Community or Club?

For the past several months I've been thinking a lot about "community." Community is one of the new buzz words for Christians - we talk about how church needs to be a place where we live "in community," or where we "do community." But when many churches talk about wanting community, what they really want is a club.

Clubs are groups of people with a shared interest. They may have initiation rites, unique language, and are almost always inward focused. They come together to celebrate their shared interest, but avoid any concept of being different since their time together is limited and focused. Clubs are set apart, and in effect help a group of people avoid the reality that most people are not like them, at least for a while.

A real community is based around more than a singular common interest. They are focused outward. Their differences are the things that allow them to thrive, though they have common interests and goals that propel them forward. They recognize that they need each other, and that others make them better.

Most of us innately want to do life with others. But if we're honest, most of us don't want those people to be different from us. We want a club, not a community.