As I mentioned in my previous post, our pastor gave five women in our church an opportunity to share their hearts. I asked you ladies to share your hearts, and I so appreciate your responses!
My heart is for true community and seeing the Body of Christ as it was intended to be. The vulnerability that requires and the risk of rejection sometimes scares me, but I am discontent with living life on the surface with others. And I struggle with seeing the number of divisions and walls we put up among Christians (let alone how we isolate non-Christians).
My experience with Africa has shaped my perspective on this topic profoundly. When we visited with a pastor in Sudan, he admonished us, “You Americans, you often forget that we (meaning Christians, not just the Sudanese) are in a war. We Sudanese remember because we are on the front lines fighting for Christianity every day.” Many Africans we encountered expressed their concern for American Christians. They could see how our denominations had become our “tribes.” They were saddened that we spend so much time arguing and debating each other, when an enemy is waging war against Christianity.
I think we often get into the trap of adding too much to the fundamental truths of Christianity (the non-negotiables, if you will). We make it easy on Satan; why does he need to come against us when we come against each other? My husband is currently mulling over a legitimate business idea, and his main concern with moving forward is the harsh and ugly responses we would most likely receive from – you guessed it – Christians.
This desire to see our fractured, self-focused churches compels me on two levels.
First, I try to intentionally focus on building community in my personal relationships. I try to be authentic and real as possible, ready to admit my faults and express my deepest desires. Now, I don’t usually dump all this information in a casual conversation or to fill the silence, but if you ask me about it or if I see an appropriate opportunity, I am willing to share.
Secondly, I have become increasingly involved in a local organization whose aim is to network churches together to reach the lost in our community. I love that this organization is not seeking to implement new programs on its own. Rather, it seeks to bring area pastors together, help them identify a need in their community they can meet together, and then make that plan a reality. The goal of the organization is to eventually step out of the process entirely as the churches take over.
Well now, that’s a whole lot of words – so I guess it is evident how strongly I feel about this topic. I’d love for you to continue to share your heart with me. Or to hear your thoughts on community. Or both.