This post is a re-post for the upcoming Missional Leaders Network meeting, a relational forum for those who are committed to doing church through”smaller” missional communities (even if in the context of a larger church gathering. If you are in Cape Town and would like to come check it out – email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Being now about a year into this missional community/ gospel community thing, I have come to realize a basic mindset shift which most people fail to make concerning biblical community:
Biblical community is more about choice than affinity.
What do I mean?
Most of our relationships are based around affinity. We share common interests, similar personality, background, economic level or personality. Not so with true biblical community.
Biblical community is more like family – we are unable to choose our brothers and sisters. As a result our Christian community may look rather different in terms of affinity, background or personality than that which we would naturally choose.
Where most community breaks down in churches is that we maintain a “small group” superficiality with those who differ, whilst functionally pursuing relational depth with those “like us”.
Hence my point – biblical community is more choice than affinity.
We have to choose to hang out with, share life together with and engage in mission with. Our mindset must be – yes there are many people out there with whom I enjoy relationship or connect with but I choose to commit myself to this local group of believers. Sometimes even at the expense of my natural affinity group. There must be an intentionality about our choice of community that overrides our personal preference.
This “choice over affinity” community is counter-cultural and challenging to the average unbeliever. Why should you choose to hang out with and share life with people with whom you do not share a natural affinity? Why would you choose to share life with a group of people with whom it is more difficult or even awkward to get on with?
Why the gospel of course!
Anything less than this simply fails to be biblical community.