Have you heard the expression ‘Community Life’? How about ‘Church Family’? These seemingly express the intent/desire to build a community centered on the local church. Organized activities extend beyond sunday services, and vary from picnics to beach parties to shared meals to feeding the homeless to many etceteras.
All for the intent of bonding, strengthening church unity and creating an army of do-ers.
And how is such a local church managed by the Holy Spirit?
It matters little to decision-makers that both mentioned expressions cannot be found in Scripture. The eleven didn’t set out to build community. And that’s because Lord Jesus didn’t instruct them to build community.
1J1:7: If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another.
This fellowship is authentic and rich and fruit-bearing, the only kind acceptable to Lord Jesus. This is true ‘Community Life’, minus human genius.
Adders and Subtracters: If we walk in unity, we have fellowship with one another.
And this is true. Likeminded of all persuasions enjoy their own company. But what does this fellowship accomplish? Does such fellowship require the evangelical to relinquish individual guidance of the Holy Spirit?
And is this fellowship at the expense of fellowship with Christ? Does increased togetherness through increased activity actually decrease the flow of grace?
Each stands alone at the judgment seat of Christ. Alone. ‘They’ won’t stand with you. Our eternity is determined by the value of communion, in the here and now, with Lord Jesus. Gathering together can enrich that relationship, especially in a house church environment whereby each and every share their Spirit-given gifts. But equally required is….
Alone time, probably more than together time, causes Christ to be “formed in you”. The church’s giants of the faith became giants, mostly, through slow growth during thousands of hours of personal, purposeful abiding in “the true vine”.
‘Community Life’ can be an encroachment upon much needed alone time between Vine and branches.