How to live in Community as a Church (1 Pet 3:8)

In their book, Everyday Church: Gospel Communities on Mission, authors Tim Chester and Steve Timmis use the book of First Peter as a basis for determining how the church reaches the un-churched.  Towards the end of the book, they say this, “If you want to keep a professional view of church with a detached life from other believers, you do not understand the gospel.”  Throughout their book, they propose an alternative—what they call “everyday” church, meaning that our life is something that we are continually living out together in community.  The church is not an event; it’s a group of people.  They assert, “You never really know what drives you until you live in community.”

First Peter 3:8 gives you and I, our mindset for living in such a community.  If we are to truly have “communion” with one another, then the 5 adjectives in this verse must define who we are corporately.  We are to have (1) unity of mind, (2) sympathy, (3) brotherly love, (4) a tender heart, and (5) a humble mind.  Notice that each of these attributes are behaviors that are practiced with others; they are others-focused.

In order to embody these characteristics it is imperative that you and I crucify our own agendas that we might attain unity of mind; it is imperative that we saturate our minds with Scripture so that God may speak and that we might be humbled in our thinking; it is imperative that we be people of prayer, offering tender-hearted, sympathetic petitions for one another; it is imperative that we do not forsake the gathering of ourselves together that we may better practice brotherly love (and that happens inside and outside of the church building).  In saying all that, my point is this: it is difficult—to near, impossible—to attain unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind if our time together is limited to one day a week.  How are we to be the spiritual house Peter spoke of (1 Pet 2:5) if we spend most of our time residing outside of the body of Christ?  God has given each of us 168 hours a week; can’t we spend more than 1 or 2 with He and His people?  God is calling you and I to live in community.