A Generation Crying Out For Community

I was on the BBC news website yesterday when I came across a tragically interesting article entitled Young more lonely than the old. In a nut-shell, the article explained that despite being more technologically advanced than ever before, in reality ours is a generation that has never been so fragmented and so lonely! In fact, while loneliness is a problem that is clearly affecting every element of society, it’s the young and ‘most-connected’ that are the most isolated and the most disconnected. The article states that:

“Nearly 60% of those aged between 18 to 34 questioned spoke of feeling lonely often or sometimes, compared to 35% of those aged over 55.”

60% of 18-30s are lonely! That’s nuts!! Nearly every single person in that age bracket has a phone in their pocket that can connect them to the rest of the world. The majority also have access to the internet and are registered with at least one of the thousands of online social networking sites that’s out there (Facebook currently has 450million users!!) They have more expandable income and more opportunity to socialise, travel and connect with others than at any other point in history.

Yet 60% of those connected to the world and surrounded by the crowd are lonely?

That’s so tragic! For me the greatest tragedy is that we were created by a God who is a community (Father, Son, Spirit) to be in community! When God stated that “It is not good that man should be alone” (Gen 2v18) it wasn’t just about ordaining marriage, it was about establishing community! Adam and Eve weren’t just the first man and woman/husband and wife – they were the first community too! When sin entered the fray just a chapter later it shattered both our vertical relationship with God and also our horizontal community with each other. We’ve been suffering ever since. Every generation that arises is a generation further away from Eden’s garden, yet the craving for community has never left us!

We crave it.

We look for it.

But we can’t find it!

So what hope is there for us?

Answer: The Church!

God’s answer to a world that has been torn apart by sin was the gospel mission of Jesus to reconcile us to Himself by His death and resurrection. Vertical relationship restored! However, in His grace He also reconciles us to each other by making us a new people who belong to Him – His church! In responding to the gospel we become part of His body, living stones who are being built-up together as part of His glorious Kingdom! Horizontal relationship restored!

Church should therefore be a place where true community is experienced and enjoyed. A place where the lost and the lonely find refuge, hope and belonging in Christ. A place where we are connected to God and to each other in love. So much of what Jesus taught and Paul echoed was the corporate power of the gospel. The “one another” teaching of scripture is a huge subject! We can only serve, honour, bless, greet, consider and love one another if we’re in community!

I guess the challenge is how do our churches fare in this area? Faith has become such a private affair that it would seem many of the 60% are sitting in our midst each week – part of the crowd but not part of the community. If that’s the case, the gospel has not fully taken root! Church is meant to be so much more than a gathering of individuals – we were saved to be a worshipping community on mission together!

By God’s grace while my own church, Hill City, is far from perfect, we are a community. A girl from the estate was saved recently. Interestingly what got the ball rolling for her considering the gospel of Jesus was the dynamic, sincere and inescapable love that she experienced whenever she was around the saints of Hill City. It was, in her words, unlike any other sort of love she’d encountered anywhere else! It instigated a process that ultimately led to her crying out to Jesus for salvation! Who saved her? Jesus! How did He reveal His love to her? Through His people!

We got to be part of it!

I LOVE THAT!!!

The beauty is that now she’s saved she’s part of the family. No awkward “how do we help her get her head around the weird ways of church.” It was the church that attracted her, so it only makes sense that now she’s part of it – she’s loving it!

God please help us as your people to be the answer to the prayers of a generation crying out for community!

