I recently released my first book called Life On Mission. The book can work well as an individual study, but to be bluntly honest it will not be as good.
Not a great way to sell books I know but our goal is not to get rid of a bunch of books. Our aim is to see the mission of God go forth in a way that we have not seen across the spiritual landscape of North America. Living out the mission of God is designed to be done within the context of biblical community and is most effective when practiced with one another. Old testament to now, God has always been about forming a gospel people for a gospel mission.
If you choose to walk through the book, we would highly suggest grabbing a group of people not only to walk through the study together, but to intentionally live out gospel mission with one another.
A SOLITARY FAITH IS NOT A CHRISTIAN FAITH
Our North American culture places high value on independence and individualism, so it can be difficult for us to understand the necessity of community. Why can’t it just be me and Jesus? we think, toting our Bibles off in some lone-ranger mission to save the world.
The problem is, you can’t choose Jesus and not choose the church. They are a package deal. And by church I don’t mean a group of people you sing songs and listen to a sermon with once a week.
That is certainly one of the valid expressions of church and one we should be consistently involved in, but going to a service once a week is not walking in biblical community. Biblical community is the group of believers with whom we walk through the good, the bad, and the ugly of life while digging deeper into the gospel.
Recently a popular Christian writer wrote a blog post on why he rarely attends church anymore. His rationale was that he had “graduated” from church and had found other ways to connect with God. Specifically, he said that it was through his work that he found his deepest God-connection.
Though I understand the sentiment, it is not remotely close to being biblical. Throughout the New Testament, particularly in Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12 and 14, we see that Christ-followers are all given different gifts (serving, teaching, exhortation, etc.) to exercise within biblical community. Every place in Scripture where we observe a spiritual gift, we always find it in a collective list with other spiritual gifts that other individuals may possess.
Spiritual gifts are not about individuals but purposed to build and edify the church and its mission. This means that the church is designed to be interdependent, working together toward one uniting mission. If one rogue member “graduates” from the body, then the body will not function with one another as it should—and the rogue member won’t either.
There are many aspects to what biblical community could and should look like but I want to give four simple aspects of community and what they should lead us towards as a church that lives on mission. A healthy community centered on the finished work of Jesus will center on the following actions:
Confront. Lovingly confront the sin that is hurting your brother or sister.
Confess. Confess sin to one another.
Repent. Turn from sin to Jesus with communal accountability.
Forgive. Receive forgiveness for our rebellion while forgiving one another.
The cross is where unity is made possible and where biblical community can truly grow.
As you walk in community with others and you begin to confront, confess, repent and forgive, you will grow together in your understanding of the cross of Christ. The cross confronts our sin, causes confession, leads to repentance and delivers forgiveness.
The cross is where unity is made possible and where biblical community can truly grow. Mission is but an overflow of living a cross-centered life, and living in biblical community is foundational to growing in the gospel. Without healthy biblical community, the mission of God cannot be carried out to its intended purpose.