As Christians, we have become obsessed with organized religion. We are thrilled to be part of Bible studies, church groups, and volunteer organizations. However, we forget the real significance behind these organizations. While they are pertinent to spreading the gospel, we are at risk of forgetting the community around us.
Christian women are steeped in church. We are immersed in tutoring programs, Wednesday night services, and small groups, and the people around us — the people in our workplaces, schools, neighborhoods — are suffering for it. Each of these interactions takes place on a mission field.
God provides people in our lives for us to encourage, to teach and also, to learn from.
But, how often do we remember these people? Community is often lost in pre-planned events, in straw wrappers and coffee cups left over from a mega-church Sunday breakfast. While loving community can certainly be discovered in a small group provided by a church, it is often found in our pedestrian lives. It is found in a particularly long conversation with the checker at Wal-Mart, in a backyard barbecue with neighbors who may (or may not) know Jesus, or at a basketball game for seventh graders.
While loving community can certainly be discovered in a small group provided by a church, it is often found in our pedestrian lives.
I have found that the most I have ever contributed to the kingdom occurred in a spontaneous collision of events. I began leading a small group, not through a church or through Young Life, but through the initiative of four eighth graders at my old junior high school. Through their want for Christian community, they decided to create one. Teaching and learning from them is one of the most rewarding pieces of community I have ever been blessed with.
While we don’t meet at a youth center or a church, I find that it is the deepest and most intimate community I have ever experienced.
The most sincere thank you’s I have ever received were from someone in desperate need of a listener, of a coffee-buyer, of a ride to school, or simply the provider of a place to sleep.
Christian community is found in spur of the moment acts of kindness, love, and Christ in our daily lives. This is the work of God, not human planning.
If we are willing to step out of our comfort zones into the uncertainty of spontaneity, if we are willing to love those around us with Christlike pursuit, if we are willing to act on that love with simple things, like paying for someone’s gas or buying a cup of coffee, we will create Christian community that is deep, lasting and beautiful.
I have been so blessed by church services, mentors, and volunteer organizations. I know the deep debt of gratitude I owe them, for the service and love they have added to my life.
But, let’s not forget the absolute necessity of spontaneous missional community in our everyday lives. This spontaneity, this generous Christlike spirit, gives way to more change than we could ever imagine. One spark can start a fire. Let your spontaneous gift of a Sonic drink change someone’s day (maybe even their life).