Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Cultivating Community

Being part of community, genuine community, is tough stuff. It is not easy. It takes honesty, saying the hard thing. Often community remains shallow because we're not willing to challenge people when they start wandering astray. We do all we can to avoid conflict, to not rock the boat. Yet sometimes, out of love, we need to rock the boat a little...for the betterment of the person, not just to attack.

Another challenge is the humility that community requires. I like how Warren says it, "Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less. Humility is thinking more of others." This is really hard stuff in our "me first" society. For community to work we need to think about others, how our actions and words effect them.

The last challenge I want to think about today is that building community, building genuine and deep relationships, takes time and frequency of getting together. As Warren puts it, "You have to spend time with people -- a lot of time -- to build deep relationships. This is why fellowship is so shallow in many churches; we don't spend enough time together, and the time we do spend is usually listening to one person speak. Community is built not on convenience ('we'll get together when I feel like it') but on the conviction that I need it for spiritual health...it will mean meeting together even when you don't feel like it, because you believe it is important." It is great that you are coming on Sunday morning, that worship time is important. However, if that is all you are coming for you are selling yourself short, robbing yourself of an opportunity, because you are not spending enough time to build the kind of relationships that you need for community.

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