We live in a consumer culture devoid of authenticity. Therefore, people are longing for real community. However, we struggle to be in long-lasting committed relationships because we have believed the lie of culture which teaches instant gratification – and so we seek to be served and when we feel our needs or wants aren’t being met we get bored and move on.
The consumer culture of America is antithetical to Biblical Community. For authentic community to exist, we must structure our community after the perfect community, The Trinity:
For a Christian to be biblical, a Christian must know God, know things about God, and know what God expects of His children. God is the only uncreated being in the universe. Everything that exists comes from God. And God’s word teaches us that He is a plurality and yet One God (see Genesis 1:1-2, 26-27; Exodus 6:4; John 1:1-18; Matthew 28:19; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:15-20; Hebrews 1:3). The formula humans use to describe God is that there is One God in essence, existing in three persons or Tri-unity:
All three are equally God in nature; all three were involved in creation; all three are involved in sustaining the universe; and all three have a role in bringing about your salvation (see the above scriptures). But they each have a different role and responsibility; there is an order in decision making.
The Father commanded the Word and breathed the Spirit and the universe was formed (Gen. 1:1-2; John 1:1-3). The Father sent the Son to earth to communicate who God is and how to know Him (John 1:14-18). The Father and the Spirit raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 8:11; 10:9). The Father gave Authority to the Son to Commission His Church [you and me] to go make disciples (Matt. 28:18-20). The Father and the Son sent the Holy Spirit to cause Christians to be born again and to empower you and me for Christian living and the preaching of the Gospel (John 14:15-24; Acts 1:8; 2 Cor. 3:16-17). You see, there is an authority structure within the Trinity. God the Father is the Head (1 Cor. 11:3) and God the Son has been in perfect submission to God the Father for all eternity and therefore has the name above every name, Jesus (John 17; Philippians 2:5-11). We don’t hear much about God the Spirit, but we know the Spirit always worked with the Father to complete various tasks like creation or the writing of Scripture (Gen. 1:2; 2 Tim. 3:16; John 14:26).
What we learn from the Trinity is about perfect community. We learn about headship, role, responsibility, submission, working together, mutual submission, etc. At Grace Church Seattle we model our relationships with one another after the Trinity. We do this because the ontological nature of God is community (One-in-three, or three-in-Oneness).
The above model gives us an order within the family and within the local church. Just as God the Father is the Head of the Trinity, so also the husband is to be head of the family (1 Cor. 11:3). Just as Jesus is the Head of the Church, so also Elders are to be the shepherds who lead the church (1 Peter 5:1-4; Hebrews 13:7, 17). And what binds us all together is love:
“There is a tradition (it is not in the Bible) that the world said about the Christians in the early church, ‘Behold how they love each other.’ As we read Acts and the epistles, we realize that these early Christians were really struggling for a practicing community. We realize that one of the marks of the early church was a real community, a community that reached down all the way to their care for each other in their material needs.” – Francis Schaeffer
To be a Christian is to be in Trinitarian relationships, which includes the following for your spiritual growth and well-being:
Celebration: At Grace we come together on Sundays at 10:30am to worship together, learn the Scriptures, and celebrate Jesus by partaking in the sacraments (1 Cor. 11:17-34; Heb. 10:23-25; Matt. 28:19-20).
Education: A Christian is transformed in the renewing of their mind (Romans 12:2). It is the responsibility of every Christian to educate themselves in the Scriptures, in theology, in evangelism, and in how to minister to others. To be a Christian is to partake in making disciples. It is a primary role of the pastor-teacher to equip you for acts of service so that you fulfill your responsibility of caring for each other and sharing Christ with the community (Ephesians 4:11-17; 1 Peter 2:9; 1 Cor. 12). In turn you are to take what you have learned and share it with someone else (Matt. 28:19-20). But the first requirement for being able to disciple other people, is to submit yourself to a teacher as a learner (Hebrews 13:7, 17). Our AWANA program, Sunday School, and School of Theology classes on Sundays and Wednesdays are designed for this purpose.
Application: An education doesn’t do much good if it is not put into practice. The purpose of Home Communities is to put into practice what we are learning by caring for one another and by working together missionally to evangelize those within our sphere of influence (Acts 2:42-47). All other ministries are an offshoot of a Home Community and are opportunities to missional serve, share, and connect with people who need Trinitarian community.
We believe when a Christian community has the proper balance between Celebration, Education, and Application – it is then that we are can function as the Church was meant to from its inception.