Community Happens

A letter from a listener and a conversation Wayne had recently gives he and Brad the opportunity to talk about how God gives expression to the Body of Christ around us. Both have become convinced that community is not something we get to build, but it is the fruit of lives coming together who are learning how to follow Jesus. Pretense and obligation are two factors that many use to build community, when in fact they produce the opposite results, driving people into greater isolation. It is our task to equip others for discipleship; it is Jesus' task to build his church in the world.


  1. You know you guys are very interesting to listen too. The one question I hear that scares me a lot is that you keep saying that we need to follow Jesus first alone, but then in community. Ok. I believe the same. Our relationship with Jesus needs to be there as well. However, what I hear you say is what following Jesus is… is about this “love” relationship, you call God … Father… not LORD!

    Guys, what does it mean to FOLLOW Jesus? Is it that Jesus is my BFF? Is it that God is my daddy? What I have struggled with what you guys are saying is that you are missing what Jesus DOES say when it comes to FOLLOWING. Does Jesus tell any of his disciples to leave the group? He tells us grow the group. He also tells us that we need to STOP the sins in our lives. He tells us to follow him. The sermon on the mount is about real living.

    Ok… community… what scares me about what you preach here, and yes boys you are still preaching. You just said, community is the by-product of our following Jesus. I love that… You are right, no one HAS TO…. they wanted to….

    But then guys you said one thing… and maybe you can write me to clarify, it is where I am struggling myself. My wife has walked away from our marriage, our family for another guy. She is SINNING. Everyone around her has said, STOP the SIN… But she comes back and says I’ve moved on, and Jesus and me have a relationship and his GRACE is covering my sin. How can she say that? She is SINNING… period. But this is where I get upset, she like to listen to you two… and uses things like you said told, we should never… SHOULD anyone. And this deals with things in community, but also just peoples walk with Jesus. I’ve listened and I hear it over and over again. You preach a lot about not judging… but what aboutthe fact that we as followers have been told to warn, or to help bring someone back by telling the truth… James writes that in Chapter 5.

    What I hear from you, is that “churches” need to just go away, or at least not push anything on people. How then will community happen? Are you guys not talking about house churches, or meeting together somehow? That needs to be organized. Don’t you think the 2000 added that day, didn’t have organization? When Ananias and Sapphira came, it was because there was organization.

    I understand that we don’t have to live FOR the organization, and that is what you are fighting against. What I am saying that maybe you should be teaching about transforming those organizations instead. Why break up churches… why disband a group of believers? But teach that their is freedom in being together.

    And please remember that Grace is the first step of FOLLOWING GOD. It’s only part of it, not the whole thing. Jesus told his disciples to DO things, to CHANGE, he told the adulterous woman, after he saved her life with his GRACE to STOP the SIN, and FOLLOW.

    I hope my rambles make sense.


  2. Ok, back again…

    Ok, you talked at the end about building the church. And that God has to be there. Guys, this is what I heard you say.

    We don’t do nothing. God does it all.

    I hope I am wrong. Because Jesus COMMANDS us to go make disciples. He does say go build the church. That means WE NEED TO DO THINGS… You said a while ago that “I am so glad I don’t have to do the work on my spiritual growth. Jesus does that.”

    GUYS… we still need to work, but we need to be following Jesus, we need HIM leading us. And we need to be able to say, YES LORD (He is LORD), I will follow you, and do what YOU want.


  3. I am in the process of developing a structure that would be conducive to helping people successfully live in a residential community together. The purpose of the structure is to be like the banks of the river so that the holy spirit can flow more easily. Without any structure especially when people are looking at living on land and sharing some aspects together–like a common house (but having their own homes and land) what happens is that there will be a structure created by those who want power.

    There is something called the tyranny of structurelessness. What happened to me when I first gave my live to Christ was that I was part of a body of believers who shared their life in a neighborhood, and a community center stewarded by one of the brothers became a place where people even who did not have a large home could meet. Therefore, there needed to be some structure to steward the building. There were few rules and that was great. We met regularly on Sundays to celebrate with little structure–but the problem is that those who wanted us to have structure and who did not approve of our freedom, would come to our gatherings and try to impose this belief on us by speaking for 45 minutes or so.

    Eventually it got so bad that people would get into big arguments about what we should be doing together.

    With no one to facilitate and no guidelines that people agreed upon, chaos resulted and people elected elders who totally controlled the body after that.

    Yes, it is true that some of the people believed in the living loved part, but some weren’t so sure. Without guidelines and agreements, those who did not believe ended up usurping power. I have heard you speak about this before.

    tHat is why the living loved camp just needs some structure–not a mass of rules–but some guidelines and agreements that keep those who want to change it around and control it from doing so.

    Thanks for speaking about this and I really hope to share a structure that you all can agree is not controlling–but freedom giving.

  4. Dwayne – Brad and Wayne do not believe the “church” should just “go away”. They believe that we are the church… not to speak for them, but please listen to what they are saying.

