Jesus said all men would know we were disciples by the “love we had for one another.” One of the reasons the world looks upon today’s Christianity and wonders is while they see people reaching out to them in the name of Christ, they see very little true Christian love among those doing the reaching. We were not created to be evangelical islands, but disciples making other disciples in community! Because of the love of money and what it purchases, that is the natural outcome of Laodicean societies such as ours, God’s children have become isolated from one another aside from an hour or two in fellowship during a typical week. In third world countries it is the norm to find 3 and 4 generations living together under one roof. Their economic landscape makes it necessary to just to survive. Here in America if you don’t have your own home complete with a car or two, flat screen TV’s, laptops, I-pads, I-phones and I-pods you are deemed a loser. Consider what we have lost!
When Jesus came in to this world in the flesh He encountered the same system of temple worship we have revived here today, where life centered around meetings in the temple. He changed that model to one of constant community amongst His disciples. In fact, before Jesus ever preached a sermon His first order of business was to seek out and gather His disciples. When He left us and sent the Holy Spirit to show the way, the first order of business for Him was the same: create community. His version we find in the Church of Acts. If it was the first order of business for Jesus, and also for the Spirit, why do we think it an afterthought for us? “Church” was meant to be a lifestyle, not a meeting or series of meetings or event or series of events. Jesus would never have conceived of pointing to the temple in Jerusalem, proclaiming, “Look at My church!” Yet that is precisely what we do today.
Jesus said what He said and instituted the model of church He instituted because He knew it would be the ultimate expression of God’s love flowing to and within the body, and then out into the world outside the body. Paul spoke repeatedly of how every gift is given to individual members of the body in order that they might use them within the body to edify it. He said when one member rejoiced all would rejoice, and when one member suffered they all would suffer. The body isn’t many members as we have made it today. It’s one functional, cohesive unit finding its life in obedience to the kingdom of heaven on earth. The sons of Adam aren’t seeing it, and it’s one reason they remain largely asleep at the wheel. When a man is awakened to the power of the Holy Spirit and the love of Christ he will naturally gravitate towards constant fellowship, because it confirms a kingdom lifestyle. When he remains asleep he will naturally move away from it, because it convicts him of a worldly lifestyle. Most men are moving away of today’s temples because their lifestyles have become more worldly than kingdom-oriented.
Think of what it would be like to blend all of those things men now keep compartmentalized: business, church, family, and community in to one seamless effort for the glory of God! Michael has witnessed organic Christian community with his own eyes [see the Fellowship of the Marketplace videos], and has beheld the power of it. Seeking to foster true Christian community is one of the highest callings of RECONNECTIONS, because community is the ultimate expression of God’s love and the ultimate expression of “reconnection”.
What might a true community look like? First and foremost, it would need to be bathed in prayer, and then led and inspired and empowered by the Spirit. Many have tried to establish Christian community, yet very few have been successful. Love, giving, and external focus are replaced with ego, need, and internal focus and the whole thing falls apart. A kingdom community could perhaps involve a meeting place, but not in the sense we have come to know it. As Jesus established His fellowship of the marketplace, it would involve kingdom-minded businesses and individuals carrying on their every-day activities. Only now instead of a worldly focus it would employ a kingdom focus! Michael envisions a place where kingdom-minded business men and women could share offices. But it would also be a place of constant prayer and missional purpose. The community would have a chapel aspect to it for prayer, offices, a meeting place such as a café or coffee shop open to the public where prayer and evangelism could take place, and ministry components [food bank, thrift store, auto shop, etc] to provide for the needy. All of these would be housed in one large facility or a series of smaller ones around a “campus” concept.
Envision each day starting out and ending with corporate prayer for everyone involved. Envision the profits from the office rentals [or co-op ownership] going to funding the ministries, and each person employed in the businesses volunteering an hour or two a day to praying, serving in the café, or staffing the ministries. Every aspect of the community would remain intentionally focused on the mission of evangelism and discipleship, and everyone involved would move forward in unity to show the world they are disciples by the love they show to one another first. We have a long way to go to break out of the mold of temple worship that now dominates the landscape, but so it must have seemed when Jesus came. He was able to do it, and to give us a new model. It is that same Jesus that now leads and empowers us, so we believe it can be done again!