You must abandon your preconceived notions about community.
“To enter into true community, our ideal community must be surrendered.” – “Called Together: A Guide to Forming Missional Communities.” When we think of forming a community, our rose-colored glasses picture a place where everyone gets along, and conflict is absent. While this lack of discord would be lovely, it is unrealistic. As long as we live on this side of heaven, sin will always disrupt the community. Conflict, tension, and disagreements in our relationships do not surprise God in fact, these moments afford, Him the opportunity to point us back to the grace and forgiveness offered through Christ. We should expect even welcome imperfection, as grace moments.
You must embrace imperfection
Remember putting your face above a headless frame painted to represent a muscle man, a clown, or even a bathing beauty? Many of us have had our pictures taken this way, and the photos are humorous because the head doesn’t fit the body. If we could picture Christ as the head of our local body of believers, would the world laugh at the misfit? Or would they stand in awe of a human body so closely related to a divine head? – Dan Bernard.
When we stop and look at the parish, this statement seems fitting. We have the perfect head of Christ on the imperfect body of the church. It seems odd to be a community who carries out our mission and make a kingdom difference we must embrace this imperfection. Believers live with the anxieties this absence of perfection brings. The church’s deficiencies allow for the unbelieving world to see a transparent organization that unlike many organization give and receive grace. Members of this flawed community by God’s grace forgive one another and receive forgiveness all under the work of our head Jesus Christ.
You must embrace brokenness.
So, every single one of you who judge others is without any excuse. You condemn yourself when you judge another person because the one who is judging is doing the same things. Romans 2:1
When I was a parish pastor, I devoted most of my time with church folks. Which is positive but you can get a little too comfortable in that setting and forget there are other people around you whose lives may be less neat and tidy. Not implying that church folks don’t have their issues because we do, which is the point that Paul establishes in the verse above. It is a caution for Christians not to get too high and holy and become judge and jury when we, in fact, are suffering from the same sin condition. To be a part of a transformational community means we embrace brokenness. We are all broken, we all fall short of the standards of God. In a Christian community, we point each other back to the forgiveness of the cross.
Next week: “What is the Leadership structure in Missional Communities?”
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