I’ve been thinking about the concept of community lately. In its essence, community exists because of a commonality between people. Here in Norborne, we have the farming community, the school community, the church communities, the Lions Club community, the Norborne Interested Citizens community, the Norborne Betterment community, and the list goes on. None of these communities are completely separate from each other. Members of any of these groups are often members of a second, third, fourth, or fifth group as well.
Put together, people from the outside can see what kind of town Norborne is by these sub-communities. People look at what the town “does” to determine what the town is about. So on the surface, if one looks at these sub-communities in Norborne, one can easily see a proud town that wants the world to see how great it is. We have the Betterment group, the Interested Citizens group, the Garden club, and a few others which are dedicated to showing that Norborne has something to offer people.
In the same way, a church will be known for what it does. The church is a community of its own. The church exists because of a common belief and acceptance of Jesus as both Savior and Lord. The church has the gospel at its center – “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:3b-4). Our community exists because we share this great central belief.
So how does the outside world, the people not in the church, determine what kind of community we are? They examine what we do. So…what do we do?
It is as much an individual question as it is a group question. The individual cannot be separated from the group and vice versa.
These are some questions we should be asking ourselves daily:
- Am I living a life that puts the gospel front and center?
- Do I live each day understanding that I deserve death because of sin but have been graciously granted life through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus?
- Do I demonstrate by my actions that I am a sinner redeemed by the grace of God?
- Do I exhibit the characteristics of a life in progress that says I am not who I once was but I am not yet who God has created me to be?
- Am I desperate for God to move in my life?
- Do the people around me know that I have been redeemed by God and am trying to live a life pleasing in his sight?
Here’s a list of questions the church should be asking itself as well:
- What are we doing that demonstrates that we love God?
- What are we doing that demonstrates that we love others?
- Do we design and implement ministries and programs to meet the needs of the church, the community, or both?
- What does the Norborne community think about the church and why do they think it?
- Do we demonstrate by our actions that God is gracious and merciful?
- Are we exhibiting that the answer to all of the problems we face in this life is a restored relationship with God the Father through God the Son in the power of God the Holy Spirit?
Just food for thought.