Part 4 of 5-part series on the Purpose Driven Church
In the past 12 years, the term “fellowship” has become outdated. The new word is “community.” Community groups. Building community. Community life. Community churches.
No one uses the term “inreach” anymore to describe the local body of believers serving and loving one another. At one time fellowSHIP fit right alongside worSHIP and discipleSHIP, but that ship has sailed. In 2009, we seek to build community or a “common union” among our people.
For me, growing up in SBC-style fellowship meant one thing: eating together. Great big pot luck meals. Huge feasts were necessary to celebrate every major holiday and some not-so-major. Years and years of this kind of fellowship resulted in many Baptists being known more for their waist size than their commitment to community “growth.” Gluttony and fellowship were not intended to be partners (see 1 Corinthians: 11).
In recent days, the emergent church movement has opened many eyes to the need for real community in our churches. With technology, people are becoming more connected digitally, but more isolated socially and relationally. Faceless community is more valuable than face to face. A group of believers who focus on building strong community looks very strange in our digital age. Almost Utopian.
Finally, fellowship often made people think of membership in an elite country club. Community is far different. Community is about being known in a small group and getting to know others intimately. Nothing fake or superficial. Very transparent, very authentic, very real relationships formed over extend periods of time together.
Sounds a bit like Jesus and his disciples. Not a bad example to intimate.
Part 5 – Purpose Driven: Evangelism, the most different purpose since 1997 is coming soon.