Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Missional community = TIME

I read this today:

People rarely drift into deep community. Psychologist Alan McGinnis notes that rule number one for entering into deep friendship sounds deceptively simple: Assign top priority to your relationships. Ironically, we tend to devote massive amounts of time to making money, running errands, and succeeding at our jobs, but we neglect giving our most valuable possession - time - to the experience for which we were created: community.

One of the most countercultural statements in scripture is a description of the early church. In speaking of the people's oneness of heart and mind, the writer notes, "they met together daily" They worshipped together, ate together, talked together, prayed together - on a daily basis. No wonder they grew so close.

We try to create first-century community on a twenty first century timetable - and it doesn't work. Maybe the biggest single barrier to deep connectedness for most of us is simple the pace of our lives. How often do you hear (or say) things like, "We've got to get together soon" or "Let's do lunch in a few weeks when things settle down"?

The requirement for true intimacy is chunks of unhurried time. If you think you can fit deep community into the cracks of an overloaded schedule - think again.

Wise people do try to microwave friendships, parenting, or marriage.
You can't do community in a hurry:
You can't listen in a hurry.
You can't mourn in a hurry with those who mourn,
or rejoice in a hurry with those who rejoice.

Many people lack great friends for the simple reason that they have never made pursuing community a high priority.

John Ortberg. Everybody's normal till you get to know them.


Anonymous said...


any suggestions for how you develop community when you work a 40-50 hour week. most of us don't have the luxury of time during the day to meet up and pray, have lunch or do coffee. family commitments and work seem to take over.

Mark G said...

So true, Brian - can't argue with that.

anon: I have worked 40-50 hour weeks for 10 years plus - and lost so much family time not to mention living time. I have gone down to 25 hours per week: it's a big risk with two young kids, but the rewards out weigh those risks. It's something taht we can only do together.