There is a great difference in excellency, usefulness, and comfort between people of clear, digested knowledge, and confused, undigested apprehensions. -Richard Baxter

one last thing before we transition

For the next two Sundays we’ll set up the retreat by dwelling on the notion of Calling. Before we do, there’s at least onesiimage002.jpg loose end from our series on Tripp’s book I have to tie up here in these pages.

We’ve discussed for a couple months now about what’s within our realm of responsibility for pursuing change and for involving ourselves in one another’s pursuit of change. One thing I’ve intended to include each week but didn’t leave myself time for is how one moves into a community in such a way that 1) you come to benefit from the kind of loving involvement that leads to change and 2) that you come to contribute to that pursuit of change in others thusly involved. In other words, if we were to write a story of how someone came to benefit from (1) and contribute to (2) this community of change and maturity, the basic plot line, roughly outlined, might go something like this:

i) You visit, you meet new people, you listen, you discuss, you go to lunch

ii) You regularly attend, you meet with us, you serve with us, perhaps you get to know one or more at a deeper level than others

iii) You begin connecting with a small group of believers who meet more regularly; you begin to share your story beneath the surface of what’s typically shared in a large-group setting

iv) You attend the intro to PCPC class and become a member of the church, submitting to Her oversight, benefiting from Her care, and contributing to Her mission

v) you start taking some responsibility within your group, or the class, or the church; you begin to see that attachment to a church community means coming to depend on her for some things and coming to be depended on for other things

vi) As life happens, struggles emerge. If you’ve cultivated the kind of relationships the process above facilitates, you’re prepared

(1) To help: with the courage and rationale to ask and analyze

(2) To receive help: with the humility and concern for holiness to allow another into your struggle through their questions and analysis.

The process sounds simple enough, but we all know community rarely forms in a predictable, linear, or expedient fashion. You can’t make people trust one another. You can’t program events that cause people to love one another. Still, it’s not as if you can expect to find that kind of real community by being a purely passive participant. That’s why I put this out there for those who may still wonder what is precisely the kind of relationship we’re called to have with other believers in the church, and how precisely might they cultivate that kind of relationship.

So, where do you see some glaring gaps in how community forms in the real world? What about the culture of our church makes this process difficult? What about the sensibilities of 20 and 30-somethings require adjustment to this hoped-for process of community-formation?

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