What Has Happened to Community?

The question needs to be asked. What is Biblical community? It is on the lips of Christians of all brands and stripes, but yet very seldom understood. Community, by modern definition focuses more on the individual child of God than on God Himself.Another way of putting it is that secular humanism has invaded the 21st century church.

Before we look more closely at this topic. Let me ask you, where do most of your prayers focus? On your needs or on the needs of others? Why do you go to church? To get a blessing or to be a blessing? Why do you serve God? To build your "self-esteem" or to strengthen others?

If you chose one of the answers above, you've been infected with humanism. The only reason we should pray is for God. The only reason we should go to church is for God. The only reason we should serve is for God. Unless we are one in and with Him, we can not experience true community. Let me explain.

There is so much talk today about community--living in oneness and unity, in one accord as the New Testament Church did. Having fellowship with one another seems to be the emphasis in so many churches today, but true community is found only in communing with God.

I am presently reading a book entitled Talk Less Pray More by Matthew Skariah.He quotes Jim Cambala in regard to the true meaning of church meetings. "Recently, I was discussing the need of our churches to return to simple prayer with a leading pastor of a large church in the area of the country where super churches abound.He told me that in his entire area, the prayer meeting was virtually extinct and mere lip service was being paid to the power of prayer.He honestly confessed that time was made for visiting speakers who will help mature us, gospel concerts, youth nights, fellowship nights, etc., but no prominent place at all given to the church collectively to seek God with all their hearts. He, very perceptively, and yet ashamedly, pointed out that he knew the main reason why most churches (including his own) did not schedule and advertise a true prayer meeting! Why? Because it would never draw the crowd and the turn out would be so pitiful! How could those embarrassed pastors explain their large auditoriums being mostly empty on prayer meeting night as a handful of hungry souls waited on God, when the very night before many hundreds had attended a gospel concert or heard a famous Christian speak."

Think about it. This may describe your church--mega-church or not. We all want the fuzzy, feel good emotion of Christianity without paying the price. We are all about fellowship, programs, and methods to bring people in and keep them entertained. Since when has the purpose of church become that of entertainment? People want to talk about community, but community is nothing unless we commune around God Himself.

Yes, that fuzzy, feel good emotion has replaced the holy ground of the burning bush. We have traded the power of God for the programs of men. We would rather please carnal men than please the holy God of Heaven. My friend, something is wrong. Change has to start somewhere. It may as well be with you.

Jesus said of the Laodicean church in Revelation 3:16, 17 "So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:" This is a true description of the 21st century church. We are so far away from true worship, but yet we are content to stay there, unmoved by the hand of God as He stands at the door of His own church and knocks (Revelation 3:20).

Mr. Skariah continues, "Where is the soul travail of yester years, the broken heart, the sleepless nights, the agony and tears, the awful conviction of sin,and the profound sense of godliness?"

When was the last time you spent a sleepless night in prayer?--no, not praying for God to intervene in a personal difficult situation, but just seeking the face of God, desiring Him and Him alone. When was the last time your heart was broken over your putrid sin? When was the last time you shed a tear for the lost?--no, not your husband or wife, son or daughter, but for those of a different race, a different color--for those that have never heard the Truth of the Gospel of Christ.. When was the last time you fell on your face in utter brokenness before God, helpless in your own might to do anything of lasting significance? When was the last time you cared enough to allow God to change you from the inside out?

I can hear someone say, "You're judging!" I am not judging. I have no idea where you are at in your walk with God. I am simply bringing the truth of Scripture to bear on your life--and if the show fits...well, you know what to do!

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Comments 9 comments

shofarcall profile image

shofarcall 3 years ago

Hi Bill, I have voted this hub up, awesome and useful.

When we talk of Biblical community, a few images spring to mind for me.

Firstly, the early "church"....the distinct impression that I receive from reading scripture, is that they were truly a "community in Messiah/Christ" i.e. they lived together as a community, with Christ as the head of their community. They shared their burdens with one another, and prayed together, daily, concerning one anothers burdens and to glorify and lift up the name of Yeshua. They all participated and when gifts of the Spirit manifested amongst them it was shared with the community and not suppressed by someone who was "in charge" over them. It was not a 1 morning, once a week, gathering. It was 24/7. Paul wrote to these communities regularly to encourage them in their struggles, of which there were many and occasionally visited or sent one of his own emissaries, who were also servants of Christ. This community cared for one another on many different levels. Their relationship with Christ was not neglected on a daily basis, unlike todays "faithful." Probably, the closest we would get to similar devotion etc would be to look at the persecuted church today, China being a prime example.

I agree completely regarding true community can only be found in communing with Christ. I have seen i.e. witnessed, again and again when "fellowship" is taking place and someones ego or opinion gets in the way and you can feel the atmosphere change, that when it is suggested that rather than dispute, we pray about it, together, take it to the feet of Jesus, that all disharmony melts away and a true blessing comes from that prayer time when it inevitably leads away from whatever the disagreement was about anyway.

And then of course, there is our own personal relationship with the Lord, which comes before anything else. Communing with Him. Trusting Him rather than man to supply answers to the questions we need answered.

Yes, prayer meetings are not that popular any longer in churches for all the reasons you gave in your hub. Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on our souls.

Sorry for length of this Bill. God Bless.


shofarcall profile image

shofarcall 3 years ago

Hello Bill,

Hope you don't mind me coming back again! Praise God that I can add that it was less than a week ago that my heart was broken over "my putrid sin" and that I could go to my Lord and repent with my heart aching for having grieved Him. The Lord has given me a heart and burden for the persecuted and I shed tears regularly for my bothers and sisters. And of course, the lost is a huge grievance but there is also so much going astray even amongst the elect.

