I read a great post, What is Community, the other day at Flight Level Musings by Jack Watkins. It discusses how the early Christians found it easy to live as a close community since it was a part of the Jewish culture of the time, but how our modern individualistic culture makes this close group lifestyle seem strange and unnatural. He says:
The first Christians apparently understood the community life of believers. It was ingrained in their lives. Being Jews, they had a strong-group world view…[but] For those of us in the west, this is not our culture nor is it our lifestyle. We are very independently minded and individual focused; not community focused. So for the most part you do not see much community life in Christianity.
I have heard it said, and have even taught this myself, that this cultural difference accounts for why we don’t “do church” like they did in the New Testament as if by that explanation the differences between us and the New Testament church are made ok, but why would that assumption be ok? I’m not sure it is, actually I am quite sure it is not! We need community and we thrive in community. We learn from and grow with each other in ways that we could never do alone. Yes, we must overcome our cultural bent to individualism, but if we can grow the way we see in the New Testament then I would call that a small price to pay! Let me end with another quote from Jack’s post:
Church life is so much more than having a meeting on Sunday morning, or even Sunday and Wednesday evening. If your family is not intimately involved with other saints on a regular basis you are missing out on one of the greatest blessings God has for us as believers.