“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. . . And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” — Acts 2:42, 46–47
Community, friendship, fellowship, your tribe, your people, your gang, your crew, all these terms point us to the fact that human beings were made to share life with one another. The human race literally cannot survive without some kind of community. The same is true for the local church. Just as every human is created in God’s image to live in fellowship with other humans, Christians are re-created in Christ’s image to live in fellowship with other Christians. The early church grasped this concept quickly, which is why we see such an undeniable picture of Christian community at the outset. Acts 2 shows Christians devoting themselves not only to Christ (primary importance) but also to one another (secondary importance). That kind of sounds familiar doesn’t it? God and people. God and people, that’s what’s important (Matt. 22:37–40). Let’s take a quick look at some of the benefits of Christ-exalting community.
• Christian community makes it possible to properly understand the will of Christ (Matt. 18:20).
• Christian community gives us the opportunity to prop one another up in difficult times (Gal. 6:2).
• Christian community provides people who share in our joys and sorrows (Rom. 12:15).
• Christian community gives us the encouragement we need to continue in Christ-honoring works (Heb. 10:24–25).
• Christian community gives non-Christians a tangible view of Christ’s love (John 13:35).
This list is not exhaustive but it gives a glimpse of the beauty of Christian community. Take a look at that short list again. Imagine a group of people characterized by that kind of community!
The pastors of Eastern Hills have been considering our need for a greater sense of community, one that transcends generational and cultural norms. We are praying through and planning ways to help facilitate such community at Eastern Hills. And there are things you can do now to help. You can call and check on someone you haven’t seen at church in a while. You can take a church member you don’t know well to lunch or to coffee (they don’t necessarily have to be in your age-group but they certainly can be). You can be intentional about connecting with someone in your Sunday school class/small group that doesn’t know you well. And, maybe most importantly, you can make it a point to really get to know some of our new members. I believe we will see great success in this area if we work together. Scripture has shown us that Christ desires His church to exhibit a strong sense of community and I believe He will bless our efforts!