In this episode of the Paradigm Shift Podcast we interviewed a new guest, Tim Downey. Tim is a pastor at Grace Church of Avondale. We’re glad to have Tim sharing his wisdom with us in this episode! Listen while Alex Sanfilippo interviews Tim about the powerful choice to stay in Christian community.
#1. What does healthy Christian community look like? (Many people may not know.)
Define Christian Community: defined by Jesus Christ. Not tradition, but the reality of Grace. Dead hearts made alive by Jesus. Walking in the light of Grace brings true personal freedom. Healthy Christian community is centered completely on the person of Jesus.
Practically meeting with other Christians regularly. Breaking bread. Remembering Jesus. Praying together. Encouraging one another. Serving one another. Showing no partiality. Displaying God’s goodness by impacting the community. Holiness.
#2. What other “options” or types of communities do people get involved with and what’s the outcome of them?
- Religious Community: Work for the spiritual approval of God and others, especially the leaders. Grace is missing.
- Work Community: Generally focused on making money. The Love of money is the root of all evil.
- Interest groups: Interests and circumstances change.
- Family: Family is still imperfect and cannot bring the inward change that’s necessary for happiness.
- Humanitarian: Causes come and go. Worldly fraternity is usually superficial.
- Some of these are great types of community but will not provide people with the purpose that only God can bring to us.
#3. Why is Christian community the powerful choice? What makes it different?
Everybody wants to know and be known, to give and receive love. That’s universal. And all types of community like change for the better and hope for change brings people together.
Christian community is unique because it calls for Christ-likeness through intimate awareness. Not superficial, exterior changes, but being transformed into the image of Christ. It’s a group of people committed to the ongoing process of becoming more and more like Jesus by knowing God and being known by Him, and consequently knowing and loving other people. Nothing allows people to better know and be known, love and be loved, than the power and presence of Jesus Christ.
The common interest in christian community is Jesus who we are unified with by faith, we draw strength from His Spirit in our brothers and sisters, and we are changed from the inside out. The two main goals Paul had in the New Testament for the young church of Jesus: Unity and Holiness.
#4. Any final thoughts?
You can’t have Christianity without Christian community.
Isolation: Why are so many Christians isolated? They no longer want to relate with others on the basis of faith and discipleship. They’ve walked away from the Christians closest to them. Matthew 18 and how to approach someone in sin. It takes boldness to walk in the light and be completely real and honest with others. It takes becoming like Jesus.
In some circumstances relationships were destroyed by sin in the name of unity and tolerance. Loose Christian living created doubt in one another’s authenticity.
In other circumstances relationships were damaged by judgment in the name of holiness.
What is the only way back? To remember that we have the mind of Christ. Loving God, loving others. Inside out transformation, and no heart reservations.