QUICK HIT: Life in Community rightly draws believers to the need of community—something even more radical than once-weekly small groups (though that’s a start!). It’s a solid work, though it lacks anything groundbreaking or truly spectacular. That’s okay, though. It’s truth. Sometimes the truth just needs to be presented as is.
Aloneness is a problem in today’s world. 27.2 million people live alone. 25% of people say they have no one to turn to as a confidant. Social media and the Internet have given us the option of feeling connected without being connected. And the church is a place where those that go tend to only spend an hour a week, if that.
Christianity was meant to be lived in community. That’s the crux of Dustin Willis’s new book Life in Community. The early church was forced to band together as a community to deal with the intense threats that sought to pull them apart. Today, in the West, church is convenient. And with convenience can comes the loss of community.
Willis begins with a discussion of the need for community, focusing on a number of different threads. We were created for relationship. Positive peer pressure is a good thing. We find strength in numbers. We find encouragement in friends. We find hope in community.
From here, he moves to the bulk of the book: the values of community. Primary among this is the need for authenticity, something so often missing in the church. Willis writes that genuine community demands authenticity and encourages a response to that authenticity.
The other chapter that stuck out to me was the section on meeting practical needs. My wife and I are in the process of adopting and the financial cost is simply insurmountable…on our own. My church has been a wonderful example of community through this process, offering emotional, financial, and spiritual support along the way. That’s what community should be. They see a need, they respond.
The last part is simply a one-chapter call to action. What will do you for the grand community of Christ? It may not be big, but it needs to be something. Pray about it. Pursue your passion. Become a part of a living, breathing organism.
Overall, Life in Community rightly draws believers to the need of community—something even more radical than once-weekly small groups (though that’s a start!). It’s a solid work, though it lacks anything groundbreaking or truly spectacular. That’s okay, though. It’s truth. Sometimes the truth just needs to be presented as is.
I especially liked the reflection questions at the end, encouraging readers to become active doers of community instead of passive participators in reading about it. It’s easy to read a book about community; it’s hard to actually get into action. Life is Community is a good, solid call to action. If you or your church have been on the brink of something big, this book (or the accompanying small group study) may just push you over.