A Community Not Living IN Community
By: Hannah Dearth
We live in a time of hustle. A time of busyness and rushing around from one thing to the next. Face to face interaction is decreasing and time revolving around technology and social media is increasing. We even see this in our churches today.
Positives? Definitely. Bigger reach, easier access to information on the Gospel. So many tasks being completed efficiently to help others. Negatives? You bet. It’s easier to sometimes, even unknowingly, let the culture of our secular world influence the culture of our church and how we practice our faith, rather than vice versa.
By this, I mean that we enter church and we sign up for the donation drive, the children’s camp, the potluck, and the picnic (probably through that technology). We have good intentions, but they become another thing on the schedule. It is easy to become less about worship, service to others, or living in real relationship, and more about a task to complete. In this way of doing church, we know one another, but we do not feel KNOWN.
We are the true church. The people, not the building. We do have a duty to both spread God’s word and love and serve, we do. I am not saying this. However, what is the pathway to doing that? Is it through isolated events? Or is it through community? Community being deep, meaningful relationship. We cannot serve that purpose, or at least serve it well, if we are not living it together.
What does this look like? Does it look like knowing a bit about one another through Sunday morning conversations, getting together quarterly, and exchanging a meal or a card during an important life event on occasion?
Or, does it look like meeting regularly, in small groups and one on one, at the dinner table and the kid’s soccer games? Like showing up with that meal during a life event, then also staying and helping do laundry or play with the kids, and cry big tears together?
Church as an event feels...lonely. It feels isolating. Comfortable? Maybe, in some ways. I don’t have to share my hurt, or acknowledge our differences. But I also don’t get support in my walk. Accountability in my hardship. I don’t get to grow from what makes us unique.
My fears and my aches deep down are that we are missing this important distinction. We know one another, but we do not feel known. We are in relationship, but not in community.
We are doing events together and not life.
We go to church, and we go home. My heart longs for the two to be one. My soul knows that this is what we are created for. It will be hard, and even countercultural, but I know it will be worth it. It will be life living full and vulnerable, showing more than our “Sunday best”. It will be more beautiful than we could ever imagine, because He designed us for this.
Let’s get out the dishes (mismatched, who cares?) and gather around the table and pray long personal prayers, eat home-cooked food, and laugh until our stomachs hurt. Let’s cry together while circled up in the living room with our open Bibles and ask the big and hard questions we have about our God. Let’s be the church...everywhere. Let’s be family. I’ll have a dinner ready and my door open. You are invited. Are you with me?