I once heard Bob Mumford give the most hilarious message back in the early 1980s. The gist of it was to do with doing life together. He shared how he was so over problems in his relationships in his church. We all know those feelings of being burnt out, and needing some emotional space from others! Bob said he felt like buying a house with a ten foot high wall and putting an electric fence at the top. He was kidding of course!

It’s so much easier to withdraw than to build community. There’s nothing wrong with “time out”, but ultimately we have to come back together and do as the Bible tells us to do. I love this verse:

“Discover creative ways to encourage others and to motivate them towards acts of compassion, doing beautiful works as expressions of love. This is not the time to neglect meeting together as believers, as some have formed the habit of doing. In fact we should come together even more frequently, eager to encourage each other as we anticipate that day dawning.” Hebrews 10:24,25 Passion Translation.

I’m trying to make the switch to only organic produce in our house. It means I have to go to the farmer’s market every week! I also probably will run into all the folks who live in my little town. And chances are, I will grab a coffee with friends. If you say, “that’s a lot of hard work”, whenever you go for a change, then you will most likely not do it. If, however, you are clear on your set goals, you will do all that is in your heart to do, regardless of the push. It will be on your non-negotiables list!

Being a part of a local congregation or community should be the highest thing on our non -negotiable list. Being a part of community and declaring war on our independence is something that is so healthy, it is like a part of our “health regime”.

In our house, as we were raising our family, with four teenagers, the rule was, you had to come to church unless you were dying of the flu or pouring blood from some kind of mortal wound. It helps to establish this boundary as singles before you get to raising a whole tribe of kids. Families need this as an absolute boundary. We go to church, we worship and we do it every week! Of course there is grace for the week off but if you don’t instill the value of “being together” how will the next generation know what that even is?

This word together in Hebrews 10, is the word synerchomai. It means to assemble and to gather together. It also means to be mixed in together as a giant family does, with all its mess and loveliness! My family growing up was messy. My family with Phil and our 4 kids was also very messy. In fact I don’t know a family that is not messy! Its just the way family is.

Having said all that, there is a beauty as we gather. From this Greek word, synerchomai, we also get the word, synergy. Church or Spiritual community is meant to be a synergetic blending of diverse ones who bond together as one. We are not perfect, but we are in a continual state of being made whole. We become enlivened as we do this, and have a glory that is unique to the overall because we have shared! Why? Because we were created for community. The deepest expression of our ‘coming together’ is where we can facilitate the opening up of our hearts. This deep heart connection will build new habits and new life-styles. It’s one thing to come together and another to do so with your heart wide open. In the now famous words of the Beatles, “come together right now, over me!”

Are you totally committed to the community of God on earth? What needs to happen for you to do deeper covenant with Gods people? In what areas do you need to get healed of past stuff so you can press into a deeper expression of community? What needs to happen on the inside for you to choose community?