The first followers of Jesus were “one another” people - in and out of each other’s homes, praying, worshipping and eating together, and supporting those in need. Close, loving community is the prime context in which learning and growth happens. They described themselves as the “body” of Jesus - and as His Body continued to demonstrate the Father’s love to those around them. They ‘loved each other deeply’.
For some of us, to live like this is welcome and comparatively easy; for others, our temperament means that we will have to work at relating to a new extended family. This may be challenging when we encounter people who are not “like us”, or who have lives that are quite obviously damaged. However, our Father’s love, together with the follower-of-Jesus characteristics that the Holy Spirit nurtures within us, will help this process. Expressions of ‘community’ will vary but it is vital for the health and growth of every believer, and the church family as a whole, to connect in regular fellowship (‘togetherness’) with others. ‘Solo Christianity’ doesn’t exist!
“Everyone around was in awe … the believers lived in a wonderful harmony, holding everything in common. They … pooled their resources so that each person's need was met. They followed a daily discipline of worship … followed by meals at home, every meal a celebration, exuberant and joyful, as they praised God … every day their number grew as God added those who were saved”.
Acts 2 43-47, The Message.
Living as community means becoming in our daily lives we already are – children of God, bound together in His family. As the Spirit works change within us, loving relationship grows with our brothers and sisters within local, national and global contexts.
- In the local church/Trinity context, join with others in a group where you can know others and become known by them
- Alpha, Element & Life Groups all offer opportunity for relationships to form and flourish, for fun, mutual encouragement and growth in faith
- Take advantage of shared events and activities (eg serving on a team) to walk with others and serve together
- God’s love in us will, over time, over-flow into compassion for those around us, helping us to love even those who may at first seem harder to love!
- The disciplines of forgiveness and peace-making are essential in forging community.