Our Father created us for community, kingdom community. A community is a group of people who share characteristics, interests, goals and attitudes. We see the concept of community in the Bible in the word fellowship. In the Greek the word is koinonia, which describes association, participation and sharing.
There is a flow of God’s life in our connection with God and with one another. When we come together, when there is unity in the community, God’s presence and power are available.
Ephesians 2:21-22 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
Like a tree, we see the value of being connected to one another. God is our source of life, so our first and most valuable connection is with Him. Secondly, God’s plan is for the people in His kingdom to be interconnected. Together, through our relationships, we thrive in the life-flow God provides. Whether we realize it or not, we are all connected when we are connected to Him. Perhaps our influence seems to be localized, but in reality, we are part of a global community, the kingdom of God. We are one (Ephesians 4:1-5).
Like a tree, God gives us other reminders about connection in nature, like in leaves, rivers and creeks. Also in the human body, the networking of the circulatory system, nervous system and pulmonary system.
God’s life gives us a direct flow of His love and power. When we connect together for worship, there is a similar but stronger flow of God’s anointing. We are a building where His presence dwells (Ephesians 2:21-22). Even where two or three are gathered together in His name in agreement or harmony, He is there (Matthew 18:19).
The Bible compares us to a human body, with Jesus as the head (I Corinthians 12, Romans 12, Ephesians 4). We all have our part, but we’re not separate from the rest.
If there is offense in the body, there’s a problem. It’s hurtful to the rest of the body. If there is error in doctrine, it’s toxic to those around it. These things need to be dealt with. They need to be corrected as much as possible.
If we get disconnected from one another for some reason- like busyness, distractions, offense, or the like, we can get separated from the life we are supposed to have together. What happens when a branch isn’t connecting to the tree? Stops receiving life and it stops giving life. It can hinder or completely stop producing for the kingdom of God. Ministers become ineffective or pull away, churches stop reaching out and ministries pull back.
For there to be healthy connection in Christ’s kingdom, relationships must be continually created, integrated, cultivated and defended.
THREE C’S OF CONNECTION
Celebrate Instead of Condemn Celebrate the differences in the Body of Christ. There are a variety of gifts, personalities, cultures, races, perspectives and methods. Instead of being critical in the sense of condemning and fault-finding, let’s celebrate and strengthen one another.
Confidence Instead of Comparison No one is exactly like the other. Sometimes we find security and confidence when we are around someone that is like we are. However, we don’t have to be like each other in order to be connected with each other. If we are confident in who we are, we don’t have to compare ourselves to someone else.
Complement Instead of Compete Our gifts are made to work with others’ gifts, to complement and enhance them. Our gifts are not meant to be used to climb over each other or try to out-do each other.
In order for us to get along with each, there has to be some shared values in order to connect with each other:
For example, pastors who pull sheep away from other shepherds are working against unity, not for it. Community leaders who slander other people in order to get ahead are causing hurt and strife, not peace and unity. Instead of pride, dishonor, sin and deception; let’s agree to have humility, honor, holiness and honesty!
John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in Him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”