We believe that Christian community is a critical tool God has used throughout history to shape us into the kinds of people He hopes for us to be. Community is such a catch phrase though, I think it’s important for us to define it more fully.
Community could perhaps be defined as a relational journey with others. I have reached a certain level of community with Natalie that I have not reached, and will never reach with anyone else. The same is true with some of the men in our community. There is a special place these guys have in my life that have taken me the entire time I’ve been in South Africa to obtain. Yet we often find ourselves frustrated in churches when that feeling of deep connection doesn’t happen automatically. We have this lie we’ve believed that because we’re all following Jesus, our relationships will just take off and everything will be great all the time.
Then we lost one of the Pure Hope teammates.
A LOT of things were going on with this, which I won’t get into here. Let me say, though, the reasoning behind his departure create a LOT of questions for the work we are hoping to do as we move South African missionaries into the fringes of society that have been greatly affected by the history of this rich country.
But there are questions this young community must now face. There were expectations not met with his departure. One of the teammates told me the other day “I expected him to stay all year with us. I thought we were closer than it turns out we actually are!” How many of us have felt that way at one time or another?
Community starts with casual relationships. There’s nothing you can do about it, it’s the natural flow of human interaction. You can’t bypass this casual level without violating some level of trust that will build a foundation for the relationships later on.