Last time we talked a bit about the need for community within our neighborhoods, this time around we will take a look at some of the more practical ways we could do this.
Question: How do we go about fostering community in our neighborhoods/college campuses?
Answer: Since authentic community is based upon mutual love for other member’s of the community we need to look to places where true love exits in order to create a foundation for community. Since there is no greater love than Christ’s love, and Christ-centered love, the ideal place to look for community is within the Church.
In order to meet the goal of of creating a vibrant sense of community within a particular neighborhood; the church must come alongside a community in order to foster that community’s growth. It is the love of Christ, and the love for people which will enable the church to foster this growth, and set an example of true community in action.
The church can act as a tool to create familiarity and love between members of a specific community, neighborhood, or campus by modeling what true community looks like.
However we must keep in mind that the Christian community’s goal is not to remain in the neighborhood/campus forever, it is to create a self-sustaining community based upon Christ which functions as a part of the global church but is not dependent upon a specific church. The long term goal of moving into a community is to create an area where God’s will is being done, where people are loving each other and meeting each other’s needs. Basically it is to create a “pocket” in which God’s kingdom is being manifested here on earth, in a specific neighborhood like Chatsworth, Canoga Park, Northridge, Winnetka, or Simi Valley. It might even mean doing this in communities or modern day neighborhoods like college campuses or “watering holes” like gyms or pubs. This broader goal might be rephrased in a different way: the goal is to plant a church. Not a church in the common sense of the word, not a building with programs and worship bands and congregants. It is to create a church in the truest sense of the word: a community of Christ-followers which meet in order to glorify God. Once again, there are two main goals that communities on mission should have within the community: 1- To create a vibrant sense of community within a particular neighborhood. 2- To stimulate and foster the growth of a community of Christ-followers.
If this is resonating with you at all I want you to consider some of the following questions.
- Where is your “neighborhood?”
- Where is your “Christ-centered community?”
- How are you modeling “Christ-centered community” in front of your “neighborhood?”