“And all those who had believed were together, and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. And day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.” -Acts 2:44-47
One of realistic challenges of commuter churching in this culture; is the lack of proximity to one another. Unfortunately in this day, its harder and harder to find the time to be in each others lives. Our crammed schedules wrestle for the precious little free time we all have and leave us scrambling to fit people, events and serving into an already overloaded day planner. Our prosperous economic lives enabled us to live and drive great distances that didn't used to be the norm. People lived, ate, worked, got educated and worshipped within a very short distance of the very people called neighbors...that is often not the case today.
Building community wasn't a programmed idea...it happened as a by product of life. But today our rhythms of life almost fight against us...simply due to the issue of proximity. We live in diverse places, we work different jobs, our kids go to different schools and have different friends, we shop at different stores and our leisure time is often in different places of the city.
This presents a significant challenge to nurturing body life, community care and serving; when most of our core relationships with believers or unbelievers are spread out over miles of distance. The practicalities of living a more integrated, whole, rhythmic life...together, is a difficult endeavor. As economic challenges put pressure on people and their pocket books and extra money is eaten up...the freedoms of waste, will diminish and that will force people to redesign their relational, religious and even work lives.
I think there is going to have to come a radical realignment with Kingdom values in order to see true Kingdom life and impact emerge in a viable, New Testament way, in the days ahead. The above scripture has to be a divine center that we aim at in order to foster and cultivate the relational and practical proximities to build true biblical community and centers of service. Being close doesn't guarantee these things will automatically happen, it has to be conscious choice and action...but the ease of it would be greater.
Economic need, might realistically force this kind of downsizing, realignment and restructuring of our personal lives. People will need each other more than ever before and find that being close to those you call brothers and sisters...means you are closer to the support, opportunity and resources you or your family need. Choices that we once had to move down, will be eaten up as people scamble to find housing, work and worship within their means.
In my opinion the challenges facing the nation are prime opportunities to ignite fresh new ways of living together, caring for one another and growing the true, present, accessible and next door neighbor body of Jesus. Soon the way of Jesus and kingdom living will appeal to people in greater and greater ways, simply through the common sense of it all. Sharing gardens, pooling money, eating meals together, car pooling, sharing goods and services, maximizing space and alternative housing ideas, community, communal or shared housing, creative alternative homeschooling, co-work endeavors, etc...
So maybe the times are setting us up for fertile ministry and relational life together if we dare to embrace the wind of change and adjust the sails of our living and capture the momentum for the kingdom. For some this will be minor adjustments, for others more radical. But if we all think and live creatively in the days ahead...we can see more and more people added to the church...daily.
Tuesday Night Community Dinners:
You are invited to our weekly Tuesday night community dinner hosted at our Community Resource Center, from 5-7PM. Come out and eat, build relationships, serve and help each other save money by eating together. A practical way to adjust to the economic changes in our lives and neighborhood.