Community is a balancing act of motive, intention, and honesty. The trick is getting people to see that they can’t effectively do life alone or in a large congregation. The intent of community is that you become deeply invested in the lives of others so much so that you value their opinions and support as much as they do yours. This commitment also breeds humility and true concern toward others. It diminishes judgment and embraces progressive development, and these elements comprise an overwhelming sense of togetherness that literally alters our view of the world. In this setting selfish ambition and blind conceit become contemptible and the Love of Christ abounds. We can do this, Jesus lived in community with 12 guys and by extension 60 others. I think this model is sustainable and beneficial. Greed and pride slip in when we suddenly think that we’re the ones capable of “making a better church” or building a corporation. Church isn’t a business, some principles may correlate, but the moment profit is placed on the same footing as relationship the Spirit flees and Man-pleasing becomes the ulterior motive to growing.
Many are right about community gravitating outside of America, but I discuss the paradigm of community with those leaders and read their blogs, even that initial attraction can become monotonous and stale when not embraced at its core with an attitude of awe and disciplined commitment. I think many people are afraid to open up and grow in relation to a handful of others. In America you can go to church, feel good about Sunday, get patted on the back, and leave feeling gratified. In community you come in broken, you experience the brokenness of others, and actively pursue the path to healing (Jesus himself), we holistically devote ourselves to the simple work of grace in the personal lives of a few people we can make a difference for, and as we experience healing we devote more and more of our regenerated energy to the work of living the gospel. That task is a great risk to our pride and sensibility, we want to be coddled and spoon fed. We are averse to getting a little spit-up on us from others though. We desire complete acceptance and we hate admitting we are messed up and are full flaws and failure. Community is hard work, sweat, and tears. Community was paid for in blood and cannot be programmed it must be grown out of purely broken hearts. Community is easier said than done.