Rethinking Community

Our generation is blessed with an ability which no prior generation has known. We are able to communicate with virtually anyone we know or want to know within seconds. The effort and thought that prior generations had to go through to communicate with someone have been passed to the way side by Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and iMessage. We know if the person has read our message, we can see their face from a thousand miles away, and we can sense their emotions in ways that were never thought of before. But does the distance between our closeness create a void which grows in meaning and significance? Does the lack of physical closeness breed some type of absence which is necessary for healthy community?

What does it mean to live in community with others? How do we live in community with those who are pursuing a relationship with Jesus, and impact a world that is pursuing pleasure, self reliance, status, promotion, and fame? How do we live different? Do we live different? I overheard one of my roommates talking on the phone and he told his friend that, “We just have to love God and love people.” How do we truly love God? Is it not through surrender that we love God, through worship and communion with Him? What is the church, does it only meet on Sunday mornings? Does it only meet in a building? Do there have to be hundreds or thousands of people in attendance?

Why do I lead with so many questions? Because honestly I am at a place in life that has more questions than it has answers. The places I thought I would be and the person I thought I would become seems like it is constantly running away from where I am now. Each step I take toward what I believe is as if the belief takes two steps further down the path. I thought I knew so many answers, but I’m finding that I mostly just have questions.

I have found more community and growth in conversations with one or two people at a time this week, than in countless services and group events that were centered toward hearing and receiving the word of God from a pastor on a stage. Why did I stop attending a building to find God? Why did I reschedule my Church attendance to Saturday nights and evenings after work at coffee shops and living rooms? Is it perhaps that I needed to experience the isolation and searching of so many in my generation who are longing for the place of belonging without ever finding it? We can live or life in the normal, pursuing God in the box and mold of society, but in that process we may miss out on the pain and abandonment which so many around us are experiencing.

Years ago I heard in a class that, the local church is the hope of the world. I still believe this, but I also heard someone last week in Tulsa, Oklahoma say that they were going to a new church plant meeting here in Tulsa. We do not need any more physical church buildings in Tulsa. Honestly we have too many churches. It’s like the hope of seminary in Tulsa has become, to start a church in Tulsa so we can develop more curriculum for why church plants fail. Stop opening buildings to house the church, there are enough buildings, worship God in your life wherever you are, dive into conversations about the things of God with the people you know, be an example of Godliness and purity to those at your workplace and in your family, and pray that God would answer the questions in the hearts of a generation which does not truly know what silence sounds like.

I am a millennial trying to understand the theology of Generation X’ers, that is preached to the iGeneration. If ever there was a time where Followers of Christ could be confused by the actions of the church it is now. I desire to know God, to love Jesus, and to somehow communicate the truth of Gods love for a hurting and dying world.



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