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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

commUNITY, and its outcome

by Nelson Roth  
In my role at Relevant Ministry, I have the privilege of connecting with pastors.  What’s awesome about connecting with other leaders is our common denominator is not a denomination; but, rather a love of Jesus Christ and his word.

Recently, I was sitting with a pastor in his office and in the middle of our time together, out of the blue, he said, “This is really good - sharing this time and having the conversation that we are   having - I really need this.”  He went on to say, “Before you reached out to me, we were in our own silos, doing our own thing; and to think, we live just fifteen minutes apart.” 

There was such unity in the room that day.  My pastor friend and I were experiencing real biblical commUNITY!  We are both growing spiritually and we are being encouraged in our ministry service because of our continued relationship.  “Two are better than one.”  Ecclesiastes 4:9

On the night before going to the cross, Jesus prayed.  In his prayer found in John 17, he expressed his heart.  His disciples and those who would become followers in the years to come were his primary concern.  His concern was they would live in unity!

He said to God the Father in verse 11, “protect them by the power of your name - the name you gave me - so that they may be one as we are one.”

The heart of the Father and Jesus Christ the Son, is that we as believers, would live together in unity.

The early church raised the bar concerning commUNITY, giving us an example.  In Acts 2:42, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”  The early church spent a lot of time together in commUNITY.  Verse 44 says, when they got together there were no distinctions or discriminations - “all that believed were together and had all things common.” 

How do you do commUNITY?

If the early church is an example for commUNITY, what else would you like to experience?

The word fellowship that’s found in Acts 2:42, means sharing.  The believers of the early church lived life together in close relationships and freely shared with one another.

How is it possible to experience commUNITY?

God through others is equipping his people, “for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”  Ephesians 4:12-13
We do not make unity; we grow up into it as we “become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”  When people grow up into Christ, they grow up into unity.

So then, what hinders commUNITY?

If it’s about growth, commUNITY would be limited by the the degree of willingness to grow spiritually by the various individuals of a group.

Why is it so important to get commUNITY right and make it a part of our experience?

Paul wrote a letter to the divided believers in Corinth.  Believers were allowing a disagreement to hinder their fellowship.  Paul says in I Corinthians chapter one, verse 10 that they must, “agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.”  Why was this so important?  Paul says in verse seventeen, “lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.”

How could our relationships with other believers impact positively or negatively our mission?

In contrast to Corinth, here is what is recorded about the believers of the early church in Acts chapter two, verse 42, they were “praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

How is God speaking to you about believers in commUNITY?
What would you like to see different in your life over the next few months?
What steps can you take to move in that direction?

Community is one of the evidences of what Relevant Ministry calls - the "7 Marks of Spiritual Health".  RM Coaching helps to assess all 7 Marks, providing an insightful check-up for personal spiritual health.  The RM team is writing about all 7 Marks, focusing on one topic a month with a new Blog article each week.  The topic this month is Community.  Please feel free to comment and join in on the conversation.

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RM’s vision - to equip leaders to minister relevantly in churches that will be healthy and thriving.

Relevant Ministry Inc.
Training future leaders - Building healthy ministries - Serving on the Gulf Coast

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