By nature, mankind seeks out the company of others whether in cults, clubs or county fair. In the culture of North America, however, we are raised to be “independent”, to be your own man, to be your own woman. And during the 80’s there developed the “me society” with its self-help books and self-service gas stations, etc. So, what is the difference between “Church” and any other “club”? And how does one encourage the North American to actually engage someone else on any meaningful, emotional level?
By definition, members of the Church are “called out” from the World; those that admit to their brokenness, repent of their sinfulness, accept Christ’s death on the Cross in their stead and live in right relationship with a Just and Holy God. They are spiritually transformed, “born again”, indwelt by the Spirit of God and placed “in Christ”. This inward work is evidenced in their outward lives: freedom from the bondage of addictions, from a life of self-centeredness, from a self-destructive lifestyle to a freedom to think of others first, a freedom to serve others and a freedom to share one’s time, treasures and talents for the benefit of others.
This new life “in Christ” has personal benefits; but, is only fully realized when one is in true Community (koinania) with fellow believers. This gathering is more that just having a common core of beliefs, meeting at a common location and just going through a set of rituals. Authentic Community is a place where the Universal Church intersects with the Local Church. It is a people where human relationships are spiritually transformed by the Holy Spirit, a manifestation of the presence and ministry of the Spirit of God. It is a Church where the fruit of the Spirit, particularly Agape love, is experienced and the “one another” statements are naturally expressed. An Authentic Community is a living, vibrant organism characterized by Joyous Generosity, Generational Discipleship and Purposeful Multiplication.
Authentic Community is a Core Value for Pine Hills Church because the Scriptures command it, Jesus calls for it and the Spirit draws individual believers to Community. It is in and through Community that the Gospel is manifested, modeled, and the message is proclaimed to a broken and lost world.
- Jn. 15: 1 – 8
- 1 Cor. 12: 12 – 26
- James 5: 13 – 16
- Heb. 10:25