Sense of Community

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Sense of Community

Because of man's inherent agrarian nature he may need a “Sense of Community”.

  • “Sense of community is a feeling that members have of belonging, a feeling that members matter to one another and to the group, and a shared faith that members’ needs will be met through their commitment to be together (Dr David McMillan, 1976).

In nature people are members of families and those families may form clans through marriage and communities through common interaction. The natural family as a unit may have a head or leader based on age and consanguinity.[1] The head of a family has been called an Elder. In the ancient Latin culture the the ‘power of the father’, patria potestas, was inherent in his personal 'power to command' his family, his imperium.[2]

The family was often compromised by social compacts of contracts transferring allegiance from the head of the family to the head of the community or state. The whole family and the natural liberty of the individuals within the family was compromised by these contracts which could be implied or executed.

Congregations from the view of the Church, established by Christ, are free assemblies of families. The family is represented by the head of the natural family who is often the eldest member of that family still living identified as an Elder. Within the family there is a naturally imposed authority and allegiance upon the membership of the individual under the head of the family. There is also a hierarchy.

To maintain the natural freedom of the individual when families are gathering together one must consider the dangers and pitfalls of obtaining a “Sense of Community”. While gathering in congregations certain priorities and principles should be considered to avoid an unhealthy infringement upon the individual liberty. One does not want to “belong” to a congregation because the act of “belonging” may reduce our natural liberty from an individual to a person.

The Church only wants the individual to belong to a Christ and the Father of creation within the “natural family” and not compromise that sacred institution by granting authority or allegiance to the “fathers of the earth” whether they be civil or ecclesiastical.

While we should have an egalitarian approach to everyone, that position must allow for individual growth and change. How does a congregation of recorded elders develop a “Sense of Community” and remain free?

It has been suggested that there are four factors to the development of a “Sense of Community”:

Four Factors of a Christian community

1. Membership
2. Influence
3. Integration and Fulfillment of Needs
4. Shared Connection

How should someone who is actually following Christ, by seeking the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, develop these four factors within a congregation of Recorded Elders [CORE] to establish a Christian community in accordance with Christ and His purposes since their gatherings are free assemblies?


Membership

The first factor is what they call Membership. A member is “an individual, thing, or organization belonging to a group”. That membership can be further defined as “a constituent piece of a complex structure.” The idea of “belonging” to a group, or becoming a “constituent piece” of something bigger, takes away the part of the wholeness of the individual. He is no longer seen as a mere attendee of a free assembly but becomes a cog in a machine with duties and obligations imposed by the whole.

Membership may also simply be the feeling of belonging or of sharing a sense of personal connection. Breaking down the factor labeled memberships some psychologist have identified at least five attributes:

  1. . Boundaries including criteria
  2. . Sense of Security and Safety
  3. . Sense of belonging and identifying
  4. . Personal investment
  5. . Common symbol and system

How would you define these five attributes of "membership" in a Christian community?

Boundaries

Boundaries of membership in a free assembly would include how people become members and what keeps people out. If someone sins does that mean they cannot come to a Free Assembly?[3] Jesus sat with sinners.[4]   Some would say that these “boundaries” are defined by the commandments, Certainly the Ten Commandments are boundaries by which the sincerity of faith may be defined but judging by who Christ assembled with they should not keep people from a free assembly since he assembled with sinners all the time.

The Ten Commandments, being fundamental to faith in Christ[5] and the Eternal life he speaks of they will undoubtedly play into other attributes of membership as well. But to exclude someone from an assembly just because they sin would be counter productive to their salvation and our own.

If someone falls off the wagon at an AA meeting does that mean he cannot come back? In fact it is because he sins that the individual may need to assemble with others.

Sense of Security and Safety

Sense of belonging and identifying

Personal investment

Common symbol and system

Influence

Integration and Fulfillment of Needs

Shared Connection

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Footnotes

  1. Consanguinity ("blood relation", from the Latin consanguinitas) is the property of being from the same kinship as another person. In that aspect, consanguinity is the quality of being descended from the same ancestor as another person.
  2. Imperium is a Latin word which, in a broad sense, translates roughly as 'power to command'. In ancient Rome, different kinds of power or authority were distinguished by different terms. Imperium referred to the ability of an individual to command the military but originally the military was the militia of the people before the people began compromising their natural rights in social compacts.
  3. Matthew 18:21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
    Luke 17:4 And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.
  4. Matthew 9:10 And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?
    Matthew 9:13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
    Matthew 11:19 The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.
    Matthew 26:45 Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
    Mark 2:15 And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him.
    Mark 2:16 And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners?
    Mark 2:17 When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
    Mark 14:41 And he cometh the third time, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: it is enough, the hour is come; behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
    Luke 5:30 But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners?
    Luke 5:32 I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
    Luke 6:32 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.
    Luke 6:33 And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.
    Luke 6:34 And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.
    Luke 7:34 The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!
    Luke 13:2 And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things?
    Luke 13:4 Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?
    Luke 15:1 Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him.
    Luke 15:2 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.
    John 9:31 Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.
    Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
  5. Matthew 19:18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, 19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? 21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. 22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.
    23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.

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