Tower of Babel

I never understood Babel until I began to pastor. I looked down my nose at these fools from history who ignored God's command to go forth and replenish the earth. Who did they think they were? What could possibly be more important than going out and changing the world - assisting God with the redemption of the world...obeying God's Commission...

In Downtown San Diego, where I pastor an incredible church community alongside my best friend and co-pastor Karl, People are alone. We are one of the leading cities in the nation per-capita for singles. With our cultures' emphasis on Individualism (which has heavily infiltrated the American church in my opinion), people have become exceedingly lonely. Karl and I decided early on that one of the most important things we could do to further the Gospel in our city (and speak counter-culturally to both the world and the church), was to foster a strong sense of Community within our group. Our mode is one of continually building missional communities. Not only is Community One of our 3 Core Values, we speak about it often and practice it with every aspect of our lives. But all this would still be valueless without prayer and God's pull on people's hearts toward community and His helping them realize their need.

That being said, Anchor Gaslamp has grown in an incredible love towards one another. People who witness this from the outside are drawn to the group the moment they see us interact. God is at work in a beautiful way I could have never imagined! It has grown beyond our dreams! One of our groups that meets at the pub on Tuesday's is so incredibly involved with each other's lives, they disciple one another, meet frequently throughout the week 'just because,' and help each other with issues in life...

It's beginning to look like the church of Acts...well, beginning to...and it's beautiful

Therein lies the problem...I don't want to do anything to change that community...to threaten it's existence...to upset the balance. I don't want to multiply that group into more communities, but I know we need to.

See, our Values are 1. Community.... 2. Communion (how we relate to God) and 3. Commission. Commission is moving beyond our walls, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, preaching the good news to the poor and rich and everyone that will hear. The context for this is Community and the idea is growing multiple Communities that they will continually multiply and grow. The hope is that people have such a strong sense of Mission (the commission) that they move beyond comfort zones in every area of their lives to reach out and love people as Christ would.

We've outgrown the pub...

It feels like the time's approaching to multiply. But the feeling of community is so strong...the relationships that have been formed are so beautiful...I don't want to change anything for fear we'll lose something.

I want to keep building that community like Babel of old...

I desire Community more than Commission...I am not progressing...I am not obeying the Commission...

I am the king of Babel

I repent...

(*Side Note... do you think this could be why some institutionalized churches battle so much confusion?)

2 Interesting Statements:

Kenny said...

You definitely bring up an interesting point. From personal experience I can definitely relate. One of my main goals when I came Refuge youth was to creat opportunities that fostered a sense of community. I think we accomplished that goal in a great way. I was so impressed with how the student became a family. But then I realized the next step was to move beyond... to include the group in mission, in something bigger than just themselves. This is something we were still trying to do when I stepped away from the youth pastor position, but I have been really amazed at how Sam has moved the group towards that commission.

I guess as far as Anchor Gaslamp goes, I definitely feel the Community aspect is a strength. I tend to think that the communion aspect needs as much if not more focus than the commission.. at least at this point. I think the Communion is the basis for community and commission. Christ is the one thing every Christian has in common, is the reason we can be unified, and is the reason we even have a commission. What do you think?

Vince Larson said...

You bring up a great point. We are trying to 1st define these spheres, then pull them into our daily lives (incarnate them), then integrate them (live them out in such a way that we begin to find it increasingly harder to tell which of the spheres an action represented...in other words, when I was doing that action, was the basis Commission (relating to those with needs or away from God), Communion (relating to God), or Community (relating to those who are our neighbors in Christ)... was I reaching toward someone to bring them toward Christ? Was I ministering to Christ by loving them? Was I caring for them as one in Community? ...the point eventually is integration...at that point a truly incarnational lifestyle is beginning to be played out).

With that in mind, I definitely see the need for a stronger sense of Communion in the group. as a friend of mine would say, "bringing Christ to the center of everything we do." But I definitely don't feel like we need to concentrate on one at a time... as if they are diametrically opposed. I strongly feel (as your statement conveys) they compliment one another and lead toward a fuller knowledge of Christ... A greater emphasis on Commission should breed a heavier reliance on Communion...all the way around. But I also understand what you mean about emphasis in a sense of timing...If Christ is not in the center, what's the point of any of this.

Thanks for stimulating a great onversation in my head.

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