Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Craving for community

We all crave meaningful community.  We want to have deeply connected relationships with one another.  We are not satisfied with shallow and empty acquaintance.  We want to be a part of something, to belong to someone, to be cared for and to have someone to care for.  We were made to have relationships.
Many who have left the institutional systems of the church have done so for this reason.  We were tired of the Sunday morning "how are you" that never got much deeper than "see you next week".  We discerned that the busyness of church life distracted us from what really mattered.  So, we set out determined to focus on building relationships with other believers where our love for one another was the bond that held us together, not confessions and covenental statements.
Still, our zeal for finding community is met with frustration when we realize that relationships take a lot of time and effort.  There is also a lot of pain involved.  When the distractions of programs and religious practice are out of the way we begin to see the beauty and the beast in each other.  So we get to work building each other up.  We begin to discern what is of Christ and what is not and we praise the Christ in you and rebuke the man of flesh.  It's not easy and not fun but it is well worth the discomfort.
This experience was unattainable within the confines of institutional religion (for me anyways).  Looking back it seems there was always a book, a program or a teaching that got in the way of really connecting with one another.  Yes we knew what a few people thought about such and such a doctrine or such and such a bible passage but we had no idea who's marriage was struggling or family was in turmoil.
If you are a part of a community of believers that have found a way to overcome this obstacle and build meaningful relationships with each other within a religious institution, I'm very happy for you.  I welcome you to share your experience here.  If you have set out to gather with others in a more simple fashion seeking this kind of community let me encourage you.  Relationships take time and they can't be forced.  Let Christ dwell in you richly and together you will be built up with others according to His timing.  He will build His church.


  1. We are in total agreement from over here in Connecticut, where (thank You, Lord), several "new wineskins" have arise from very hard ground. practically live by Colossians 1:18 in our meetings, and we are like family to one another, seeking His will i our little lives, individually and collectively. All together, we are very few, but doesn't the Lord talk about
    His remnant -- few -- and doesn't few mean few?

  2. Whitney,

    your comment brings to mind God's dealings with Gideon and how He thinned out the masses in order to have an army of few that were used to shame the many. I appreciate your testimony of what the Lord is doing in his people in Conn.

    how long have you all been meeting as "new wineskins"? Would you agree that community takes time and cannot be forced?

  3. Oh man of God, yes! We need to talk. You need to "connect with" a few of the men from here -- perhaps Twitter is the way -- or Facebook. If you have an e-mail address, I will provide the e-mail address for one fellow who has really led the way here -- slowly, slowly, plowing onward, despite false accusations -- he's been beckoning like Frank Viola and Beresford Job, but it is slow -- and is, I think, an acquired taste. Lord told me this morning that His people remain captive, in part, because they like the sound of clanking chains. Lord He has broken off their chains, but the people are so accustomed to the clanking, they can't see it's the Sound of Satan. I think I need your e-mail address. I'm on Facebook and you can send me a private message there if you'd like. I would!

  4. Great post Bobby, this desire for community is the natural next step after moving from institutionalization to simpler church but so much of the world around us and even the church culture makes it very difficult.

  5. Whitney,

    I'll send you a DM on Twitter. Also, if you check the right column of the blog you'll see a page titled "how to contact me privately". That is where you'll find my e-mail and facebook link. I'm looking forward to networking with you all.


    you're right. We carry a lot of baggage and misconceptions with us when we leave. Do you think that's why it seems to take so long in our westernized context compared to the 1st century church who seemed to hit it off right from the start?


As in a biblical church gathering, my word is not complete or final. Participation is allowed, encouraged and expected. Please, don't leave without adding something.