Surely all church is community?

Attended a one day conference on cell church. “Community” kept recurring throughout the day. Usually by this we mean the area in which we live and the people that surround us. however, there is a deeper meaning to this word.

Common means that we share something. At weight-watchers, for example, we share the perceived state of being overweight and the desire to shed some of the excess.

Unity implies that our purpose is shared; that we are heading in the same direction, at least on one major issue. There is an implied choice to join this group, not just because of our common interest, or location, or family ties, but because we want to achieve something together.

In church, that should be enhanced because our commonality is our relationship with Jesus, which he declared should be revealed in love for each other within the church, love for our neighbours outside the world, and love for our enemies within and without.

Do I show this? NO! not by a long way. And that brings great dissatisfaction.

Part of the problem is that church is a very difficult place to build community. You need time to get to know other members and reach a point of honest conversation and sharing. This is not possible in the large groups that meet on Sunday mornings. Hence most churches also have small groups of some sort that meet in the week. Cell church starts from the premise that community only grows in small groups, known as cells. Members get to know each other intimately, and can therefore help in practical and emotional support. Maturing in faith and holding each other accountable are also possible. (I think that’s kind of what happens in weight-watchers and Alcoholics Anonymous. ) This then flows out to others around.

If all this is true, why do we all prefer to gather in large groups on Sundays? Do we have something to hide? If so, wouldn’t we all be better off bringing it out into the open to be dealt with?

Bye for now

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About prophetable

My wife Elizabeth and I were commissioned as Officers (ministers) in The Salvation Army in 1997, and have served in appointments in England and Scotland. Since July 2016 I have been working in The Salvation Army's Scotland Office as combined parliamentary and ecumenical representative.
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