How to create Christian community
There aren’t many single Christians who haven’t, at some point, longed for a family of their own. The Christian church family is great (usually), but often we yearn for the closeness of a biological family, of people who really care for each other and help each other out. Can we create this in our churches without getting married? I think we can.
Here are 10 ideas for creating community.
1. Ask your church leader if you can have a weekly or monthly church lunch/dinner – but be willing and prepared to co-ordinate it if he/she says yes.
2. Start a 20s/30s/40s/50s/whatever group in your church or in your area, organising social and spiritual events. The Christian Connection website now has a space for meetups – if you don’t see one in your local area, start one yourself.
3. Find a common cause with others – it might be praying with the Prison Fellowship, helping the homeless or supporting a human rights organisation. Get to know other people with similar values in your area.
4. Start talking about community with people you meet; in church, in Bible study group, and in any volunteering or sporting activity you do. What kind of community would you like to be a part of? What do other people think community is? You may find some kindred spirits, and a new support group/social group/prayer group might be born, or possibly something deeper.
5. Read about deeper Christian communities for inspiration. Shane Claiborne’s The Simple Way, the Amish, and L’Arche have all inspired me.
6. Consider joining an intentional community – the Diggers and Dreamers website will help in the UK or Community of Communities worldwide. Most of them are not explicitly Christian, but there are some faith-based communities who offer a ready-made family to be a part of.
7. Try not to fill all your time with work, hobbies and ‘busyness’ – make space for community activities that involve sharing and supporting one another. Prioritise them in your diary.
8. Be willing to explore emotional blocks that you might have to community, deeper friendship and intimacy – ask God to show you anything that might be a problem. We all need some kind of emotional healing, and Jesus is a great healer. Christian counselling might help.
9. Think about how you can reach out to others in your wider community. There’s an epidemic of loneliness out there –kids in foster care, single mums – all people lacking family who might benefit from more community. Be the friend you want to have to others. Perhaps you could become a foster carer yourself.
10. Finally, thank God for the community that we already have. It’s never perfect, but without it we’d be much worse off!
Do you have any suggestions for creating community? Do you have any positive experiences of community that would encourage others? Please do share them in the comments below.