According to the famous words from Walt Disney’s Lilo & Stitch, “Ohana means family. Family means no one gets left behind or forgotten.” If there is one thing that I have learned over the last four and a half years while being involved with CoMission, it’s the importance of family and not just the biological kind. As a matter of fact, the particular kind of family I’m referring to in this context is specifically the church body.
Another term that is also widely used, in various forms of neighborhoods or groups of people, is the word, “community.” The Miriam Webster Dictionary defines community as “a unified body of individuals: such as….a group of people with a common characteristic or interest living together within a larger society.” In this case, a community of Christians---or better yet, a church family---is a group of people that shares one main characteristic: belief in the Lord Jesus Christ who loves us so much that He was born of a virgin, lived a human (albeit perfect) life on earth, died on a cross to pay the penalty for our sins, resurrected three days later, and ascended into heaven with God our heavenly Father, leaving the gift of His Spirit to dwell with us and in us.
Over the next several weeks, I will go into detail about what a healthy and thriving church community looks like according to the scriptures in the book of Acts. I will also be drawing from six points that were mentioned in the first chapter of a book titled Thriving Communities: The Pattern of Church Life Then and Now by C. Kavin Rowe and L. Gregory Jones.
This week, for the sake of time, I will just briefly introduce the six main points that will be covered over the next two weeks. These points that the authors address are as follows: 1. Networks and networking; 2. Visibility; 3. Provision for the weak; 4. Articulacy of belief; 5. Processing conflict; 6. Suffering. As we look more in-depth on how these features are necessary for a church family/community to thrive, my hope is that we will all be able to take away something we can apply to our everyday lives as we strive to be more like Christ’s body, the church. I think Rowe and Jones said it best in the concluding paragraph of this chapter.
“To learn about thriving communities from Acts requires us to nurture an imagination that thinks about a complete pattern for life. It’s not that these six features guarantee that we’ll have a thriving community. These are six strands of a unified community life, and when they are woven together, they help Christian communities to serve their purpose in the world. Taken together, these features are what it means for us to live as communities that are a foretaste of God’s kingdom.”
To close out this week's post, I leave you with a biblical definition of the church community. "Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved." Acts 2: 44-47.
I serve on staff as both Receptionist and Administrative Assistant for Gulf Coast Community Church and as Executive/Administrative Assistant for CoMission, the church's college outreach ministry. My role in CoMission specifically, includes bookkeeping, calendar oversight, document editing and of course, my favorite part: writing this blog. My hope for this blog is to help you get a feel for what the heartbeat of CoMission is about as I share various content on the topics of discipleship, evangelism, college outreach strategies, and everything in between. I'll even share an occasional update on the current events of CoMission as we strive to raise and equip disciples for the sake of the Gospel on the USFSP campus. May you be well informed and encouraged with every post. To Him be the glory.