Giving Up on Creating Community

Last week I gave up on creating community. There it is. I said it. I can’t tell you how many books and how to’s I have read and heard on how to get it done. Over the last four years I have spent a whole lot of time trying to figure out how to create Christian community. But last week I realized that it all misses one thing. This one thing didn’t come to me on my own. I caught it while reading from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book, “Life Together“. Here is the line that got me,

“Christian brotherhood is not an ideal which we must realize; it is rather a reality created by God in Christ
in which we may participate.”

Christian community is not an ideal community that WE build by having the right program or getting every member into a small group. Christian community is a reality that God has created. You can’t create what already exists. Actually, the concept of us creating anything is pretty weak considering anything we can invent doesn’t actually involve creating anything. All we can do is take the stuff God has already created and work with it. The question is not whether we can create it. The question is, are we going to choose to participate in what God has already created?

So I have given up on creating community. I have gotten on board with plugging into the work God is already doing. I have given up on trying to create anything and am trying to figure out how to replace that mentality with one that recognizes God’s creative abilities and partner with Him more in the process.


About mattdabbs
I am a minister, husband, and father. My wife and I live and minister in Saint Petersburg, Florida. My primary ministry responsibilities include: small groups, 20s and 30s, involvement, and adult education.

7 Responses to Giving Up on Creating Community

    • Tony says:

      I needed this word.



      • I think the reason that we attempt to create community is that the community God has created is not ideal (at least in our minds). When we think of community we have Utopian ideals of openness, non-judgmental-ism, spiritual growth, and times of great joy. Community in reality means that we have to deal with people. And people are sinful and selfish.

        I like your new approach. We have to recognize the community God creates. Even if that community is not what we were looking for.

  1. Jenny says:

    Wow. That’s a very different perspective than what I’d been previously taught about creating “Christian community.” I’ll have to think more about it.

  2. Jerry Starling says:

    Would this mean we would quit jumping around – from program to program, from church to church, from denomination to denomination – as we look for the perfect situation. Would this mean we will serve where we are, love the people around us, and quit our complaining? Would this mean we will look to God (Father, Son & Spirit) for our fulfillment instead of to the perfect eldership, minister, deacons or congregation?

    If so, then I’m all for it – but find it difficult to embrace.


    • mattdabbs says:

      Well, if that’s how you read it that works for me too! That would be a very natural conclusion to draw from this one once you have moved beyond small groups to the broader perspective of what our faith and fellowship is really all about.

  3. Pingback: Flotsam and jetsam (9/14) « scientia et sapientia

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