Summary: Building a church community within our neighborhood
Becoming a Community Church
January 16, 2010
1Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves.
2Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification.
3For even (D)Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, "THE REPROACHES OF THOSE WHO REPROACHED YOU FELL ON ME."
4For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
In 1957 a group of Christians saw the need for a new community of believers on South Peninsula Drive. This forward thinking group of thinkers saw a community that was growing, and needed nurturing. That was over 50 years ago! Since that time, the congregation of South Peninsula Baptist has seen good times and bad, times of boom, and times of wandering in the wilderness. Today I want to take us in a journey of retrospection, self-inspection, and rectification.
The key word in our birth as a church was the word “Community”. We were in the beginning a community church, and should remain very much so today. If we are to reclaim the vision that captivated the founders of this community of believers, we must once again put the community back in our fellowship. To that end I’m going to share with you a series of sermons over the next 3 or 4 weeks designed to teach us how to build community. We *MUST* reach the needs of this community, and truly become not “just another Baptist church”, but a community church in spirit as well as deed.
Community is an extremely powerful word, and it will be emphasized over and over again over the next few weeks as we look at ourselves, and open our hearts up to God’s revelation. Community conveys a sense of belonging with people you have something in common with. Your community is a group of those people whom you care for, whom you value, and whom matter to you. We must become a community, unified in a common goal, if we want to fulfill Christ’s greatest commission and reach the people who live in our neighborhood.
I. We build our community by bearing one another’s burdens (v1)
"The law of Christ is the bearing of others burdens, the sharing of others griefs, sacrificing yourself for another.... This [is] the law of Christianity ... [and] of the saint. It is the only way to be saved. From the beginning it has always been so. A good way to test your love to God is by the way you treat your brother ... God is more concerned by my conduct toward my brother than by my prayers to him."
Paul tells in verse 1 that those of us who are strong must bear the burdens of those who are weaker. How we treat our neighbors says far more about our church than any piece of literature, any amount of advertising, and any amount of preaching.
Lessons From Geese
Fact 1: As each goose flaps its wings it creates an "uplift" for the birds that follow. By flying in a "V" formation, the whole flock adds 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew alone.
Lesson 1: People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.
Fact 2: When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of flying alone. It quickly moves back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird in front of it.
Lesson 2: If we have as much common sense as a goose, we stay in formation with those headed where we want to go. We are willing to accept their help and give our help to others.
Fact 3: When the lead goose tires, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies to the point position.
Lesson 3: It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership. As with geese, people are interdependent on each others’ skills, capabilities, and unique arrangements of gifts, talents, or resources.
Fact 4: Geese flying in formation honk to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.
Lesson 4: We need to make sure our honking is encouraging. In groups where there is encouragement, the production is much greater. The power of encouragement (to stand by one’s heart or core values and encourage the heart and core of others) is the quality of honking we seek.
Fact 5: When a goose gets sick, wounded, or shot down, two geese drop out of formation and follow it down to help protect it. They stay with it until it dies or is able to fly again. Then, they launch out with another formation or catch up with the flock.