We are lonely people. We feel it all the time. We feel it when we come home at night and the phone doesn't ring. We feel it when sadness kicks in and no one seems to care. We feel it when we are still at the office at 9 pm. We feel it when we go to bed alone. It's not that we don't try to relate to others, but that doesn't seem to satisfy us. We get disappointed when people don't meet all our needs (even though they were never meant to - that's God's job). The problem is we really don't understand what community is and what it takes to have it. It's a buzz word these days, but the reality of community seems to elude us. We need to get a grip on what community really is.
Community flows out of who God is.
The Father, Son and Spirit live in perfect relationship while on mission together (mission is important to experiencing authentic community). So if you want to tap into community the way it was meant to be experienced, get close to God. Repent (right now) of the sin that stands in the way of you relating to God. If you are experiencing loneliness, I'll bet anything your walk with God is less than stellar.
Here's some more about community that I borrowed from a friend:
Community is experiencing Christ through one another.
Community is knowing and being known, serving and being served, celebrating and being celebrated. Community is hanging out with Christian friends and laughing about stupid things. Community is gradually opening up our true selves to people and letting them see who we really are. Community is telling each other the truth in love.
Community is not just being "nice."
True community involves being in a bad mood and still being pleasant to others. Community means asking for help. To be in community means to be in need. To feel other peoples' pain, that's community. To think more about what others need, that's community. Community involves crying and looking foolish in front of others. To be in community means to be uncomfortable at times. Community involves risking our image. Community is not just eating together. Community is not seeing people at church. Community is not saying, "Fine" when asked how you are doing. To be in community involves using your phone a lot.
To experience community is to arrange one's life in such a way that fellow members of the church are seen not as a burden to deal with, but friends with which to do life.
Community is seeing church as a family to belong to, not a service to go to. Community involves simplifying one's lifestyle in order to welcome others.
Community means sacrificing time and money for those who need either. To listen more than you talk is community. To work out all conflicts and never hold grudges is community. Community is the way of Jesus who related to and lived with twelve very imperfect men when he could have accomplished his mission and lived his life without them. Jesus showed us how to do community by who he was and how he lived.
Let's be a church that just doesn't have the word community listed in our brochures and website. Let's be a church that experiences authentic community and models it to the world around us.