Editor's note: Thanks to those of you who have written in asking that we continue to publish Moishe's Musings. We are celebrating Shavuot, (Pentecost) this month, and one of the themes of Pentecost is community. The following are extracts on community from some of Moishe's leadership lessons.
Community involves commitment. It touches every aspect of one's life: where you live, how you live, whom you accept as your circle of friends. When you belong to a community, you don't just say, I'm part of the group," but you work to make yourself part of the group by where you move, by those with whom you associate, by accepting the group standards. And sometimes, these might not be your particular standards.
A commitment to God should mean a commitment to other godly people, to bear one another's burdens, to rejoice with one another, to foster one another's growth, to be submitted to one another, to have the counsel of one another. The role of the professional minister is far less important than the role of the natural elders, the lay people who put themselves out for the congregation.
Give a lot to a few; that's the way that you can give more. Learn to make commitments to people and to get commitments from those who will keep their commitments. Establish informally committed relationships.
We need to require things of others. A true, godly community must maintain expectations. If we do not have expectations of one another, then we will not understand the boundaries of our relationships. We depend upon one another and therefore we expect from one another. There can be no community without accountability and expectations.
Loving the Lord requires us to love others and include them within our faith community. Perhaps this is one of the reasons that churches do not grow. They are too picky about whom they might include and too impatient with the God who can change the unlovely into something beautiful by His power and grace. Let's face it—some of you were not so lovable when I first met you. What if I decided not to include you in what I saw God doing through our little group?
Brothers and sisters, if we are to grow as God wants us to grow then we must open up in faith to others, even if they might seem unlovable at the present time. To deny them a place in our community is to limit God who promises to transform each person who accepts Y'shua. We must be a people who readily believe 2 Corinthians 5:17—for the Lord is able to make new people out of all those who receive Him.
We are not a community of the perfected, but a community of the redeemed. One day we will be perfected, but until that day we will be far less than what He and we want. Yet, as a community on the move for the Messiah, we can make a difference—if we stand together.