the church’s one greatest asset

"Community Futures" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

“Community Futures” cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

Like this cartoon? Get a print of it here for your home or office!
Doesn’t everyone agree? I mean, we all know by now that most of the things the church provides: worship, teaching, connection to the Divine, meaning, charitable giving and service, etcetera, can be found and enjoyed without and outside of the church.

It is also true that community can be found outside the church.

BUT… most agree that finding meaningful community outside the church is very, very difficult. I know from experience.

What I miss most about being in the church is the dynamic communities I enjoyed being a part of. When you become a part of a church, you are handed relationships on a platter… a network of possible friendships… a plethora of scheduled meetings with other like-minded people.

The problem is that church communities are often sullied with conflicting ideas, intentions, and agendas. I’ve experienced powerful moments of true community within the church only to have them eventually wrecked and ruined by well-intentioned people trying to turn it into something greater, or packaging it and marketing it for church growth purposes, or inflicting it with pressure to subscribe to a homogenous ideology and lifestyle, or imposing a vision upon it that turns it into an end rather than a thing of beauty in and of itself.

I claim the church’s greatest asset is community. The church can refine its theology. It can tweak its liturgy. It can revamp its style. But it’s respect and caring for community that’s going to provide it with a future.

Unfortunately, community is the easiest thing to compromise, confuse, and kill.

But I believe with effort local churches can pay attention to its greatest asset and open up new vistas for the future church.

Community is something I’m passionate about. This is what we’re trying to do at The Lasting Supper. Come join us today!

You may also like...

5 Responses

  1. David Waters says:

    Community outside the church is so much healthier. It’s like the difference between and arranged marriage and one where the mates chose each other.

  2. Ducatihero says:

    Yes, it’s true that community can be easily destroyed. In being involved with and leading teams, it has been my experience that a great dynamic and high morale can be ruined by just one disruptive person. There’s a reason why Jesus said “beware the yeast of the pharisees.

    Community outside of the church can be difficult in a way, yes it’s not given to you on a platter, you have to look for it. But it is easier in a different sense if you find it and don’t have to lose the essence of who you are to belong.

  3. I’ve seen healthy community within the church. But it is true, generally, that the church is poor at developing, maintaining, and nurturing community outside its doors.

  4. Dave says:

    One issue I think we have probably all have seen with the church is that the community is contingent on attendance. Once you no longer attend, you are no longer community. This in itself is not damaging so long as you maintain your attendance. However, I would contend that this concept has a critical impact on the in-church community. It’s as if people are not “all in” since they know that the relationship is so tenuous, because they know fragility on which the community is based.

    A little harsh perhaps, but it’s a theory that can explain a few things for me.

  5. I would concur Dave. For sure.