These past weeks the fellowship I attend has begun a study of Acts. As I am facilitating much of it, I have been spending quite a bit of time in the book and have begun thinking about what “community” really means. Especially Acts 2:42-47 has stood out to me on this and I think that some of these principles need to be applied in our own lives. In these verses I see three hallmarks of community.
First, is time spent together in worship (v.42). This means time in the Word, time taking the Lord’s supper, time talking about our needs, and time praying for one another, our relatives and friends, our town, our nation, and the world. The first two are frequently felt to be taken care of on Sunday morning, but these need to be done in smaller settings other than on Sunday, too, because the latter two only work in intimate groups.
Second, I see a spirit of caring for one another and eyes open to one another’s needs (vv.44-45). This is tied in with generosity, both on the part of those who have and on the part of those who receive.
Third, I see time spent together, simply “hanging out.” The “breaking bread” mentioned in v.46 refers first of all to eating together and in a broader sense to the sharing of life with one another. This doesn’t mean speaking about spiritual things all the time, but it does mean sharing ourselves, our dreams, fears, desires, losses, interests.
Do we have this sort of community in our individual fellowships? If not, what can we do to create such community? The key to this is the Holy Spirit (Ac 2:33). When we are truly submitted to Him, He will act to create the communities. But that does not mean we should not seek out this community and just let it “happen”. Everything worthwhile takes effort, both on the Lord’s part and on ours.