In order to build community, there are 7 things that every Christian must believe. These beliefs will fuel the actions we take in community building.
What You Have to Believe to Build Community with Confidence
Building community is an incredibly important task for the Christian life. In community with other believers we are encouraged in holy living and our pursuit of Christ. It is also through our mutual love for one another that the world will know we are Christians (John 13:35).
So, if you want an attractive Christian witness and you want to pursue Christ without reservation, the healthiest way to do this is to develop real, lasting Christian community.
But, I would be lying if I gave you the “3 quick things you need to know to develop deep community” or the “3 easy ways to form lasting community” because, the truth is, there is nothing quick or easy about building community.
There are some foundations to Biblical community that need to be in place and, my personal opinion is, they need to start with the community builder — that’s you!
There are 7 things you, as the community builder, must believe in order to properly build Christian community.
For your convenience, I’ve put all of this (and the actions that flow out of these beliefs!) into our signature document which we are calling the Community Builder’s Creed. You can access that document and an entire course designed around this concept through the subscription box at the bottom of this post!
So, I won’t make you wait any longer.
The 7 things every community builder must believe:
1. God’s design for people is to live in community
In order to be someone who truly builds community, you must believe that God’s design is for people to live in community. We are not meant to live in isolation. We see this concept throughout Scripture as God creates marriage and family and a nation in the very first book of the Bible.
In Genesis, Adam sees his need of a companion like him (Genesis 2:20-22) and God provides for his need. Over and over we see this until finally, in the New Testament, we see God forming the church local and universal. We are meant to be in relationship with one another. It is only in those relationships, that we can really live out the commands of the Christian life (bear one another’s burdens, be hospitable, encourage one another, etc).
So, if you really want to be someone who fights your own isolation and loneliness and that of society, you have to believe wholeheartedly, even when it is messy and hard, that God’s design is for people to be in community.
2. Holiness is more important than comfort
Let’s be honest, being in community is hard sometimes. It is beautiful and refreshing and necessary but getting close to people will mean that they will see our imperfections and we will see theirs.
It will mean that we have to offer forgiveness and reconciliation and have hard conversations. It will mean loving one another enough to tell each other the truth. But none of that is comfortable.
And yet, the beautiful irony of the Christian life is that in living in Christian community, we experience the comfort of others who have endured similar trials and want to walk the road to holiness alongside us. We have those who will encourage us and push us to Christ which is indeed comforting.
And so the truth is, holiness is more important that being comfortable but, in our pursuit of holiness in community, we experience the comfort of other believers and the comfort of the Holy Spirit.
3. We were never meant to go through life alone
Similar to #1 – God’s design for people is to live in community. You and I, as image bearers, were never meant to go through life alone.
The Lord is the One who creates human relationship and He does this to showcase Himself. We see faint pictures in each of our human relationships of God and we come to understand Him better through these.
Our burdens are meant to be carried together (Galatians 6:2). Our joys are meant to be shared (Romans 12:15-16). We are supposed to stir one another on to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24-25). We are supposed to be discipling one another (Titus 2:2-8) and just genuinely enjoying each other because we were never meant to go through all this life throws at us alone.
In that context, our loneliness is addressed with people who genuinely love us. We may still struggle with feeling isolated but we will have people to turn to and people who will search us out.
4. Virtual relationships are not enough
It is tempting to live life on devices. It is easier that way. We can talk to people we agree with and block those we don’t.
We can spout our opinions and our “tribe” will come running to our defense but we never have to look those who disagree with us in the eye. We never have to sit across the dinner table from them and hear them out.
It is easy to start relying on virtual relationships because they erase, very momentarily, the sting of loneliness we feel, but they cannot do that ultimately.
See, real life doesn’t look like an Instagram feed. Children misbehave, we say things we regret, we are short tempered and skip Bible reading.
And, honestly, none of that really needs to make it to your social media. BUT you do need real people in your real life to give you a hug and tell you that all children do that. You need real friends who ask what you’ve been learning in Scripture and call you back when you wander. No one online can do that because no one online knows the real situation.
5. People are more important than convenience
If we are going to be effective community builders, we must remember that people are always more important than convenience.
It seems my life motto right now is “be willing to be inconvenienced.”
When my kids start nagging, I need to remember to “be willing to be inconvenienced.”
When a friend needs a shoulder to cry on and my to-do list sits unattended, I need to remember that people matter more than convenience and I need to “be willing to be inconvenienced.”
And I’m not the only one.
We all need to “be willing to be inconvenienced” because rarely will welcoming others be convenient. It will be messy and it will often come at a bad time but the thing is, God knew that, which is why He inspired the writing of these words:
“offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” (1 Peter 4:9)
It must be common to struggle with grumbling, like I often do.
And so it is critical for the community builder to believe that people are more important than convenience.
(If you are interested in getting a printable copy of this phrase, you can find it all pretty in the resource library — access by subscribing below)
6. Hospitality displays the character of God to the world
God is hospitable.
When He created humanity, God gave us an environment to grow and develop in.
When we messed it all up, God had a plan to make things better than they were before — He sent Christ, He is currently redeeming His people, and He is getting a place ready for us to live with Him forever.
He welcomes those who do not deserve welcome (that’s you and me!).
We see this all lived out in the life of Christ. He owned no property and yet He welcomed strangers constantly.
Christ’s kindness and generosity toward the unbelieving world was staggering as He ate meals and lived life with men and women. And, when the redeemed of the world are gathered to Him, He will be our host at a feast He has planned (Revelation 19). On that day we will understand God’s hospitality in the ultimate sense.
God is hospitable and our hospitality puts His character on display for the world to see.
7. Christ is at work in our feeble and failing efforts
As Spurgeon said, the whole Christian experience is, “all of grace.”
We will fail. We will get hospitality “wrong”. We will wish we said something differently or paid attention to that little detail or that we hadn’t burned the bread.
But the truth is, God is at work even in those efforts.
You and I can never be perfect but, by the grace of God, we can be hospitable.
When everything falls apart and the smoke alarm is going off and the kids are screaming and you just want to burst into tears, you can remember that this hospitality thing isn’t actually about you anyway.
Hospitality and entertaining are not the same thing.
The goal of hospitality is to display the character of God and to glorify Christ, as we’ve already talked about.
When things don’t go well, we can use even our imperfections to point to Jesus because the truth is, we will never be perfect but Christ is. He is the only One who offers perfect welcome and He is at work even as we offer our weak efforts at community building and fall flat on our faces. What a beautiful truth that is!
What we believe will dictate what we do
In order to be a builder of real, Biblical community, we need to believe these 7 things because they will fuel our actions. They will make us the gracious hosts we long to be and they will give our families, friends, and guests assurance that we genuinely care.
You were never meant to live life alone and you are called upon, as a Christian, to be a community builder.
But I think the best way to build community is with a community behind you encouraging you.
That being said, we have launched our first ever email course which is soon to be followed by 2 more. Each of these courses will be all about how to build community Biblically. Along with that, we launched our brand new Facebook group so that we, as community builders, can build up and encourage one another.
If you are interested in joining us for this journey, subscribe below and you will gain access to our first challenge – Fighting Isolation and Loneliness and Becoming a Confident Community Builder and the Facebook group. PLUS you will also gain access to a few freebies that will give you encouragement and help as you start this journey.
Ready to sign up? Subscribe now!
Want more information — everything you need to know is right here.