Christian Community

Dr. Jeffrey Hallett

Recently I have been convicted by the fact that I am a rich Christian, and generous, but I typically pay others to help the poor. Giving out of our abundance is something Jesus calls us to do, but how many of us actually know and love the needy, as Jesus did? When we speak to Him on Judgment Day, and He asks us what we have done is His name, what if He asks us to name one homeless person, or prisoner, or hungry person? What if we can’t? I have realized I am poor in community. I lack deep relationships with my Christian brothers and sisters.

Also I have been meditating a lot about communion. Certainly in the first century it was a real meal, not thimbles of juice and breadcrumbs. If you don’t think God honors real communion meals in a mighty way, read Acts 2:44-47. It describes rich and poor, believer and pre-believer, sharing in the name of Jesus. When the body of Christ held regular Agape Feasts, God added to their numbers daily.

Have you noticed how modern American Christians use the word “fellowship”? We use it as a verb, don’t we? Something we do with our friends from work or church, with little more commitment than sharing some chips and dip.

In the Bible the Greek word for fellowship, koinonia, is more often used as a noun. It means “close mutual relationship” and it is a gift of our salvation. It is this common sharing in the abundant Spirit-filled life that makes us the complete body of Christ. In this commonality described in Acts, the Christian family was sharing assets to alleviate needs out of love, not legalism. The congregation existed outside church walls and beyond Sunday mornings. Koinonia was, and is, the gift of our salvation that transforms us from individual consumers of the Gospel into corporate producers of the Gospel.

Have you noticed revival lately? I know if you care about what God cares about, you are sensitive to that sort of thing. If you are like me, you have prayed to be in a place where you can see conversions, and baptisms, and miracles, and changed lives, and you are seeing those prayers answered.

I’m really excited about a local ministry that already has its roots in our town ofChampaign-Urbana. This ministry is called Sunday Action. It is spearheaded by a gifted brother in Christ by the name of Michael Himick, who will contribute to the UTS blog next week. The concept of Sunday Action is simple and biblical: sit down with other Christians, and have a meal together, and invite those who need a meal to join the Christian Family. We are witnessing a local revival like that described in Acts. Just like in the early church, relationships formed over these meals are leading to love and generosity among Christ followers, and multiplying Christ followers. The materially poor are developing their assets alongside the wealthy. Many rich Christians, like myself, are realizing their relational poverty, and seeking to grasp this koinonia as a gift of their salvation! Please continue to pray for God’s work in your town!