Real Christian Community

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” -Proverbs 17:17

If a visitor came to our church for the first time, would they describe us as a close church? Would they want to be a part of our Christian community here at Immanuel? Would they get the message that we are a community that bares each other’s burdens? The reason I ask these questions is because we live in a world today that is often shallow and superficial. We may ask people how they are doing, but we really don’t want them to be honest with us. We secretly hope they don’t really share their burdens with us! We hope with all our might that they respond with “I’m ok” and then we can be off to the next thing that has to get done. Exhale, that was close!

Recently, I heard a talk show host lament the breakdown of community in America.  A lot of people are desperately searching for real community today. The number of Americans today who admit that they are lonely is growing. I have a solution! There is a church on every corner in America where someone who is lonely can find a Christian community! Why aren’t they coming in droves then? All human beings were created by God for community and relationships. Yet, I think it might be the way that Christians have gone about trying to create relationships in recent decades. People perceive that in the church relationships are a means to an end. There is the idea that Christians only make friends to get them to come to church. The Church especially, should be a place where real relationships and authentic community can be found.

I think the answer is found in the ministry of presence. It is the difference between doing and being. In the church we do a lot of things, praise God! But sometimes, God calls us just to a ministry of being. Do you have a friend who needs you in a difficult time? “Be” a Christian friend. “Be” present for them. Listen and really care for them. Pray for them and let them know you are praying! “Be” a friend who loves at all times and a brother born for a time of adversity. We can hope that they will come to church and even invite them. Only God through the power of the Holy Spirit can touch a life in such a way. God only calls us to create the kind of community that the whole world is pining after.

God Bless,

Pastor Joel