People looking for advice and guidance has become more prevalent in this season of ministry for me, than any other time in the history of my 20-year ministerial adventure. I get Facebook, Instagram, snapchat, and email messages about questions of life, the bible, and ministry.
People are craving for a connection in a time where connection should be easier. We want relationships that are easy, eye-opening answers, and spirit-led instructions, BUT, from afar. I fear that personal touch is becoming a thing of the pass.
If Jesus were to come and walk this earth in our generation, I believe that we would result to google for answers, miss Jesus’ many miracles trying to post selfies, and send Jesus a text rather than sit with him. They would probably listen to a podcast from John the Baptist and miss hearing the word in person and amongst others who are in the same spiritual journey. We are so distracted with self-gratification that we become a slave of filling up our time with things that give us a happiness quick-fix, but cannot fulfill the God-size hole inside of us.
When this is the issues that we face, we forget, and disregard, the importance of community in the church. We become Lone Ranger Christians, where we tackle every issue of life alone. We suffice our Jesus need through a quick pit-stop at church on Sunday, and believe that that will be more than sufficient to insert in that void what we need. Albeit, without really making any connections because we leave church to go to the next happy, quick-fix that we scheduled after church.
The problem with thinking this way is that, “[we] are in error because [we] do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.” (Mat. 22:29)
I’ll give you three reasons why:
1.God is communal:
God’s communal nature is seen in the trinity; father, son and holy spirit. God works in conjunction with His Son and the Holy Spirit which is inside of us. God created the church for the same purpose. For it to be a communal place where people connect and create a synergy of prayer, worship, and fellowship. Not a place to just receive, but a place to receive and give. To connect with one another because we cannot do this Christian life journey alone. That synergy is what fosters the presence of God, and you will not get that anywhere else in life. That’s why gathering together as the church is so important:
“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the middle of them.”
God’s communal nature is what helps us see further, deeper, and spiritually what we otherwise miss out of community.
2. Encouragement is communal.
Many want encouragement from afar. You can see it on social media. We spend countless of hours scouting for Facebooks quotes from other very intelligent people. Quotes that can give us that quick-fix encouragements that we are looking for, only to have to look for some more just a few hours or days later.
"And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near" (Hebrews 10:24-25).
This Hebrew scripture shows the communal nature of encouragement. I love the words “stir up one another.” It gives it a sense of communal passion to love and do good words. It also shows us that how, as time gets harder, we will need each other! And friends, times are HARD! Seek the church out in these very perilous times.
3.Accountability is communal.
Not having accountability is a form of self-destruction, specially of our faith. Sin is a destructive force that needs many levels of checks and balances. Yes, we are supposed to read the bible and pray daily but that is just one layer of accountability. We NEED each other in as the church to create a face-to-face, personal level of accountability in our lives.
We know this to be true when we play a team sport. We hopefully practice on our own, and do some weight and endurance training, but that is just one layer of accountability. In a team sport, everyone is accountable to each other in order to arrive at the same end goal. God created this same type of synergy in His church. We need each other for all the important parts of our spiritual growth, including accountability that we are doing what is right in the eyes of the Lord.
14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 1 Thes. 5:14
The bible is filled with “one another” statements that further asserts the communal nature of God and the church. We are called to be counter-cultural. So, we must ask ourselves: “Am I experiencing encouragement, accountability, and the presence of a communal God?” On top of asking that question we must also view our schedules in the same manner, and ask ourselves, “Am I prioritizing space for God’s communal nature by being in community with Him and others (the church)?”
May God lead us to experience true connection and not miss out on the communal nature of God.