3 benefits of authentic community

I need community. Real, authentic, biblical community.

Not because I’m an extrovert and get energized by being around people. Not because I need more friends. Not because I’m looking for people to hang out with. These are not reasons I need community.

I need community because I need to stay on mission. I get easily distracted. A community of people who share a passion for the mission of making disciples keeps me on mission.

Real, biblical community is not content to stay huddled in its comfort zone. It does not exist only for the purpose of coming and gathering. People in authentic, biblical community share a common mission.

I need community because I need to grow. I’m not able to mature as a follower of Christ in isolation. God created me to live and to grow in community, and without community my faith becomes weak and stagnant.

Real, biblical community is not content to deal in superficialities. It facilitates life change. I need people will speak God’s Word to me, who love me just as I am but love me too much to allow me to stay that way. Authentic Christian community moves me toward Christ.

I need community because I need love. Real love is experienced only in authentic community. Real, biblical community is one of the most significant sources of God’s grace in our lives.

People in real, biblical community don’t have to pretend to have it all together. They don’t feel the need to put on a public face because in real community there’s unconditional love and radical grace. It’s OK to be real and vulnerable.

The apostle Paul talked about those who hold to “the form of godliness” but deny the power of the real thing (2 Tim. 3:5). We do the same thing with community. It’s easy to hold to a form of community that masquerades as the real thing but lacks its power.

Real community is a way of life, not a meeting on a calendar or names on a class roll. It gets messy and is never perfect. It is neither manufactured nor programmed, but produced by God’s Spirit as gift of grace. It is cultivated on our part by commitment and intentionality and time. And I desperately need it, don’t you?