This sponsored post was prepared by Dustin Willis
A solitary faith is not a Christian faith.
Lose the Lone-Ranger Mentality
While our culture may place high value on independence and individualism, the truth of the matter is that we need one another to carry out the mission of God. A foundational truth for everyday missionaries is understanding their biblical calling to be anchored to group of believers to whom they confess, with whom they repent, celebrate, live in faith, and are daily sent out on mission.
Often it’s difficult for some to understand the necessity of community. “Why can’t it just be me and Jesus?” we think, dreaming of toting our Bible and riding off into the sunset on some “lone-ranger” mission to save the world.
The problem is, we can’t choose Jesus and not choose the church. They’re a package deal. That’s because God never intended for us to live out the Christian life alone.
Church = A Family United in Heart and Purpose
The church is designed as a place for God’s children to function as a family, united in heart and purpose.
For many, that means meeting once a week to sing songs and listen to a sermon surrounded by people they don’t really know. Yes, meeting as a body is certainly one of the valid expressions of church and one that we should be consistently involved in, but going to a service once a week is not walking in biblical community.
Biblical community is the group of believers with whom we walk through the good, the bad, and the ugly of life while digging deeper into the gospel together. It is built upon committed, authentic, and caring relationships that urge one another toward Jesus and His mission.
It’s where we can be honest and transparent about our struggles with sin. (see James 5:16)
It’s where we gracefully confront sin in other believers and humbly accept correction brought by others. (see Gal. 6:1-2)
It’s where we willingly sacrifice in order to help others carry their burdens. (see Gal. 6:2)
It’s where we celebrate and see the value of God’s unique giftedness and life experiences within each individual. (see Rom. 12: 6-8)
It’s where we practice hospitality that nurtures relationships. (see Heb. 13:2)
Making Room For Others
Perhaps the best thing about biblical community is the way God designed it to stretch and increase, always making room for those seeking a place to join and grow alongside other believers.
When my wife, Renie and I moved to Atlanta we soon realized what an incredible mission field our neighborhood represented. We began to regularly invite our neighbors, plus families in our church community group to cook-outs in our front yard.
It’s turned out to be a blessing for several reasons. First, it encourages members of our biblical community to engage with their neighbors. Secondly, it facilitates connection between our neighbors and our community group that might not ordinarily happen. Finally—and most importantly, it gives our community group an opportunity to put the gospel on display. Our intentionality in loving one another through biblical community plays a vital part in living out our everyday mission.
Strengthening Your Commitment to Biblical Community
Walking in community together helps us grow in our understanding of the cross and that is where unity is made possible and where biblical community can truly flourish.
Take a few minutes to list the people you are or should be living out the gospel with. Then, spend some time praying about the next steps you should take in strengthening your commitment to biblical community.
Life on mission is simply an overflow of living a cross-centered (gospel-centered) life, and living in biblical community is foundational to growing in the gospel.
Dustin Willis is the co-author of Life on Mission: Joining the Everyday Mission of God. A resident of metro Atlanta, he currently serves as the Coordinator of the Send Network and the Send North America Conference. A popular speaker across North America, Dustin is a regular contributor at sendnetwork.com, and blogs at dustinwillis.com. His new book, Life in Community: Joining Together to Display the Gospel (Moody Publishers) will be available on August 4, 2015.