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Real community is hard

This word – community – that we throw around (sometimes cavalierly) is, in practice, pretty tough. Part of what Jesus was teaching his twelve disciples by calling them to join an itinerant ministry for three years was that they would have nothing to depend on – stable jobs, comf…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

This word –

community – that we throw around (sometimes cavalierly) is, in practice, pretty tough. Part of what Jesus was teaching his twelve disciples by calling them to join an itinerant ministry for three years was that they would have nothing to depend on – stable jobs, comfortable homes, or guaranteed meals – but each other.

Collectively, they would have to call on God and wait for him to answer, with no other options. Can you imagine them clutching each other in fear as they were out on that boat with the waves violently crashing against them, and just hoping that Jesus would show up?

Community demands vulnerability when independence would otherwise excuse it. They would

have to be vulnerable in front of each other. And at the end of it all, Jesus tells them that how they love each other is how the world will know that they are his disciples. They leave their families and get a new one.

It wasn’t easy for these guys. But Jesus was building a church, and one that would stand up against the gates of hell would need to be tested. What better way to test a bond than crisis situations: a storm, 5000 hungry people, or your teacher dying?

Brokenness is a necessary part of the process to become a community, a true band of brothers. That’s why we see them arguing for seats of honor or for who will be the greatest in the kingdom. A transition from governing oneself to submitting to each other is stressful!

Although, just as it was “not good for man to be alone” in the Garden of Eden, it is not good for us to go through life without someone to share our burdens and encourage us. The World Race teaches community – doing life together – to its participants, both the good and especially, the hard.

But I have no doubt that they will come out of this experience with a better understanding of what church is really supposed to be and why we need each other. Watch this short video that one of our media team members made awhile back, when the teams were still in Latin America. It’s awesome what these guys are learning.

Tell me, what’s
your experience with community?

Comments (5)

  • Community… what a way to live, I have just returned home from over 2 years of it… I miss it. I love the accountability it brings and the brokeness and vulnerbility because there is no place to hide… before them and GOd!
    One thing that really broke my heart though was those who gave up… they walked or ran away from conflict or pain…
    its a hard road… that is worth it if you are willing to learn and deal with your own hearts and stand by your brother and sister as they to grow in Christ!

  • I agree, Rachel. Thanks for your comment. We can’t run away from the conflict – in those moments, it is where our character is tested and true community is built. Maybe one of the purposes for community is to give opportunities for relational conflict, so that people have to work things out, so that we have to get eyes of the spirit to see people differently and understand their point of view, so that we get outside of ourselves.

  • I love living in community… with people who think like I do. Unfortunately, that’s not realistic, nor my current reality… or is it fortunate? Jesus is forcing Shari and I to live in community with people whom we disagree with on what we believe are important aspects of our faith. How do we build trust where there currently isn’t any (after 8 months)? We don’t trust them, and they don’t trust us. How do we build community when we communicate in such different ways? These are the hard questions we’re dealing with. Yet, through it all, God doesn’t call us to leave, or ask them to leave. He calls us to live in community, to love each other, to work through these things. I don’t know how, or what it will look like when we’ve done so, which makes it even harder – I have to walk by faith, without even a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. Yet I know that God is able to do exceedingly and abundantly more than I can ask or imagine. Do I trust Him? Do I trust what I know is true? I’ve got to.

  • Community, oh I love the word…and all it entails. I have lived in community with Youth with a Mission(YWAM) Hurlach, Germany, a community in the far up north of British Columubia(had to take a boat to get to the wilderness farm), in Ohio with 8 other families on a farm. We have also lived with a Christian family for over a year and a half. We now are in community with my 79 year old father(who is not saved), 2 foster boys(teens) one saved, other not, and their little sister. Community is what we have come to know as a part of the kingdom. We came into community expecting Utopia; however, the Lord wanted to establish his kingdom community in us. As to problems…we have found when we walk in the Spirit and follow 1 Cor 13, we have no problems. We have learned to lay down our lives for Jesus, expressing that love to others around us. Have things always been “peachy”, not but he never called us as peaches, rather “sons!” In a way, we have known no other life for the last 25 plus years. How wonderful to allow Jesus to out of us Gal 2:20. We call our little farm “Fellowship Acrs”

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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