Finding Community in the Church
The Columbus Dispatch wrote an interesting article recently. She noted that nearly one-third of adults in the United States are nonreligious—atheists, agnostics, and those who believe “nothing in particular.” Jesus told us that “the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matt 7:14). Only a few people will be saved—the majority will be lost—so the upward trend of folks rejecting religion altogether shouldn’t be surprising.
However, King’s thesis greatly shocked me: Those who are nonreligious want to be part of a community, and the article continued to give readers a list of nonreligious communities (e.g., Omnipresent Atheist and Recovering from Religion) where they could join with likeminded people and find love, fellowship, and purpose. These nontheists want the church and all the blessings she offers, but they wish to leave the church’s Head out of the equation.
The problem with such reasoning is that God himself is the One who understood man needed community to be whole. When Adam was first created, God left him alone in the Garden for some time (Adam’s reaction when he sees Eve makes me think this was a rather lengthy period of time) and paraded all the animals in front of the first man to see if a suitable helper could be found for him. Before bringing the animals in front of Adam God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him” (Gen 2:18). God knew Adam could find no suitable helper in the animal kingdom, but God taught Adam that lesson—after looking through every animal on earth for a helper, that first man surely felt all alone and understood for himself it was not good for him to be alone. God then took a rib from Adam, formed Eve, brought her to the man, and created the family.
God has also created a spiritual family where we find love, fellowship, and purpose. Immediately after the birth of the church those first disciples were “together and had all things in common” and they were “attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes” (Acts 2:44, 46). The early church spent time together, they were worshiping together, and they were eating together. Such fellowship allowed love to grow, burdens to be borne, tears to be wiped, and rejoicing to be made together.
We need one another. If atheists understand the need for fellowship, shouldn’t the disciples of the One who created us for community understand that need all the more? So, let’s be community—let’s laugh together, cry together, pray together, work together, and bring glory to God together as one united family striving together for the Gospel’s sake.