Summary: The building blocks of a community...

Becoming a Community Pt. 2

I used to have these books for teen small groups that would give you discussion starter questions. These were questions that ranged from silly to serious and were designed to get your thoughts going and to encourage dialogue in our group. I remember there was one question that seemed to pop up over and over again. There would be slight variations but it was basically the desert island question. If you were stranded on a deserted island, what would you take with you or who would want to be stuck with or something to that effect. This would always make for some good conversation and the kids could be really creative with their answers. You always had the kid who would look up at his girlfriend with those puppy dog eyes and say that he would take her. The rest of us are gagging. Then there was the one who would always give you the Sunday School answer. I would take my Bible. That’s a great answer! Everyone knows that he’s lying through his teeth but if it was sincere it would be a great answer. We had some fun with those questions. Over the years, there have been a lot of stories, jokes, movies and televisions shows centered on this idea of being stranded on a deserted island.

Of all the stories, none have even come close to the gripping drama of Gilligan’s Island. By the time I was watching it, it was in re-runs but it would come on right after the Brady Bunch and my brother and sisters and I would sit and watch the adventures of this unfortunate group who had only wanted a three hour tour. What made the show so funny was the unique and different personalities of each of the castaways. The Skipper was smart and fearless, he knew how to take charge and lead the group. The Howells were filthy rich and they knew how to handle anything that required a knack for business and administration. Mary-Ann was the comforter and encourager, always ready with a coconut pie for whoever was feeling down. The professor was better than McGyver. He could figure out a way to fix any problem, other than the fact that they were stuck, with one of his incredible inventions. Ginger could act and she could get them out of whatever jam they were in with whoever was visiting the island at the time. And Gilligan was the one with the servant’s heart. He would do anything for anyone and usually mess it up but it was always done with a great heart. It was a great show. It was also a great picture of a community. They survived because they each complimented each others strengths. They worked together and because of that, they were able to handle whatever each new episode challenged them with. I was watching a rerun this week and it struck me that they provided for each other, all of the benefits that we talked about last week as we began to look at becoming a community. They each had a sense of belonging, that their gifts and talents were important. They each felt that sense of support that the others provided, their lives were intertwined together. When Gilligan got upset and felt unloved, he moved into a cave by himself on the other side of the island. He quickly realized that he couldn’t survive without the support of the others. He had lost the third benefit, that sense of wholeness that comes through community. He knew that he needed the rest of the group and that together they could accomplish things that he could never do alone. It’s a picture of community. A group of people, maintaining their individuality and uniqueness but coming together as one to live life together and move towards one goal, in their case, to get off the island, in our case, to advance the Kingdom of God here on Earth. We could learn a lot from this group.

This is the kind of community and togetherness that we see in the early church and this is what we can see in this place. But how does it begin. We already talked about the benefits of community last week, and next week we’ll look at some of the barriers, but this morning, I want to look at the building blocks. Last week we defined community as: A unified body of individuals with common character and common interests, who share joint ownership and participation in something.

The early church fit this definition but what was it that really made them a community. Acts 2:44 tells us the two essential ingredients to building community, two things that were the foundation of the development of community in this Acts 2 church. Now, as we seek to build community here, we can’t overlook God’s role, He will work to convict and to change us, to call us to action and to ministry. He will be the one that blesses our efforts and works in and through us. In the early church that was clear, God added to their numbers, God was the agent of change and growth but those things won’t happen here until we change and we decide that this is something that’s worth working towards. Look at Acts 2:44 All the believers were together and had everything in common.

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