Our friends at a church down the road experienced a major tragedy this last week. One of their much loved 23 year old boys, Szymon, went to be with the Lord. Massive tears at the memorial. Szymon’s family shared intimately with us – with literally hundreds of people crying with them. God’s nature was modeled and taught, on display during the memorial service; the actual gathering itself accurately represented God. Community. Walking with our friends when they’re in great pain.
Secondly, our creative team produced a stunning narrative movie “Better Together.” There’s a hidden message to this 7 min film.
The message is more than the social cozy, inclusive dignity that comes from belonging. Community is not really about us, it’s about reaching the world. Look closely at “Better Together,” it goes beyond the cozy, its about change.
A few years ago (quite a few) I was 18 and had rolled up at my 1st live-in job. It was on a New Zealand farm. I was a nice conservative Anglican kid, [as opposed to a radical Anglican kid] and my host family were so very into the Holy Spirit.. I lived with them. And I was scared. Scared/nervous about the new job, nervous about the brand of christianity that my new family advocated. A scared white Anglo kid – a nice scared white anglo kid, who wanted to matter…
“All the believers were together…” Acts 2:44
This family. They were with me, they were for me and loved me, I was respected and part of their agenda. I was scared, but they were irresistible. They “togethered” me – made me part of the family team. And I changed. The simple truth is: I lived with the Wallis’, and my life totally changed. They provoked me into the ways of God. Ways like hearing the voice of God, evangelism, overcoming, worship.
And after that, more change. The inexplicable desire to hand over my life – to do something radically significant for God. God woke me up at the Wallis’ – that led to a crazy “love him back” desire and resulted in the privileged adventure of serving God and people in missions. I experienced deep, destiny shaping change. That led to a decision to change my career, and a move to Australia.
So Gods team, which ultimately is his church, is legitimately a community of comfort, but tragic if it stays that way, its a community of change.
My son Nathan gave his closing speech as school captain this week. During which he made a very important statement. “I’ve always felt at home at St Philips…”. He flourished at St Philips (thx saints). It started at belonging but didn’t finish there. He changed. Great communities- like our YWAM centre or the local church I’m part of- are there to bring comfort for sure- but even more- to bring Godly change.
…. “And Jesus gathered his disciples and began to teach… ”
Amazing, supernatural, biblical community like we see in Acts 2 is not for our self-interested outcomes. Friend, the Jesus way, the God way doesn’t stop at the incredible and essential “dignity through belonging.” It’s about “transformation through belonging.”
Here’s the deal:
-Belong in community.
-Grow & experience God in community.
-Change. Then change the world.
Jesus & his disciples were ‘community on purpose’
How would you describe the right “order” of the discipleship process?
Behave belong believe,
Believe belong behave, or
Belong believe behave.
Its worth a thought!