THERE’S no “formula” for successful Christian community, but here are 10 principles that we’ve found to be vital for health and fruitfulness.
SHARED HEARTS: BE TRULY JOINED TOGETHER
Share vision, be joined together through love for Jesus and nurture a shared desire to build His church. The sense of loyalty should run deep: one heart, one soul, but each member individually unique. It’s true joy to know that the people around you are fighting for the same thing.
LEADERSHIP: HELP OTHERS HEAR GOD’S DIRECTION
You just have to get on and do the job. To lead is to serve, and it works out in many ways: whether speaking the word of God, doing the washing up, or spurring each other on, you need strong leadership that loves and builds.
SERVICE: THE POWER OF ONE PERSON TO BLESS EVERYONE ELSE
You’ll find you’re quite a varied bunch with a diversity of spiritual gifts. From homemakers and cake bakers to out-front evangelists and networkers, everyone is needed to build community. Our love together works all this in unity to demonstrate God’s kingdom on earth.
CELIBATE CALL: DON’T JUST FOCUS ON THE NATURAL FAMILY
Married couples, committed celibates, singles, children. All have their part to play in the expression of God’s family. Community is all about building God’s society of love. Celibates lead in being devoted to God above all else; families bring a sense of wider family and belonging.
GIVE SACRIFICIALLY: FORSAKE ALL FOR THE KINGDOM
We give our everything for this cause. Some may have grown up in community, but all give up material and financial possessions to be here. What we build together is more valuable than any earthly treasure.
SYSTEMS: WORK OUT THE PRACTICAL NITTY-GRITTY STUFF
There are always things that need doing. Lots of friends means lots of cups to be washed, people to be transported, and general busyness, but we all get stuck in. Some people take on specific responsibilities, like the transport organiser for example.
DISTINCTIVE LIFESTYLE: GO FOR THE BEST
“You have no TV!” We often hear that. It’s more fulfilling to focus on people and God rather than entertainment and pleasure. To live all out for God shows the world around us an alternative lifestyle, where love rules rather than self preservation.
COMMITMENT: OWN THE VISION TOGETHER
For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer. This is the bottom line. Whether things are going well or whether we feel we are wandering in the desert, we are committed to each other. When God has called you, you must work it out together.
LIFE AND FRIENDSHIP: LET BROTHERHOOD ATTRACT PEOPLE
People often comment on the atmosphere of love at our houses. Those coming from broken backgrounds, knowing many hurts and disappointments, find a real sense of acceptance and genuine care here. Love centered around Jesus is simply attractive – it draws people in.
THE CROSS: LEARN TO DENY SELF LIVE FOR JESUS – AND OTHERS
It’s not all smooth sailing, the grumbles and groans are never too far away! To live for others means to put aside your own agenda and even good intentions at times. It causes you to refocus and come back to the starting point – Jesus. By embracing the cross we find His grace to continue.