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OTHER VOICES: What Is Missing?

Two pieces of bread slapped together do not make a sandwich. Something is missing.

In his book Small Groups and Established Churches: Challenge and Hope for the Future, John Ellas mentions that people are on a “quiet quest” for a missing ingredient. Many Christians across the U.S. are finding themselves starving and hungry for something more, something with substance in their Christian experience. What is this needed substance? What is this missing ingredient?

Dietrich Bonhoeffer begins his book Life Together with a quote from Psalm 133:1: “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” A very crucial part of a Christian’s “diet” is community — the missing ingredient.

Throughout scripture, one can clearly see the importance of community to God and his people. This can been seen in God’s oneness in community within the Trinity, his desire for creation to experience the presence of divine community personally through Jesus Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and his creation of the body of Christ — his church.

The idea of community was ushered in at the beginning of creation, desired and pursued by God throughout history, and will reach its full glory at the second coming of Christ.

Even though it is apparent that community is important to God, our culture, including the church, has shown signs of social disengagement. Several threatening factors, including the rise of individualism, have infiltrated and affected our culture in significant ways. The church has not been immune to these effects, resulting in a loss of biblical community.

Formation of God-centered, spiritually focused small group environments is a popular trend being used today to help rebuild and reclaim biblical community among God’s people. It is in these environments where heart-to-heart encounters with God and his family take place so that lives are changed. God created us to be in close relationship with him and others. It is among God’s people, where Christians come together as one to love God and their neighbor, that we find the missing ingredient of community.

Now, that is what makes a sandwich!

Bryan Brown, the author of this piece, is a husband and a father of two. He is currently in his fifth year as a youth minister at Friendly Avenue Church of Christ in Greensboro, N.C. Bryan is currently working on his Master of Arts in Christian Ministry degree at Harding Graduate School of Bible and Religion. This article is from the Spring edition of The Bridge, published by Harding Graduate School each quarter. I foresee a great future for Bryan.

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