@robertkwendt || lead pastor
America is a nation full of options. I recently walked the aisles of a local grocery store to simply be struck by the pure mass of options that are available—for everything. Even dish soap has seemingly endless options.
Even as I drive down the road, I see countless types of cars with people listening to an endless selection of music.
Options are a great blessing; they allow us to enjoy our own preferences. However, like with everything, what is considered a blessing in one regard can be a hindrance in another.
Dutch social psychologist Geert Hofstede and his team have done extensive research in regards to how different countries operate and how those cultures can be interacted with. One of the categories he measures is individualism compared to collectivism. He describes it this way:
"In Individualist societies, people are only supposed to look after themselves and their direct family. In Collectivist societies, people belong to 'in groups' that take care of them in exchange for unquestioning loyalty."
When compared to other nations around the world, America is by far the highest scoring nation in regards to being individualist. Just look at this comparison of the US (orange) compared to China (blue), Germany (purple), and India (green).
America (orange), China (blue), Germany (purple), India (Green).
Info found here: https://www.hofstede-insights.com/country-comparison/china,germany,india,the-usa
Here's the point. We are a country made up of people who care about ourselves and those in our immediate family/core friend group. But just because it's an American thing doesn't mean it's a God thing. God designed us for community.
community is not an option.
In the very beginning, God created everything. A part of his creation was man. However, he knew it was not good for man to be alone. In fact, he even made of point of stating it.
“Then the Lord God said, 'It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.'”
What is so interesting about this passage is that God did not give Adam (the first man) an option. Instead, he just created a helper suitable for him. If it were up to many of us, we would have fought God over all the options. However, in this case, God simply provided as he saw fit.
Community for Adam was not an option. Community for us is not an option.
jesus came to reclaim community.
The less distance that there is between two people, the more intimately the individuals know one another. Jesus came to earth to close the gap between us and him. He came to restore a relationship.
It was not us as man going to God, but rather God coming to us as a man. This is absolutely revolutionary, life altering, humbling, and miraculous.
An early follower of Jesus named John describes it this way:
And the word became flesh and dwelt among us." John 1:14 ESV
What is even more intriguing and mind blowing is that Jesus did not come as a political figure, famous athlete, or anyone of major status. Instead, he came humbly. He didn't go and show off all his abilities as a one-man wrecking ball. He didn't go it alone. No. When Jesus began his ministry, he simply started by putting together a group of ordinary men from various backgrounds. H.A. Snyder describes it this way:
Jesus Christ actually gave more time to preparing a community of disciples than to proclaiming the good news."
jesus chose community.
Being God himself, Jesus could have done things however he would have wanted. Yet he chose community as his approach.
This was not a community of just immediate family. It was not a wife and two kids (he never married or had children). It was genuine community—spending every day and night with people. He taught them, moved them, empowered them, and prepared them. A look at his call of some of the first followers can be found in John 1:35-50.
From fishermen to religious Jews to tax collectors, Jesus brought together a unique mix and lived with them in community.
They had meals together. They fished together. And they performed miracles together.
Now over 2000 years later, the community of Jesus only continues to grow more and more rapidly.
The problem is that far too often we separate ourselves. We close ourselves off. We try to journey through life alone.
If Jesus didn't journey through life alone, neither should we.
That's why we should choose community!
Jesus did not select the Twelve as founders of future churches. Jesus established the Twelve as community.
join a community today.
At Fellowship Chapel, we are passionate about people living and spending time as community. We also realize that this may look a little different for some people compared to others.
That's why we've even begun to offer ONLINE community. Learn more here.