The term community has become a buzzword in our culture. Millennials are said to desire it, employers seek to build it, sociologists bemoan its demise, and churches have rediscovered its value. But as with most buzzwords: when you hear it often enough it gets lost in the noise.
Some communities form around political affiliation or social activism. Others develop because of ethnic or cultural commonality. Some are built around common interests or hobbies. But no matter what its foundation, what holds a community together is its sense of belonging. That we come from this place, believe this thing and are headed in this direction.
When we define community within the Church, we are talking about the relational unity that is derived from our common salvation in Jesus Christ. It necessitates that those within a particular body have that sense of belonging. But where does that sort of unity come from?
Godly unity is given by the Holy Spirit (Eph 4:3), leads us into deeper faith in Christ (Eph 4:13), stirs us to sacrificially love our church family (Rom 12:10) and demonstrates the glory of God to the world (John 17:23).
This sort of supernatural unity allows for people from all walks of life, all backgrounds and experiences, all races, ethnicities and classes to walk with one another in love. Not because of all the things we have in common, but because of the One person we have in common. It reorients our life and allows us to put aside distractions and agendas for the sake of the Gospel.
So as we pray about the topic of community today, let’s pray that these would be the elements that would be demonstrated at Mercy Hill. That we would see the unity given to us by the Holy Spirit, around Jesus, for the good of the church and as a witness to the world.
Pray for our community groups to dive deep into the Word. Pray that we would be open to deep, challenging, encouraging relationships in our own lives. And pray that we would not sacrifice the gift of unity for the folly of our own agendas.