4 thoughts on “A Generation Crying Out For Community

  1. Hi Dai most people between say 15/35 have very little connection with the church, the church i think need to gain a relationship by telling biblical stories in a contemporary culture more use of music and films etc, unfortunately some maybe yourself,? believes every word in the bible as truth but its said all scriptures are only inspired by God. The church has had so many problems through time Pope Lee X was taking money for pardoning sins to help rebuild St Peters church the documents were called indulgences, hope he bought one for himself he died age 46 in 1521. Henry V111 who made himself head of the English church was hostile to any loyal to the Pope, worried that he did not have the full support of the monks and nuns, he began arresting monks for high treason. As a warning to others, five monks were publicly tortured and beheaded, others were also executed,including several nuns.Now lets not forget old Moses and his laws said by him came from God, too many to post so we take just a few, Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth,break a bone one of your shall be broken, what ever injury you cause another shall be done to you, if a thief is caught breaking in and is struck and dies, you are not guilty of bloodshed, but if it happens after sunrise, you are guilty,
    if a thief is caught he must pay in full for everything that was stolen if payment is not made, the thief must be sold as a slave to pay the debt, hit father or mother you be put to death, kidnaps someone, either to sell them or to keep them as a slave, be put to death, if a man marries a woman and her mother, all three shall be burned to death,if a man/women has sexual relations with an animal, he/she and the animal put to death.Think we get the idea, as a christian do you tell your congregation to be obedient to the laws of old Moses,said to come from God himself its in your bible? Christianity requires you to respect other human beings so i hope you will respect my right to criticize not you personally, please reply if you so wish i respect others points of view, but one cannot ague about the truth, i wish you your family and friends well may your God be with you always. Al

    .

  2. Al,

    Much of what I would like to say in response to your comments I would prefer to say in person as there’s A LOT to say. So when you’re ready let’s chew the cud over a coffee (or a Stella if that’s more your bag!) However, I do need to post a few things online as I believe you’re misguided on several issues here:

    i) Yes I do believe every word of Scripture is true. That’s not only the claim of the New Testament: “All Scripture is God-breathed” (2Tim 3v16) but also of the Old: “The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul” (Psalm 19v7) and “Every word of God is flawless” (Prov 30v5). I believe that passionately and so obviously my life and my preaching reflect this.

    ii) Yes a lot of very evil things have been by wicked men in the name of Jesus and His church. However, not everyone who claims to represent Jesus are authentic Christians but rather fakes and frauds who will one day have to answer to Him for what they did in His name. Jesus Himself warned us that this stuff would happen.

    iii) Regarding Old Testament law, no I don’t tell my congregation that should be keeping it to the letter, and neither should I! The OT law exists as a mirror to show us how far we fall short of God’s holy standard and how desperately we need a Saviour! The only person who ever lived the law perfectly is Jesus Himself who came not to abolish the law but to fulfil it. When we put our faith in Him His righteousness (perfect life) is imputed (credited) to us so that when God looks at us He no longer sees us as law breakers but perfect law keepers in Christ. Furthermore, yes the punishment for all those broken laws IS death – that’s the punishment for all sin and justice will be served. However, Christ didn’t just come to fulfil the law on our behalf, but also to take the death penalty in our place for all the times we have transgressed that law. Jesus died in the place of all those you listed above so that they could be free from the eternal death sentence that awaits them without Him!

    Therefore what I teach the guys at Hill City isn’t ‘do this’ and ‘don’t do that’, but rather ‘trust Jesus!’

    Al I completely respect your opinions and your right to express them. However, I believe that on much of this you are mistaken. We can talk till we’re blue in the face about truth, but ultimatewly I believe that there is only one truth and that truth isn’t a way but a person – Jesus: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14v6)

    Put your faith in Him and discover that only the Truth can truly set you free (John 8v32).

    God bless you mate. Let’s have that drink and chat sometime.

    Dai

  3. Dai, hope you and your family have a great break and return save.No point in talking it over you will never compromise something maybe incorrect, where as i listen to all sides King James bible as you know begun in 1604 completed in 1611 by 47 scholars all members of the C of E, while many historians confirm major events of Jesus and not all believes,people make errors out of the 66 books 39 the old testament there are few i would disagree with about coming from God i.e. mostly old Moses laws. The new testament has been translated many times, but are the translations actuate as they came from original hebrew, greek ,aramaic source texts from thousands of ancient manuscripts, but i will say the 4 gospels do tell the basic same stories of Jesus, hope to see you all back and refreshed next week, keep trying you never know you may convert me yet,may your God protect you all on your journey. Al

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