Below are some additional interactions on the article: Community: The Anti-Alone. Read it first.
Here is a look at the definition, distinction, and history of the word Community. Consider how that plays into God’s plan for you and all people to find a place of love, support, and completion within his community of the Body of Christ.
Etymology and definition of the term “community”
The word has been in the English language since 14c., comes from Latin; became established in English in a range of senses:
- the commons or common people, as distinguished from those of rank;
- a state of organized society, in its later uses relatively small;
- the people of a district;
- the quality of holding something in common, as in community of interests, community of goods;
- a sense of common identity and characteristics.
Senses 1-3 indicate actual social groups.
Senses 4-5 indicate a particular quality of relationship.
Community versus Society
Community versus Formal Organization
Community (from 17c.) was felt to be more immediate than society. An attempt to distinguish the body of direct relationships from the organized establishment of the state. From 19c. the sense of immediacy or locality was strongly developed in the context of larger and more complex industrial societies. It has been joined by commune (French) and Gemeinde or Gemeinshaft (German) to express particular kind of relationships.
The contrast, increasingly expressed in the 19th century, between the:
• more direct • more formal
• more total and the • more abstract
• more significant • more instrumental
relationships of community relationships of society
Community was influentially formalized by Tonnies (1887) as a contrast between Gemeinshaft (community) and Gesellshaft (society).
“Community” has been “the warmly persuasive word to describe an existing set of relationships; or the warmly persuasive word to describe an alternative set of relationships.” It seems never to be used unfavorably and never to be given any positive opposing or distinguishing term.
Complexity of the term “community”: Relates to the difficult interaction between the tendencies originally distinguished in the historical development: on the one hand, the sense of direct common concern; on the other hand – the materialization of various forms of common organization.
“Let us be concerned for one another, to help one another to show love and to do good.” Hebrews 10:24 Look for community like this!
— Rezilient Life (@RezilientLife) May 22, 2013
Check out this quiz, which will help you figure out your spiritual gifts! Now remember to answer the questions as you are and not as you wish you were. Hopefully this will help you pinpoint some of the gifts God gave you so that you can build them up and use them to help others. One of the best places to develop your spiritual gifts is in a community of believers – youth group, small group, church, family, etc. God blessed you with these specific skills because he wants you to help others grow closer to him. Isn’t that cool? We were all created with certain natural abilities that are meant to help others grow! I encourage you to take these results and talk them over with a trusted adult like your leader, chaplain, or parent.
It was he who “gave gifts to people”; he appointed some to be apostles, others to be prophets, others to be evangelists, others to be pastors and teachers. He did this to prepare all God’s people for the work of Christian service, in order to build up the body of Christ.
Proverbs 27:17—In community we learn more about ourselves and the world around us.
1 Corinthians 15:33—Community is an amazing blessing but not all communities you may find yourself in are good. How is each community affecting you?
Ephesians 4:25–30—We know we need to seek out good community, but what does that look like and how do we need to act in community?
Romans 12:3–13—Here Paul talks about how as a community of believers each of us has different gifts that we can use to strengthen one another.
Ephesians 4:11–13—Paul again talks here about how we strengthen one another.
1 Corinthians 12:14–20—A body is like community; it is made up of lots of parts, but it is still a whole unit that relies on the other parts.
Small group guide:
Though this video is used for a company’s training, it speaks to our own lives as well. Consider Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 as you watch
“Two are better off than one, because together they can work more effectively. If one of them falls down, the other can help him up. But if someone is alone and falls, it’s just too bad, because there is no one to help him. If it is cold, two can sleep together and stay warm, but how can you keep warm by yourself. Two people can resist an attack that would defeat one person alone. A rope made of three cords is hard to break.”
Large group guide:
- Look at your life in the past. What are different things that have kept you from trusting? Write down 3 things that can you do to initiate good community.
- Make a list of five things you look for in a good community. Are those things apparent in your own life? Keep the list and come back to it each day this week. Ask God to help you find these things and show these things in your own life.
- Make sure to appreciate the good communities that you have been a part of in the past. Was there one person who made it particularly good? If so, what did they do? Can you find a way to thank them or appreciate them? (send an email; write a letter; send a small gift; take them to lunch. Be creative, but show them you’re thankful) and remember to thank God for providing that community and bringing that specific person into your life.
Do you remember the Disney movie Cinderella? There is a part where the group of mice decides to help Cinderella’s deepest dream of going to the ball a possibility by making sure that she has a dress acceptable to wear to the palace. Each mouse by themselves is completely unable to climb up the mannequin, drape fabric, cut and sew this elaborate gown, but when they work together (and sing as they work) they are able to create a beautiful dress and help their friend. (Warning: they sing as they work!)
Consider how God has created you to be part of the community of Christ. He doesn’t want us to struggle and attempt to lift things completely beyond our scope. He intended for us to have others to help us, and for you to be there to help others. Think of how you make yourself available to the people in your life who need help, and think of how you respond when others offer you a hand. Ask God to lead you and reveal his intentions for you and your community. He loves you and wants you to succeed and knows that community is a huge part of that.
1 Corinthians 12:25–27
And so there is no division in the body, but all its different parts have the same concern for one another. If one part of the body suffers, all the other parts suffer with it; if one part is praised, all the other parts share its happiness. All of you are Christ’s body, and each one is a part of it.
Take a look at these funny commercials for a bus company—the message is the same whether you are dealing with life or transportation: