When did Christian community become obsolete?

3 people making cell phone calls simultaneousl...

Has technology really improved our ability to communicate with friends? Image by Wonderlane via Flickr

My best friend’s name is Steve. We’ve known each other since high school in the late 70’s.

How this fits into topics I’ve already covered has to do with what happened in our lives over a 12-month period a few years ago.

After the collapse of my marriage and the ensuing divorce Steve was there for me. He called me daily, sometimes multiple times each day, just to see how I was doing and to talk. I’ll forever be indebted to Steve for his persistent friendship.

About a year later Steve called to tell me that his wife had left him and filed for divorce. Now it was my turn (not that we were keeping score) to be there for him and encourage him.

Through all of this Steve and I have stayed in touch through phone calls and text messages. Even though we live in different states we’re able to connect via technology.

Our friendship isn’t a result of our separate divorces but it’s certainly grown through it.

Rocky Purvis, a pastor friend of mine at Northside Baptist Church in Columbia, SC, recently preached a series on what he calls the church’s DNA. Like our bodies, which are intricately woven with unique strands of DNA, within the DNA of the church are a series of strands that are essential to the life of any church. These strands of DNA include the following:

  • Biblical Teaching
  • Community
  • Prayer
  • Sacrificial Giving
  • Worship
  • Service
  • Evangelism

Of these, I believe that the need for community can’t be over-rated or over-stated. While I think every Christian would likely agree that the others on this list are all vital to a growing and vibrant church, sadly I think the idea of community has long-ago been tossed aside like an old 8-track player, only to be replaced by the technologically obsolete cassette.

Maybe that’s not an entirely accurate metaphor, but it gives the picture how some Christians view the idea of community: an obsolete idea that is borne from the pits of Hell itself and is one of Satan’s more valuable tools.

The writer of Hebrews suggests that the idea of ignoring our God-ordained responsibility for community isn’t something we just thought of, but is something that even the early church did. Notice what the writer says in Hebrews 10:25: “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” (Emphasis mine).

“As some people do.” What are we doing today to ignore God’s call for community? Are we so busy texting in church or ignoring the conversation with a friend at the grocery store to answer our cell phone that we’ve forgotten what it’s like to actually hold a face-to-face conversation with a live human being?

Could it be that the alienation epidemic and loneliness we suffer from is a direct result of our disobedience to God’s call for community?

This is the second is a series of blogs on the idea of Christian community. I’d love to read your thoughts on this or other posts here.

One thought on “When did Christian community become obsolete?

  1. Hey Todd
    Your blog is right on. I have become completely disgusted with most surburban church members. They have not been there for me on several occasions where I needed help. I have not lost my faith in God, but have been utterly disgusted with the mainstream church.

    Blessings on you and yours
    John wilder

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