On Sunday night, we had our first all-church meeting at our new Ministry Center. It was great. It is a meeting that we try to have quarterly, which we call a Clarity Meeting. Our purpose is to bring into focus the vision of our church. We want to engage those that come to our church. It is my desire that this is much more than a business meeting. We pray together. We invite questions from people. We talk about future aspects of our ministry together. And we read Scripture together. I began the meeting by reading two passages in the book of Acts:
"And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 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 2:42-47).
"Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles' feet" (Acts 4:32-37).
As I read these passages, several questions kept coming to my mind:
- What would this type of community look like in 2012 in America?
- How can we develop this type of community with our people at CBC?
- Is this communal living? Should it be?
- How can we orchestrate people to spend time with each other, the way that the early church spent time with each other?
- In what ways should relationships with those in the church compare to relationships with those outside the church?
- How has technology changed real community?
And on and on the questions kept coming in my mind. It is something that I am trying to figure out. It is something I have experienced at different points in ministry. But I do not think it is something you can manufacture. It is something that I am trying to study and think about as we try to be more intentional in our ministry.
What do you think? Can Real Community Be Developed?