Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care. 1 Peter 5:2 (NIV)
What does an authentic Christian community look like?
An authentic community reflects all the struggles of the individuals who make it up
The church is simply an expression on a larger scale of what you will find within any one Christian individual. You should expect to see people who are experiencing God’s grace and who are at every stage of the recovery process.
An authentic community will include difficult people
It is easy to talk about caring for others outside the church, but the first test of authenticity is whether we care about the difficult person inside the church. There are two sides to this. You have the difficult person who is embraced by the love of the community, and you have the love of the community that is, in hidden ways, doing extraordinary things.
An authentic community is gathered by God, not chosen by us
The first community God places us in is called the family. None of us chooses our family. It is the same in the church. The church is the family of God. It is a community of people not chosen by us but gathered by God in His grace and mercy through Jesus Christ.
These relationships within the flock of God are crucial to the shaping and the formation of spiritual character. It’s not just that God wants you to be a follower of Jesus, it’s that God wants you to be a part of a community in which relationships are worked out together.
Where do you see signs of authenticity in your community?