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Vineyard City Church of Redding: Community

February 03 2018
February 03 2018


At Vineyard City Church of Redding we desire to be “A community devoted to the person and purposes of Jesus.” It’s a simple idea, but as many of us know, it can be hard to live out. So, I’m going to break it down so we can see what we mean when we say this.

First off, we were made by community for community. In Christianity we believe that God is one, yet he is three. This is called the Trinity. Early church fathers described the Trinity as God existing within a community: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In creating the cosmos, earth, mankind, and all the living creatures on earth he expanded his community. To be clear, we were made by a God in community, to be joined in community with God, and as such we reflect him as we participate in community with each other.

Community is a bi-product. Our youth group recently got together for one of their Friday night dinners. The kids arrived to a “pizza party” thinking they were going to eat store bought pizza, but they discovered that they were going to cook, from scratch, their own pizzas! Not only that, but they made cookies after they played some games. They shared in an experience, cooked, played, cooked again, laughed, and ate together. Community isn’t something you generate because you want it. Community is a bi-product of doing things and spending time together. A Bulgarian proverb says this, “finishing a bag of salt makes good friends.” After we’ve emptied a bag of salt making pizzas and cookies together, we’ll be friends, we generate community through the things we do together.

Community can be found in a group of people we spend enough time with to know and allow ourselves to be known in return. It’s not to say that we’re all best friends, we all agree with each other, or we all do the same things. In fact, in our church the wide variety of personalities, experiences and gifts is a strength. Joining in community not only highlights our amazing individual gifts, but also makes evident that in community we collectively become something that none of us can be alone. Knowing and being known can be scary, that’s why it’s often easier to have a lot of surface relationships, but I think we’d all agree that we long for real, deep, and honest relationships. This takes time and trust.

Community takes work. I think we have this idealistic picture of community: People hanging out in a park, eating, drinking, playing, and laughing together. Sounds great! Times like this do happen, but it takes work. Within any group we all have to take responsibility for the good and bad we bring to the church. What happens when someone says something inappropriate? What do we do when our selfishness come to light? How do we handle a situation where we cleary don’t see eye to eye with each other? This is all a normal part of relationships. What comes next is the part that makes relationships either skin deep, or something we’re going to invest into. I would say God’s heart is that we press through and go deeper with others which includes a list of wonderful exercises: We get to exercise patience, humility, love, grace, honest dialogue, and forgiveness. Much of the work within community is inner-work. For example, when I am confronted by something I’ve done and I can either remain unchanged, or see my faults and choose to grow through the experience to become more like Christ. It’s a lifelong journey, but “As iron sharpens iron, one brother sharpens another.”

At Vineyard City Church of Redding we create space to build genuine friendships. It takes time, trust, and more time, but it’s worth it. Too, we’re not all best friends, but within our church we all get to find someone, or a group of someones, we can call friends. We hope you’ll join us as we do our best to become “A community devoted to the person and purposes of Jesus.”


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Rick Mazaira

February 05, 2018 6:28 PM

As I was reading I was picturing in my head the engagement of making pizza so much more rich than a delivery or store bought pizza. Great image of community!


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