There are certain things in life we struggle with when balancing what we’d like to do and what we do. When it comes to community it’s fair to say that most would opt for immersion over solitude. There’s real power and excitement when a group of people pursue the same things.
The problem is getting there.
When it comes to church community the buzzword we tend to use–missional communities–has meaning that both provides some clues for both identity of community and direction on how to achieve it.
The thing with missional communities is that one (or both) of two things are core to its existence. A group of people, say between 20-120, are united and invested in: one particular neighborhood, and/or a network of relationships.
If you don’t strongly participate in either you lack the very foundation of developing and replicating community. Missional communities are incarnate expressions of the church lived out in community. You can hardly accomplish this in a small group that meets twice a month or by going to church once a week (and no, increasing attendance isn’t the solution either). It also rarely happens when operating alone (I would say ‘never happens’ but that’s probably not a rule).
This accentuates the importance of proximity. How would our communities as a whole, and our church communities specifically, be impacted if members sought to immerse within a specific geographic area while living in that area? Ideally the existence of Calgary Church is predicated on the notion that many small churches will crop up in neighborhoods across this city. In the meantime the realities are that many operate alone throughout the city.
But proximity takes a backseat to what–or more specifically who–we pursue.
Most are trying to figure out the importance of adjusting towards God’s plan to rescue and redeem creation, learning how that plays out beyond themselves. This pursuit brings up an important question: how are you adjusting your life in pursuit of a community that pursues Jesus?
Where and to whom are you investing your life? Who do you share deep relationships with? What activity do you have in your neighborhood for your neighborhood? What choices are you making to make a desire for community a reality?
The answer in the least includes love. How are you loving God, how are you loving those in your church, and how are you loving others? It just so happens proximity/deeper relationships with others on the same pursuit are crucial and necessary components to this equation.