Our church went through the 40 Days of Purpose Campaign in November 2002. We laid the foundation of the five purposes of life- Worship, Fellowship, Discipleship, Ministry, and Evangelism. We knew that it was only the beginning—it takes a lifetime to learn to cultivate these purposes in full. In 2003, we saw the need to develop the platform to encourage our people to continue to live a life of purpose. It is a platform where people can support one another and learn to practice these spiritual disciplines together. It is not that we do not have the platform—we have our small groups and mid groups (gatherings where small groups are assembled together)—it is the need to bring it to the next level.
Authentic Biblical Community is our next level. It is the new standard we set for all our groups. It is a breakthrough (both in mindset and in action) from our modes of creating pseudo-communities. Bill Hybels, in his Bible Study series "Transparency," writes that in pseudo-communal relationships, feelings beg to be shared that never are. Misunderstandings arise that aren't dealt with. Doubts creep in about the integrity of the other person, but it seems safer just to let go. 1
When we think of the Bible's call to community, we know that we cannot let our groups get stuck at the superficial level—where all we talk about is the weather, the kid's homework, or the boss's dog. When I think of all the time we spend amongst our groups, it pains me to see that after so many years, relationships remain shallow, and gossips are just part of the norm. It hurts me that Christians accept the fact that groups gathered together in the name of Jesus are often no different than the groups at the golf club or the Board ...