I received some really great push back on yesterday’s post from a very dear friend. It was so good, it made me go back and rethink some things I stated yesterday. So let me clarify a few things.
First, I think community is still a critical thing all Christians need in their lives. More what I wanted to get after is that our search of community for the sake of saying “I have community” is really unhelpful for our growth. The process of formalizing deep community is actually a critical part of our growth. But when that becomes the end goal, I think we’re missing critical other portions of our faith. It is, however, still part of the critical core.
Second, we need to dismantle some myths about deep community. Deep community is NOT a “happy all the time” place. I think some of my deepest conflicts come at this point in community. When I come to deep community, I must always ask the hard questions about my willingness to both receive and give honest feedback to others. God uses community to shape me. Maybe this is Africa rubbing off on me, but I think I need others to be a whole person (my watered down definition of ubuntu).
So what is the end goal we’re after? I think something Henri Nouwen made popular in his writings, which is the core of NieuCommunities DNA, is an interweaving flow between my communion with God, my community with others, and my missional context outside. Each of these three tenets flow in and out of one another, stretching me and those I’m journeying alongside. It’s a highly complex thing for my Western mind to wrap around, but I think each of these three tenets flows into out out each other. If I take one of these elements out, I’m going to be lacking in my growth and influence.
But one thing I do want to restate… I think we put a lot of pressure on outside sources (like the local church) to produce things for our spirituality. That’s left so many people disappointed and hurt. I guess I don’t think it’s the local church’s responsibility to stuff my face with spirituality, it’s the place I go to be with other broken followers of Jesus who will become a critical part of my Christian walk… IF I LET THEM and will be willing to work… work hard… towards these things!
This series really is about providing you a window into a process that we’re on ourselves. I don’t think it’s “the answer,” is something we’re wrestling with ourselves and with those we’re serving with here.