Pondering Faith

Church Repair: Building Community

This article is the first in a series that will be my effort to respond to two people who visited my site searching for answers to why they were “tired” and “weary” of the church.  

        One of my best friends is David. He is a missionary, sharing God’s love with the street kids of Lima, Peru. I try to see him whenever he comes home to visit. A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to go and spend the day with him back in our old home town. His grandfather recently passed away, and one of our stops was to visit his grandmother. I have always claimed them as a third set of grandparents. It was a great visit, and we took a stroll down memory lane, looking at several photo albums from my high school years. As a family friend, I was in several pictures, and so were several others from our church youth group. We recalled the wonderful times we shared with our youth group. We were a very close community.

This wasn’t the first time that we realized and appreciated the wonderful Christian community that we had in our youth group. Our community helped each other stay strong in the faith. As long as we were together, we helped each other grow. We helped each other avoid mistakes, and recover from them if needed.

We all need those kinds of friends. A Christian community that lifts each other up, and one that you can lean on in times of need. I don’t know if I will ever be as close to a group of people as I was to my high school youth group. In fact, I believe that churches have a difficult time building that type of close knit community. It is impossible to establish that kind of community in a one hour per week, traditional worship service. It takes more than that. In addition to worshipping together, you must study together, work together, and play together.

If you are losing interest in your church, examine its sense of community. You may discover that you need to do some community building activities to spark some new life. Anything from small group studies to church-wide softball games/picnics will help to establish a sense of community. I do want to mention that being a tight knit community does not mean being a closed community (exploring the cliquish ‘closed community church’ also known as the ‘Country Club Church’, would fill another whole article).

Dan

Welcome to Pondering Faith! My name is Dan. I am a husband, father, and pastor. I serve as the Director of Church Development for the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. This is the place where I ponder all things related to faith, including church leadership, and life in general.