Leaders Promote Community
Human beings where made to be in community – a relationship with their Creator and their fellow creatures.
We were not made to be alone. From the beginning of time, God instituted this reality when he said “its not good that the man should be alone.” [Genesis 2:18] So, He created woman for the man, and they were to meet the need for companionship and fellowship with one another. They were to multiply and spread that abroad. Since then, cultures have built their entire society around community. Only in the last fifty years have we moved away from the concept. Western culture has seen a huge shift in its way of living – moving to a more metropolitan way of life.
However, we have begun in the last ten years to see resurgence in the idea of our need for community. There has been something missing in our lives. We feel it. We miss it. We even long for it, though we are uncertain how to develop and maintain.
Even though the culture has moved away or lost its bearing on how to maintain community, this in no way permits the community of believers to move away from that which is biblical and necessary. Just a casual reading of the New Testament gives major hints to the need of believers structuring their lives around community with other believers – the local church.
But where do leaders come into the picture?
What is their role in promoting community?
Do they hold responsibility for its continuance?
We know the apostle Paul didn’t just speak about community. He built and fostered it. He took leadership. He was called to it. He established local churches [Acts]. He equipped pastors and lay leaders to continue building community and strengthen existing local churches [Timothy].
Biblical community is good because it promotes accountability, encouragement, and most importantly growth in the grace and knowledge of Christ. It plays a major roll in our sanctification. Through the local body [community], we can be equipped and coalesce to spread the glorious Gospel of Jesus and fulfill the great commission [Matthew 28].
Leaders are not just a peripheral idea when it comes to the picture of community. They are the ones who are called to maintain, foster, and grow [not just numerically] the understanding, desire, and passion for its need. I believe that biblical and effective community rises and falls on leadership [read 1Timothy & 2 Timothy]. This is why scripture lays out clearly the qualifications of the elder/pastor because he is the one primarily responsible for the community’s vitality and continuance [1 Timothy 3:1-13, Titus 1:5-16]. He is the one who communicates and implements the biblical vision that every local church needs. He leads. That’s what he is called to do.
What about the average laymen?
Are we responsible in any way?
It’s quite simple really. No profound exposition needed. Support your leaders and take initiative in the vision they are communicating and seeking to implement [Hebrews 13:7&17-18]. Live and proclaim the gospel. Encourage others in the community to do so. Be the leader that leads from within. Come along side your brothers and sisters in a holy huddle and say, “let’s do this thing!” If you find yourself under leadership that is not doing its job, then prayerfully and humbly approach them. Work through it. If there is no recourse, then prayerfully seek biblical leadership elsewhere.
All of this may not be easy. Nothing good achieved was done with ease. But it’s scriptural. It’s right. You are called to this – layman and pastor alike – in your own and specific God ordained way.
Be not moved away,