God has recently been impressing upon me that Christian community is so much more than Christians being together and having good, clean Christian fun (in the name of Jesus, of course.) that’s definitely part of it, and it’s a part that i think believers have just about perfected.
BUT Christian community has to be something that non-Christians can’t do. not so believers can take pride in the exclusivity of it, but because they are to grow “into the fullness of Christ” and “spur one another on to good works.” our unity comes from the Holy Spirit, not just from our similar interests.
if the extent of my Christian fellowship can be fully experienced by a non-Christian, it isn’t the fulfillment of Christian fellowship. we have to be intentional about this. getting lazy in this arena is what leads to cliques within the church, Christian bubbles that lose perspective on the lost world around them and stagnate Christians who think they’re participating fully in community/fellowship but are really just staying out of trouble.
a true biblical perspective on fellowship and community won’t allow us to think we can only hang out with people just like us. a passion for Christ and His Church is evidenced by a willingness to get to know people that aren’t in our demographic, people who don’t DVR the same shows as us, people who are too old to know what DVR is, people who aren’t yet married, people who are formerly married, people whose family tree isn’t rooted in north america, people that we wouldn’t have eaten lunch with in high school, etc.
if we allow consumerism to drive our fellowship, we only perpetuate the idea that church is about us and what we can get out of it, taking what we like and avoiding what we don’t. i’m pretty sure heaven isn’t segregated.
that’s not to say that Bible studies and groups formed around affinities and demographics have no place in the church. but if you allow yourself to develop the attitude that you don’t need/want to be around people who are not like you… red flag!
i’ve said it before and i’ll say it again: the Holy Spirit can’t not get along with Himself. if you refuse to pursue diversity in the church, you’re not walking by the Spirit.
as usual, i don’t speak as someone who has mastered this, but i recognize the need for it in my life. and church, i hope you do, too.