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I just finished reading Jerry Bridges’ book True Community. This was my first time reading Jerry Bridges, even though I have heard many good things about his books. I was not disappointed.
This book is essentially a “how to be the Church” book, as Bridges takes you through the New Testament looking specifically at the use of the word “koinonia”. Loosely, “koinonia” means fellowship, but clearly English really doesn’t communicate the word to its fullest meaning. It takes a whole book to just scratch the surface of the meaning “koinonia”, not even to flush out all the application of it all. It’s rich, encouraging, and convicting all at the same time.
I’d like to point out what was most encouraging from this book and most convicting.
What was most encouraging from this book was how much my church does “koinonia” well.
Theologically, our church teaches and preaches the union that Christians have with God because of Christ’s work on the cross (i.e. the Gospel), and that therefore we are united to one another. This is the core of what true community is, and this is the central point of Bridges’ book. Without union with God – without the restored relationship, between God and man, that was severed by man’s sin, and healed by the work of the Redeemer, Jesus Christ – there is no point in writing his book. True community, true fellowship, true, good, wholesome relationships cannot happen without the people involved being transformed by and united to God in Christ Jesus their Lord and Savior. The leaders of my church not only know this, but teach it constantly. It’s wildly encouraging.
Practically, because our church, its leaders and its members, are solid on the theology above it plays out in their lives. Discipleship within the local church body; the spread of the Gospel around the world (i.e. discipleship within the global Church body); sharing physically and financially with the church; sharing physically and financially with those in need around us, not necessarily in our church; supporting our church leaders; support through prayer, physical needs, and in being with those who are suffering; serving one another; social gatherings and fellowship time are all not only evident in my church, but also some are growing by leaps and bounds.
Like I said, it’s wildly encouraging.
What was most convicting was seeing areas of my life where I could grow. A specific area for me is investing in relationships. I am naturally an introvert, so developing relationships can be challenging for me. I have to remind myself that God has wired me this way for a reason. Additionally, being an introvert does not define me. I am not an introvert, I am a Christian, and as a Christian I am called to “make disciples” (Matthew 28:19). In order to make disciples, relationships must be formed, developed, and invested in. This is my weakness, but with His help, I’m working on it.
Christianity is more than a religion. It is meant to be more. It’s a people. It’s a community. We Christians are meant to be together. To live together, to learn together, to grow together. That is what this book is all about.
Click on the title of the book in my first paragraph to get a copy of your own!
Soli Deo Gloria!