - life can feel bland, monotone, and empty.

I've found that we have to lose a little bit of ourselves to be in community with each other; sometimes we call this being vulnerable or removing the mask. I've also found that programs don't necessarily engender community. I've found that many try to over-engineer community and at its core, it's so simple - it's being vulnerable and taking the next step after meeting someone. It's making a phone call, sending a text. It's letting your guard down and being open. It may even be having an open door policy so that when someone drops by you don't feel put out. It's expanding the borders of your heart with Christ's love. 

Acts 2:42-47 reveals that the original “Christian community” was known primarily for its devotion to Christ’s teachings and its love for one another. This love motivated them to care for others, be generous and turn the world upside down.



And when they had found Him, they said unto him, All men seek for thee. Mark 1:37

So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:46,47

If you're not part of a community that motivates, keep praying about it. Search yourself also to ensure that you're not an obstacle. And seek solace in God by letting him be your initial source.  Be willing to be vulnerable and to take the next step which will eventually snowball into a community that motivates. Ultimately, Christ's love motivates us to love and be available like He was. Christ's love is the basis for the best community.

Are you a part of a community that is motivated by Christ's love?


6 comments:

  1. We're still searching for that community. I can imagine how you would miss what you once had as that sounds like such a wonderful community! I hope you are able to find one similar soon.

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  2. Wonderful post! I just posted about the need to be vulnerable on my blog and discussed it with the women in my church yesterday. You mentioned many valid points in your article, points I believe people would benefit from hearing. I’d like to feature your post in my Friday “My favorite Things” post this week. Blessings!

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    1. Thank you. Please feel free to feature this post.

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  3. You're so right! Being with those who are likeminded is a must in this day and time. We are encouragers, we are guides, we are support to each other. I'm your neighbor at Holly Gerth. Happy to discover you.

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  4. I agree that transparency is essential for community to work. Great post!

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  5. I can so relate. I am struggling with community. Not because of a move, but because all our kids have gotten older and busier and it seems everyone is too busy to be together. It makes me so sad. Thanks for letting me know I'm not alone. Visiting you from the link up. laurensparks.net

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