So here’s my thesis. The risen Jesus envisioned the small communities that gathered in his name to be orchestrated and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Our life together is a result of ordinary Christians exercising gifts (charisms) from the Holy Spirit and being continually involved in the process of fulfilling Jesus’ commission to make disciples, baptize, teach, obey, and know his presence among us. Everyone in the community has a function and should take responsibility as they are able for the needs associated with common life and worship. This responsibility includes teaching, discerning, leading, bearing burdens, encouraging and exhorting, praying, and joining in on God’s mission to the world. From the smallest to the biggest, youngest to the oldest, weakest to the strongest…everyone gets to play – and must play – in order for the community to function as Jesus intended.To me, this seems reasonable and certainly not groundbreaking in terms of an idea. But we are talking about reality here and unpacking this brings up all sorts of challenging practical implications. This is my current thesis for how our faith community works and I believe it is absolutely foundational if we are to approach any of the dreams we have for our life together and for the town of Jupiter. Over the next few posts I will try to unpack why I think it’s foundational, how it might be put into practice, and how it might be sustained for the long haul.
One beginning thought: I really think this is the water followers of Jesus were meant to swim in. When a community of believers walks in union with the Holy Spirit in this way – imperfectly to be sure – there is a sense of being connected to the church universal that stretches all the way to that group of wide-eyed disciples eating breakfast by the lake with the risen Jesus. It is not an idealism or elitism that has entrapped so many others. The sense is that this is just the way it’s supposed to be. Life is hard, community is hard, mission is hard, but somehow the Holy Spirit makes it okay.