I fail to understand why there has been so little response to this hub of yours. God Bless.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Glad to see you stop by. I don't mind you coming back as many times as you want to. I can only speak for America, but the churches here don't come close to the New Testament model and I know our church needs some work in this area. America is so spiritually cold it's frightening. God is still on the throne and able to change cold hearts into burning flames for Him. When that happens there will be true community again. Thanks for taking the time to read and commenting.


Michael Adams1959 profile image

Michael Adams1959 3 years ago from Wherever God leads us.

On praying: I believe that society looks at prayer as something done by weak people thinking they need something miraculous to happen just so they can cope with day to day life. That talking to "a god" makes us feel better. Society has taken all the qualities of prayer away from our public essence as Christians. society wants to see ourselves as our own "gods" I could quote every book in our KJV Bible about sovereign prayer to a Holy Sovereign God. Society is partially right on our dependence on our true God, we do need him every day, not because we are "weak" but because through him we find strength, courage, wisdom and more.

On community, I chose to replace community with the word "local" that is the true church the local church. We gather there to share our experiences of the past week serving God. That is what the Apostles and the 120 disciples did in the book of Acts. They gathered to testify of their past week or however many days in between meetings. If we are to be a true New Testament Church then we are to be out in the local area sharing Jesus Christ. We are not to be shut up in a building never letting our voices be heard outside of that building.

On fellowship: Boy where to start. First of all with all our programs, seminars and feminars we get so wrapped up in what can we do inside our building to bring our people together? Light has NO fellowship with darkness...PERIOD. Those not saved cannot have fellowship with those saved by the precious blood of Christ Jesus. Only we as Christians have fellowship one to another. That is why we are to be out in the streets and preaching the Gospel out there so the lost will hear and come in out of the darkness to the light.

Prayer meetings.... They didn't call JAmes camel knees for nothing. He constantly prayed. I believe from our own selfishness and lack of courage to stand in front of people and pray that God has taken that ability from us in ways. I believe that is a true testament of the latter days when God starts pulling His spirit from the world. Our FERVENT prayer life is the only connection we have with the ever merciful God. He waits for us to come to Him he is waiting to bless us if we will just ask. It is not for our glory but God's, he wants us o come to him. Churches have a prayer service anymore by taking a few prayer requests and then praying over them, we no longer gather at the building we call church or in one of the members homes and pour our hearts out to the omniscient, omnipotent God. If we read through all the prophets God is asking Israel to just return to him in prayer. If America is to be great agin we need only to return to God in prayer. Recognizing Him and praising Him with the words of our hearts., then we will have that warm fuzzy feeling!

Excellent article, I pray that readers will hear the seriousness of this article and apply it in their own churches..


lifegate profile image

lifegate 3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Hi Michael,

On Prayer: I'm glad to be counted as one one of the weak people.

On Community: It's definitely the local church. God's attention has always been directed to the local church - Corinth, Philippi, Colosse, Thessalonica, Ephesus, Sardis, Smyrna, Laodecea. Need I go on?

On Fellowship: Yep, you've got the right number.

On Prayer Meetings: Whay more can be said?

thankis for adding to the conversation. Good to hear from you!


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

I wasn't here because I never got notice, but that happens it seems with my favorite writers. What you say is so true and of course I must admit some guilt. Even in wanting to do more it evolves around me...I suppose we all are somewhat guilty. Churches...it is really sad and I can see why God has some things against them. One big thing I notice is it seems the congregation goes out to recruit more pocketbooks than they do souls. Of course I have the gift of suspicion.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Jackie,

Glad to see you anytime! Unfortunately I think your suspicions are right when you say, "One big thing I notice is it seems the congregation goes out to recruit more pocketbooks than they do souls." Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost, not money. The church today misses the whole point. Thanks for the visit and the comment.


Abrushing1968 profile image

Abrushing1968 3 years ago from USA- Florida

Bill as I read this hub, there is a sense urgency in your words. Urgency and frustration in the people of God. I totally understand your desire to see those around you fully dedicated to His service. To be a part of a community of people who are willing to place Jesus as their first priority. I too have connected the modern trends with the Laodicean Church in Revelation 3:16, 17. It is a perfect match.

I join you in your frustration, if frustrated you are. Yet I fall short of telling people not to bring their needs to God. Dear brother in your zeal, you are right to point out our selfish inclinations and vain pursuits, but lets not be over zealous and discourage His people to make their needs known. Amen? Let us remember that God's Word instructs us to bring everything to Him in prayer.

Philippians 4:6

6 Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.

I must confess that I have never stayed up all night praying. But I often steal away for this purpose. For my part, I desire an intimate relationship with God. I enjoy spending time with Him. This Hub made me think of a sound bite I heard from David Wilkerson. I know not everyone liked him, if you are one of those folks, I hope you will set that aside for just a moment and listen to it. I think you will like it.

God Bless

ABR

A call to Anguish:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGMG_PVaJoI


lifegate profile image

lifegate 3 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

A Call to Anguish? That's absolutely what we need. Brother Wilkerson was a powerful preacher for God and actually ministered not far from here in a little town called Philipsburg before going to New York. His message is right on and needed as much today (maybe even more so) than when it was first preached.

We must without question make our needs known to God. Sorry if I've discouraged anyone from doing that. That was never my purpose.

Glad you were able to stop by.

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