Church as “Life in Community”


There are many definitions of ‘church’. Many of them are absolutely valid. It has long been one of my contentions that a primary issue in defining church and determining the health of any given assembly is “Life in Community”, the body’s obedience to the One Another Commands of the NT.

In the past week God provided two real life expressions of this reality in the church I pastor, SEC in Columbia SC. I share them in brief here and I pray that every Pastor enjoys a similar expression of the goodness of God in their Pastoral Pilgrimage.

Example #1 – Jack Jones, AP Writer, husband father. Member of SEC since 1992. His father ended up in the hospital with intestinal distress. In fact, he had a major blockage. This turned out to be Pancreatic Cancer. In less than three (3) weeks Jack’s Dad was dead. He and his family attended all the usual events associated with such a crisis. At the same time it was confirmed that his Mother has either severe Dementia or Alzheimers.

Last Thursday we were together in an Intercessory Prayer group, ladies in one room. men in another. The song writer intones “Big boys don’t cry!” Not true! In the presence of a room full of men, one of whom is one of Jack’s adult sons and a Seminary student, Jack wept openly as he shared how comforting and overwhelmingly affirming it was to just walk into a room filled with people that love him and care about the events that shape his earthly pilgrimage.

THANKS Jack for your unvarnished display of “Life in Community”!

Example #2 – Shirley Smith is a five year breast cancer survivor. They recently discovered a small nodule in one of her breast. She went to the doctor and they did a biopsy. When she returned to her car she burst into to tears and uncontrollable sobbing. For a brief moment she was gripped by fear.

Then the Holy Spirit reminded her of her Christian Family. She had all those ladies numbers in her cell phone. One by one she began to call them and simply share the situation. Each of them prayed with her. Her countenance immediately changed. She shared this morning that 6-8 years ago she would not have had this level of understanding and maturity. Both she and the body have been immersed in the grace of God, growing in grace. Both her doing this and even more sharing it openly and publicly this morning were a blessing to all and most of all Glory to our God who one day will gather us all in His presence. The biopsy was negative – no cancer.

So, I close with this question – “Do you know what real “Life in Community” is and have you ever enjoyed such incredible JOY?