Lately I’ve been thinking about the American spirit to be an individual. We want to make a statement with our life, we want to be famous, we want to pursue our dreams, want to make it on our own. We want to be a shining star in the night sky. Here is the problem, you and I were created for community. I even believe we are better in community. I’m challenged in community, I’m encouraged in community, I’m supported in community, and I’m able to support in community.
There is a big push in American Christianity for “Personal Evangelism”, it is the idea that you personally are sharing your faith with other people. I’m, obviously, a big proponent of this – I don’t think anything gets my proverbial engine revving as much as sharing Jesus with another person. But lately, I have been thinking about how often in scripture there are instances of one person sharing their faith on their own. Honestly, I can only think of two – Phillip with the Etheopian Eunich in Acts and Paul at the Aeopogus in the book of Acts as well. There may be more, but that’s what comes to mind. As I thought about it, most of the evangelism in the book of acts and even the Gospels came in at a minimum of 2 and was really uber effective in larger groups (think of Acts 2 at Pentecost – we know that there were at least 12 who were speaking in other languages and possible as many as 120 – thousands were added to their number that day as evangelism was done in community).
Often times Christians of today bauk at the idea of doing evangelism as a group – but Jesus sent out missionaries 2 x 2 (Luke 10), John & Peter (Acts 3) went to the temple and stirred up some minds, Acts 5:12-16 tells us that the disciples met daily in Solomon’s colonnade and that people were added daily to their number. Paul & Silas, Paul & Barnabas, Paul & Timothy – any of those names ring a bell – interesting that we talk about them together, why? Because they went as a team, as community.
What does this mean? It may mean that Christians engaging their community at large as a Christian community has tremendous power that we may just be missing. It means that doing it alone is not bad, but it may be harder than having the momentum of a community of Christ followers living out the gospel with people who don’t have gospel. It may mean that as Christians, our Connection Groups need to join together to start thinking of ways to impact the world. That our churches should start to come together to interact in the “Colonades” of our day – the YMCA’s, the fairs and festivals, the mall, wherever it is that people are and we can find ways to positively impact them with the gospel.
What have we been missing by simply missing community…?