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Living Life Together

It is becoming more and more clear to me lately how we are created for community, and how much we need that community to live our lives. When we announced a month ago (though it seems like it has been much longer) that we were leaving Imago Christi Church, the primary reasons were a need to recalibrate and reprioritize. What I have started to see in the past month is how much the need for community played into our busyness and weariness.

Let me back up just a bit. While it was by no means the beginning of the issue, Becky and I had a long discussion on the way home from an Andy Osenga concert earlier this summer. (I’m stunned that I didn’t blog about it at the time, but I did post pictures to Flickr.) Andy introduced his song “Hold the Light”, as usual, by telling the story about his small group. They have gathered in somebody’s backyard every week for a couple of years, sharing life stories, praying, encouraging, and living life together. It’s a powerful song, and a powerful story. On the long drive home I found myself getting jealous of my friend Andy. How I would love to have a group of folks like that.

Over the past several years as a church leader I’ve been a part of dozens of discussions where we’ve talked about building community. How do we build community? We know we need it. How do we make it happen? Too often the solution seemed to be another program. Things like “let’s organize a small group book study” or “let’s start a group based around this particular interest”. We’d try to find leaders for the group, put out a signup list, and then get frustrated because the same people who were asking for community weren’t signing up for stuff.

Here’s where I think we, and many churches, have made the mistake: we focus so much time and energy on church programs that we rob ourselves of the time to just live life together. The best friendships and most supportive community I’ve experienced in my life haven’t come out of any church program; they’ve come from people deciding to get together around meals and activities to just live life. Meeting up at someone’s home to play basketball, eat a meal, watch football on TV. Taking off on the spur of the moment to help someone move a piece of furniture. Taking a Saturday to help someone move to a new house. What saddens me is how many times we’ve not done things like this because we were too busy – and usually too busy with church stuff.

This is easy to lament, but harder to correct. We’ve taken the first step by the only method we could see that would work. Now we’re looking for another church, and the place we’re looking for will need to place a high priority on this sort of community. I’m praying every day that God helps us find it.

2 Comments

  1. Yeah, that’s what I’m longing for as well. I have it in some regards with a great group of friends, but they’re all stinky Baptists! 😉

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