The soil of community – a guardrail

“The soil of community is absolutely essential to God’s process of growth in our lives. . . .  community is the other guardrail, along with Scripture, that keeps us on track while we grow as leaders in the body of Christ and in the world.”- Banning Liebscher

“David departed from [Gath] and escaped to the cave of Adullam.  And when his brothers and all his father’s house heard it, they went down there to him.  And everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was bitter in soul, gathered to him.”- 1 Samuel 22:1-2 (ESV)

In Chapter 11 (“When Fish Swim Alone”) of Rooted, Banning Liebscher states what David learned in the soil of community.  That soil taught David the value and strength that comes through relationships.  However, our Western culture celebrates individualism.  As a result, we possess a steeper learning curve when it comes to the issue of community.

Most noteworthy, Sara Lanier, a Youth with a Mission (YWAM) worker, offers her take on cultural differences between warm and cold climates.  She explores the topic in her book Foreign to Familiar.

Cold-climate cultures:

  • tend to be more individualistic in thinking as well as their approach to life
  • as a rule exhibit more task-driven behavior
  • core value – truth matters more than anything else

Warm-climate cultures:

  • communal
  • more relaxed
  • core value – relationships matter more than truth

Therefore, Banning observes, it can be quite difficult for those of us steeped in Western culture to develop our root system in the soil of community.  And, the author stresses, Jesus said plenty about the value of community and relationships in His kingdom.  Thus, it’s clear that Jesus’ message is in the heart of God.  To honor and follow Jesus, we must emulate His passion for community.

Today’s question: How has God strengthened your roots in the soil of community?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Christianity in the context of community”

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