Restoring Community - Part II

As I continued to ponder the answer to the question, “How?”, I finally came to the point that it had to start on an individual by individual basis of casting a vision of what community could (and ought) to be, getting people excited about it and then brainstorming/working together to figure out how it practically works out. But how do you even start with that? My thoughts naturally went to community groups (our church’s name for small groups or mini-churches or home groups, etc). If transformation is going to ripple through our church, that's where it will start. After all, "community" is in the title, right? But part of what I see right now is that community group really means Bible study group. Not that some groups aren't growing deeper in relationship, but I don't sense they are intentionally striving to be community.

Which then begs the question of what would it look like on a practical level to be community? So, here's what I thought about. Keep in mind that I am not trying to propose anything...especially not a program. It just helps me to categorize my thoughts. And, well, it just so happens most of them start with the same letter.

Sharing stories
Serving one another
Struggling and Celebrating

To avoid having a super long post, I'll probably take the next few days and post more detail on each of these points. At least now you know where my thinking is headed, though.

These are just some initial thoughts. I’m realizing I have a deep passion for this topic, and I’m excited about being a change agent in my local church.

LINKED to this Post: Pat's comments on Why didn't you warn me?


MamaToo said...

I love this post, and your heart for changing the "status quo" of community.
Here's another "S" for your list:
Sabbath (Sunday) dinner
We try to invite a random grouping of people over for lunch after church (or dinner later that day) at least once a month. I'd like to see us move to every week, but I'm still learning how to be okay with opening our chaos up to the masses. :)
It's a chance to get together with people we don't know, don't know well, and/or who don't know each other. It builds community with no agenda other than hanging out and eating a simple meal together.
It's not a program, just an old-fashioned way of gathering and building community.

spaghettipie said...

M - I love that idea! Over the past couple months, my husband and I have intentionally been inviting over people in our church we would like to get to know better...and it has been such a blessing! I really like your idea of selecting a random group. We'll have to try that one soon. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

HALFMOM said...

When I think of real community within the body, what I think of is family - more real than a birth family. Those we are closest to are those we have either have served with, and have therefore learned to love under difficult circumstances, or those we have shared experiences with.

What strikes me about this, and how infrequently it happens in the church, is that people are afraid to be involved in each other’s lives - it's messy - it takes up your time and it's almost always inconvenient. You know, it's like you kids - they just never throw up at a convenient time! It also requires being willing to be vulnerable and that seems to me to be something else that is sadly lacking - no one wants to stir the waters.

So, I will be interested in hearing your thoughts on vulnerability and willingness to be inconvenienced in loving and serving others.

spaghettipie said...

H - I totally agree; that's a tough aspect. I'll give it my best shot and will look forward to the discussion.