Environments of grace are created and sustained within any community by a grass roots level of individuals who understand it’s importance and who give their lives to make it happen. By grassroots I mean that members within the community get it and pursue it independent of Church leadership. The reason it has to be grassroots is because the commitment level has to exist where community takes place.They becomes a community builder because they know how much it matters to them. Unless the quality of how we connect is treasured and protected by many key community participants it does not exist.
The Community Builder Manifesto (on another page) is provided to help Christians clearly understand the important role they play in making this happen well; what it takes and what is needed to develop such a transformational community. It sets out a clear path for the influencers, the shepherds and care givers to follow. It shows the practices and the lifestyle that needs to be adopted to birth and sustain great community. We cannot do this with a casual focus on what we are going to do with out lives. It only happens through a deep sense of mission. This isn’t for everyone, but as you look at it, you may realize that this focus is exactly what you feel a calling to pursue.
The following describes why the lifestyle described by The Community Builder Manifesto is needed. They highlight the importance the Apostle Paul placed on rich spiritual community, why it was critical to spiritual well being and the level of effort that he believed it took to make it happen.
First and Foremost – Jesus is Passionate that Community be Done Well
- John 17:20 “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me
- This is what Jesus prayed for just before he died. It’s why he came, not just to redeem us but to transform us in a manner that leads to us being like the Trinity in the way we relate.
It takes Commitment and Focus
- Phil 2:1-2 Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose
- This verse clearly calls all believers to pursue unity and deep love within a community of believers. Paul basically says, focus on it and figure out how to make it happen.
It was Critical to Understanding the Mysteries of the Kingdom
- Col 2:1-3 For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
- Paul knew it’s importance and put intense effort to make it happen. He describes achieving it as something that took great struggle on his part.
- Why was it so important? Because it unlocks spiritual discoveries that are not otherwise discoverable.
It is Critical for Spiritual Maturity
- Eph 4:11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.
- Whatever “The Work of Service” is, doing it well produces unity. This tells us a lot about what the work of service must be. It includes effective, skilled (once they were equipped) effort to move relationships towards oneness.
- Oneness is equated to maturity. This thought occurs many other times in the New Testament. You cannot be mature without unity. With unity being such a missing thing within the Church today, that says a lot about our spiritual condition.
Rich Community is the Foundation Needed for Developing Rich Spiritual Maturity
- Heb 3:12 & 13 Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
- You cannot tell if another has an unbelieving heart without extremely close relationships. You cannot give daily encouragement without being very close to another. This verse assumes close relationships between believers.
- Faith is a dimension within the heart that is essential for spiritual effectiveness – “This is the victory that overcomes the world – even out faith” (1 John 5:4) We are not expected to develop this alone. It is developed through the protection of others who know us and protect us at the level of the heart – as described in this verse.
So because of the imperative to build rich community, we have searched scripture and assembled a manifesto, a statement of intent and purpose that describes the lifestyle that our experience tells us really matters if rich spiritual community is going to happen.