We continue our blog series on The Fellowship’s Core Values. Recently we’ve heard from Donna Marsh about our Jesus Shaped Identity, Jim Singleton wrote about Biblical Integrity, and Jerry Andrews shared with us about Thoughtful Theology. I wrote about community this past summer and the messiness that it can bring. But, the bottom line is that community matters. Living our faith in and through community matters. Being willing to be vulnerable, accountable and to work through the hard things is the stuff that REAL community is made of. Our value says that in Accountable Community, we believe guidance is a corporate spiritual experience. We want to connect leaders to one another in healthy relationships of accountability, synergy, and care.
Healthy, accountable and caring community means a willingness to enter into the mess of one another’s lives and point each other to Jesus. It means leaving our comfort zone of just sticking with those who are exactly like me and those who would never challenge my views or challenge my behavior. Of course, these things don’t happen overnight, and true community only happens when trust and unconditional love is a high value. But I would venture to say that my best relationships are those where I am with people who see the world very differently from me and love me so deeply that even when they challenge me, I know I am safe.
Take the time to read the blog from this past summer. How do Bonhoeffer’s words resonate with you as you consider the value of community in your own life and ministry?
COMMUNITY IN VARIOUS PLACES
I have heard the word ‘community’ my entire life. And when I hear the word, it conjures up all sorts of images in my mind. I think of community in terms of the place that I live and the people that live alongside me – the people who my family interacts with at school and the grocery store and on the Little League field. I think of it in terms of the city I live in and the complexities of my Houston community with its 4+ million inhabitants from all over the world. I think of it in terms of geography and the place on the map that my family is a part of.
And then there’s the community that I belong to because of my ethnicity. I am an Asian American, married to an Asian American. Our ethnic identity has defined much of our community growing up. Our families were predominately Chinese and therefore our social circles were predominantly Asian. And of course, add to it the community we establish because we are related to one another and we have our family community.
But mostly when I think of community, I think of the places of faith we have been a part of. And, over the past twenty years, when I think of my faith community, I think of my church. Here is where some of our closest and best friends have been found. Here is where we baptized our one-year-old son in the presence of a congregation who promised to help raise him in the faith with us… read the rest of the blog post.