Community, by definition, is

  • A group of people living in the same locality and under the same government.
  • The district or locality in which such a group lives.
  • A group of people having common interests.

All of these definitions sound so clinical don’t they? They embrace all the qualities of a hospital waiting room. I think then that a gathering is not what the church is or meant to be. Having gatherings on our calendar does not mean we are building community.

For the biblical sense of community or living in community, I think scripture , not the dictionary, has a much more vivid demonstrations of what community is and what it could be.

The Fellowship of the Believers

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Granted, these are grown ups, recently filled with the Holy Spirit, coming out of the letter of the law, but this does not mean that students can’t experience this kind of community as well.

Here’s a brief check list of community characteristics we can consider as we attempt to turn our gatherings into communities

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

Is there a desire to fellowship (be in one anothers’ lives)?

Is there a way to teach this?

Is there a current or way to model true fellowship?

Is there a place for honest discussion and prayer?

Is there a food element you could add?

Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles

Although we cannot control this part of community building, is there a space in the gathering for the supernatural to occur? Supernatural could mean a chance for kids to forgive one another or a chance for kids to testify about their relationship with God. Both of these would definitely inspire a sense of awe in me.

All the believers were together and had everything in common.

Is there a way to get everyone on the same page?

Find agreement about how the youth ministry moves forward?

Is there a way to downplay differences and embrace similarities?

They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.

Is there a way to meet needs within your group?

Is there a chance for kids to work together to help someone else in the group?

Is there a way to get kids looking outward instead of inward?

Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,

Is there a way to build community outside your weekly gathering?

Is there a way students could be accountable outside the weekly meeting to be encouraged in their walk with God?

praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

True communities, friendly neighbors, a neighborhood watch program, draw more people

Is there room for others to join our community?

Is there an easy way to include new people into your community.

If you want to know the future of your youth ministry,  look at and model what the early church did in Acts 2:42-47. I think they turned out o.k..

Head over to Part 5

Your Turn

Which of these elements do you think your youth ministry needs most right now?

Which of these would be the easiest for you to implement? Why

Which of these would be the hardest to implement? Why?

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2 Comments

  1. Pingback: 5 Ways To Tell The Future Of Your Youth Ministry Part 3: Balance

  2. Pingback: Don't Let Any Of These 21 Words Define Your Youth Ministry – Helping Youth Workers Build Successful Youth Ministries

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