We’ve talked about what it means to be authentic individuals, but what does it mean to be an authentic community… and how do we build it? Authentic community flows out of authentic people building trusting relationships with one another. It is built on compassion and a willingness to share your true self – insecurities and all – with others. Dr. Brené Brown writes, “We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection.” There is always risks involved, when we are talking about authentic relationships. There is always the danger that we will be hurt. In many ways, it’s safer and easier to remain closed off.
Yet God doesn’t call us to live in isolation. We are called into community, cherishing the fellowship we share and the friendships we build. The type of community we are called to create is one where all are welcome just as they are, and where we are committed to sharing, encouraging, and growing with one another. This is the type of community described in Hebrews 10:24-25.
“Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”
I wonder what it would take for us to create this kind of culture within our church. What might our church look like if we shared this level of commitment to one another? How might our time together look different? How might it affect the ministries of our church and the way we interact with our island community?