Value # 4 “Authentic Community”

Value # 4 “Authentic Community”

I can remember it like it was yesterday, my days on 69th Street.

In case you didn’t grow up in Brooklyn, I’ll explain. Back in those days the street you lived on meant something. In many ways it actually defined you. I grew up on 69th street, but was really never welcomed there. Sure I had one or two friends I hung out with, but walking up the block could be risky and even a little unsafe.

So, I hung out with some guys on 70th street. For the most part we got along, but I never really felt at home there either. That’s when something interesting happened. I became good friends with a guy named John (aka, DI) and it was a match made in heaven, or in a more literal sense, Brooklyn. Through John I met a bunch of guys from 66th street. Finally I was home.

My time with what became known as the “66p” was short lived because my parents, out of necessity, moved us to Florida. I was crushed. In fact, it is one of the few times I remember crying (almost uncontrollably) on the steps of my apartment building with John the night before I moved.

Why? I had finally become a part of something that mattered to me. I was received, and loved because of who I was. I was introduced to a group of guys that I shared my life with.

To this day I have never forgotten that. That community changed me for the good.

Authentic community is no stranger to the New Testament church and as we continue to labor towards birthing Restoration Church in Port Orange, my earnest hope and desire is for the people we come in contact with to have their own “66p” experience. We are asking God to help us create a community of real people who are united in their love for Jesus, each other and the community we live in.

This is perhaps one of the greatest strengths the local church can provide the people she comes in contact with…a genuine community, full of grace, truth and love; a community where people share the ups and downs of life in a way that is honest and transparent.

This is what Jesus offers those who will follow him, and those who follow him are found in his church.

So, what do you think?

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~ by Anthony Orzo on March 12, 2010.

8 Responses to “Value # 4 “Authentic Community””

  1. I think this is well written. I love the name Restoration. I will be praying with “you’s” for God to create this community!

  2. I also have a question… where are you in the stages of church planting, are you still forming? Let me know when you will be ready for new people, I know of a few that are interested in finding a new church home.

    • Actually, we are currently holding meetings at the Java Jungle in Port Orange twice a month. The meetings are open for anyone to attend. We currently have about 30 people showing up. The meetings are informational and social. We’re having a great tie at them. If anyone is interested in coming they can check the blog for meeting dates, or email me directly at:

      aorzo@cccdaytona.org for more info.

  3. Hey, I like what you’ve said about community and I especially appreciated the comment about the “ups and downs” we have to share together. Bonhoffer once said that sometimes the most idealistic and romantic people in a community of Christians prove to be its greatest enemy. Why because they are only in for the “ups”. They bring unrealistic expectations and then end up constantly judging the community instead of loving it because it is their community “in Christ”.

    People today are hungry for community, or so they say, but often what they want is just a group of people who affirm them and pay attention to them. Authentic community is more difficult than that. Sometimes is is exciting, sometimes boring, also confusing, even heart-breaking but always rewarding when entered realistically with true Christ-like love and long term commitment. I pray that restoration truly build authentic community and so far it looks like you are off to a great start.

    • Thanks for the comment Larry.

      I’m not sure anyone can ever have an authentic relationship if you don’t experience both the “ups and downs” together. The most meaningful relationships we have are always rooted in fidelity to each other during the best and worst of times. I have found during the worst of times (even though they are not usually pleasant), our relationships are given the greatest opportunity to grow.

  4. Authentic community is hard to grasp or even hold onto now-a-days. Especially when its common to have someone from 2 rooms over in the same house rather than come over and say “hi” they would instant message the person or text them.

    Having a heart that is full of genuine love for others, not just people you have know for years is essential to build genuine comminity. And I think christians with the role model of Jesus and The Holy Spirit’s help do this well. I pray Restoration is a place where this is so easily seen it shocks people. I think we can do it!!!

  5. I think you put it perfectly by saying, “We are asking God to help us create a community of real people who are united in their love for Jesus, each other and the community we live in.” Authentic is defined as not false, true, genuine. No where is it defined as perfect or ultimately pleasing. I feel like there is a sort of connotation that usually is associated with authentic as being perfect, but the truth is authentic is not always fun or appealing, but it is always real. In order to establish an authentic community you have to have authentic people. For this church, that means, just as we are not setting out to make projects out of people, we should not intentionally strive for creating some “authentic community” without recognizing our personal missions and purpose. Are we setting our foundations in scripture and prayer, becoming closer to God? If we do this, and long to be more Christ-like, we, through the help and light of the Holy Spirit, will be loving people, leaning on God in good times and bad, and that is where our authenticity will be evident. I see two ways of going about authentic community-

    1. Trying to create a community that “looks” good and right and is designed so nicely to be popular among the majority.- maybe attract a lot of people in the beginning.\
    -or-
    2.A group of people asking for God’s help and strength, patience and love to help bring together His children. To celebrate together, to grieve together, but all with the same goal of loving people, recognizing or imperfectness, and bringing others, along with ourselves, closer to the Lord.

    Just as God is looking into our hearts, not just our actions or deeds, people will also recognize what kind of community we truly are. Our hearts, our daily interactions and relationships with people, and our love for people is what should define us and set us apart from that stereotypical, “got-it-all together,better than you, perfect Christian.” I think already we have a beautiful group of people and leaders who have the warmth of God within their hearts to glorify God here in Port Orange.

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