Is there any real relationship between community and church? For while community is a group of people bundled together by shared interests, church is a gathering of people united by shared faith. While a community may be built on secularly principles, a church only exists where those interests are spiritually discerned and defined. While a community is threatened by conflicts of interest, a church is threatened by a deficiency in faith. By introducing faith into a community, we make it a community of faith and that, is church.
Whether it’s a human community or a spiritual community, personal interests are real and the conflicts from such interests bring division into the community. Sadly, no community is too great that it automatically exists beyond the possibilities for conflicting interests, neither is any spiritual community too holy to experience a division. Even so it is written that “there was war in heaven with angels attacking one another”. Conflicts of interest is the reason. But division needs not happen if integration of differences could be worked out in the community.
Rather than take the path of segregation, a community may consider using the road to integration which allows everyone to have or find its voice within the collective expression, the community. When such integrations are eventually carried out, chances are there’d still be some fundamentalist-minded fellows or some strict souls who would prefer the old or former “normal”. This is the problem facing all community building efforts as you can’t just possibly compel everyone to abandon their personal views and interests to follow a common ideology. Where the disagreements becomes too tough to integrate whether due to the rigidness of some entities or due to the disparity of views on what being together means, a community may segregate and each division lives on.
Church may handle segregation with a little more urgency since its unifying forces are spiritually discerned and defined. Once the collective faith becomes questionable to some members, they must of necessity proceed to question that faith since it has the capacity to uphold or withhold their spiritual sanity. Faith in itself is a matter of trust in a system or process but most so, trust in a person’s integrity. Personal integrity is the factor that upholds the trustworthy systems and processes of church hence, church is compelled to become a loving community where mutual trust transforms all members into friends. Now friendship is a subjective and cordial form of relationship, lending itself towards certain biases through the softness and elastic-ness of the members spiritual heart.
Any comparison made between community and church always come back to the question of how fixed or flexible the systems and processes may become. In a community setting, neighbors who aren’t friends may live together while each one does what is willed without trying to unsettle the other. Each citizen may decide to mind its business and deal with the community as a unique entity within which they exist, making the community an environmental entity, housing all manner of minds. The community does not necessarily need to be built on anyone’s personal integrity as it may be governed and managed by the interaction of its systems and processes such as its code of conduct.
This is different with a church where members expect other members to behave in certain ways as dictated by their common faith. Church members tend to get easily disappointed in those who falter from the common faith and it’s more difficult for church members to simply ignore the act of their fellow members. This is largely because there is a feeling of belonging tying their hearts together, leading to a sense of duty towards the wellness of one another. Yet sometimes, the misunderstanding in church comes from members who make themselves the standard or who make their own standard a criteria for judging their supposed friends. This perhaps is the most deadly hubris of church membership where members start comparing fellow members with themselves or with other members. It often and has always led to a disintegration of the spiritual unit.
Clearly then, a community is much easier to build than a church when we’re dealing with a people who aren’t seeking to have spiritual connections with other people within that community. But for those seeking to have and to explore their spiritual connections with their fellows, church is the only spiritual community that can meet their desire. A church is a spiritual community that grows from inside-out, held together by the personal inclination of individual members who seek to keep it together. This dependence of church’s survival and sustainability on the conscious doings of its members is why church building efforts must become a people-building effort.
In a community setting, each citizen may solve its own problems or seek support from fellow citizens but most calls for support would be directed at the governing body, the code of conduct, the system or at the adopted set of processes. But in a church setting, members must continually seek to resolve the problems of one member. Thus while community building is a system-driven design and project, building a church is a people-driven design project.
Quite fairly, we may reiterate the facts that while community is goal-driven, church is heart-driven and this makes the whole difference. Community is designed to easily recognize and highlight the differences we share as individuals but church is designed to easily recognize and highlight the similarities we share as a collective people. Today, we see efforts to create a hybrid-third kind of community where your individuality is both recognized and highlighted but only in relations to what we share as a collective unit. In this hybrid setup, we have our traditional community and our traditional church merged.
The Shepherd Way recommends and invites all community builders and all church builders to walk this third, hybrid middle-path for in it, we all can be spiritual siblings, friends, neighbors and business partners, bounded by love and sustained by the integrity of shared services.
This hybrid-third what we hope to demonstrate and present to the world in The Shepherd Way Business Solution Community, a present-continuous establishment that is continually updated and generously upgraded by the higher consciousness and by the greater enlightenment of her members, towards providing support for life and living beings to sustain ourselves as professional friends.
The Shepherd Way Business Solution Community #TSWBsc is a committee of friends from forever, working together forever. We feel you should and we hope you’d love to join us.