Community is Messy

CommunityMessyTrue community is messy. Always. Everybody wants it, but so few are willing to sacrifice themselves for it, not realizing that it’s impossible to develop true community without self-sacrifice. It’s never comfortable, at least at first, to be vulnerable and authentic. To make things even messier, we can’t always choose those with whom we are in community. We all say that we want diversity, but usually mean that only as long as that diversity is the particular type we’re looking for.

So, we surround ourselves with people like us because it feels safe. The more homogenous our community, the less we have to worry about being uncomfortable. When people look like us, talk like us, think like us, and vote like us, we can create a portrait of “them” that will insulate us from having to deal with our own garbage. So, we look for people that are like us, whether by race, culture, age, life stage, socio-economics, politics, or gender. Churches too often cultivate and cater to these divides with a catered ministry and study Bible for every group we could ever dream up. Why? Because it’s easier. It’s more comfortable. It’s also dangerous to our souls.

What we too seldom realize is that surrounding ourselves only with people like ourselves, makes us more prone to cultivate idolatry than to be confronted by and saturated in the gospel; more prone to demonize others than to lovingly serve and minister to them. The church is an audacious work of God to knit a diverse people together in unity. This doesn’t mean we lose the distinctives of who we are. Rather, it means that our identity is not shaped primarily by the things that so often divide us because we share an ultimate identity in Jesus Christ. Through Him we are woven together into a tapestry that only increases in beauty with greater diversity in community.

Redemption Hill Church’s Community Groups are microcosms of the larger church, scattered throughout the city to engage on Jesus’ mission. Because of this, our Community Groups are built to welcome anyone, not being divided by race, class, or gender,[1] nor life stage or any other factor. We know that greater diversity in makes the already-messy pursuit of true community even messier, but we embrace that diversity as a beautiful outworking and expression of the gospel.

Community is messy. It takes self-sacrifice. And it’s totally worth it. Let's work hard to get over ourselves and our preferences, to lean in together in vulnerability and authenticity as we pursue Jesus together. May our churches show the beauty of gospel unity through our diversity, joined together on His mission.

 

[1] Galatians 3:27-29