  5. Hi Dwayne – I am so sorry to hear about what happened with you and your wife. I went through that myself (almost 30 years ago) – it hurt like hell. Wayne and Brad weren’t podcasting then and my ex knew that she was sinning and should stop. But guess what, she didn’t. Probably because the pain she was experiencing in our relationship was worse than the pain of “rejecting God” (at that time – she later returned to God).

    Blessings and healing to you bro. After spending some time hoping that my ex would repent then some time wishing she would get sick and die, I finally got peace and healing from God, It will come to you too. I am not saying there is no hope – I’ve heard stories of people that split and then got back together. Either way, God has a peace for you that passes understanding – may you receive and rest in that.

  6. “I hope I am wrong. Because Jesus COMMANDS us to go make disciples. He does say go build the church. That means WE NEED TO DO THINGS… You said a while ago that “I am so glad I don’t have to do the work on my spiritual growth. Jesus does that.”

    GUYS… we still need to work, but we need to be following Jesus, we need HIM leading us. And we need to be able to say, YES LORD (He is LORD), I will follow you, and do what YOU want.

    You’re right WE actually I need to do something…Whatever the Lord commands me. I have learned that group “accountability” does not deter “sinning”. Saying DON’T or Do, enumerating our new Christian rules dows not deter rebellious behavior. NEITHER YOU OR I CAN MAKE SOMEONE STOP SINNING. I FIND IT HARD ENOUGH TO POLICE MYSELF.I know your pain…the pain of broken relationship (marriage like christ and the church)…BUT…pointing out ‘you’re sinning will not dter someone from doing what THEY want to do! It’s unfortunate, but if our hearts are perverse to go another way no”church discipline” can or will change that.

    i went through a devistating divorce many years ago and spent lots of time having to look in a mirror. My painwas deep, intense and debilitating…But…the Lord met me in the midst of my pain and caused me to stop the blame game and simply walk with Him. I’ve spent lots of time learningto yield to jesus…to let Him remake me…evenlots of time experiencing the grace of repentence. Though there was much prayer and cryingout to God my marriage never was healed but over the years my heart has been healed. God is transforming me, freeing me from MY sinfulnature and giving me a new sense of peace and joy in my life. You have, my dear brother, my prayers and my understanding. I pray that the community (which you are in) will minister his grace, love and healing to your injured and perhaps broken heart.

    This is the blessings of true “community”….beothers and sisters loving us to wholeness. This is truechristian community…not just ‘church” but our family reaching out in love…His love…to love us to wholeness. It is during such a crisis that I discovered true community..not just “church’ but those who truly loved me in His name.


  7. What I heard was that they werent saying to just NOT do anything. It was more on the lines of, if we have a relationship with God and he is the center of all we do then community is going to find a way to happen regardless of structure or regulations. Mostly because each person would not be looking towards their own well being, but rather to the needs of others. and this like Goerge said, is the blessing of community.
    Its not that we dont have to do anything, but rather its that we GET to relax and not stress about the doing while we’re doing it and just let the relationships and community unfold. 🙂

  8. As far as structure goes… I don’t need it. Jesus is the structure. The holy spirit is my best friend within a group or simply standing solo. I’m finally learning to accept that aside from the effort it takes to open my mouth, I’m just a baby bird waiting for Jesus to drop the worms in.

  9. Dwayne,
    Seems that you have hit some nerves here with your comments, I guess they got me thinking too.
    I also went through a divorce a few years ago and it was very painful. I had believed that God was going to fix my marriage and change my wife’s heart. Well, that didn’t happen but as George was saying, I was changed. We had a very hard time for the last couple of years and I tried to preach AT her lots of times. I can see now how I actually drove her farther away from God and at the same time while I thought I was RIGHT, I was doing just the opposite of what God wanted me to do.
    The fact is , there is nothing you can do to save anyone, none of us can. That doesn’t mean we can’t be there when God wants to use us to help someone on their way but as far as getting someone saved or truthfully loving them back into a right relationship with Father, we don’t have a June bug’s chance in a chicken coop of really doing anything effective.
    What I have learned from listening to these brothers is: I can’t be responsible for anyone elses relationship with God. In fact mine is pretty dependent on HIM.
    Sure there are choices, we can choose to “follow” (what ever that may look like in each of our lives) and I truly believe that leads us into more intimacy with Him.
    But no amount of pointing out someone’s wrong actions, beliefs or motives with turn them around (at least not for long). Jesus never used a guilt trip on people to get them to change, He loved them and indeed still does I can bare witness to that fact in my own life. Jesus loved me to himself , I was raised in a fundamentalist church and there was never a shortage of people telling me what I should do or should think, those people made no positive impact on my life , EVER.
    The only thing that ever changed me was love.
    I’ll pray for you & your wife, I know this is a really hard time.

  10. Guys,

    Speaking of the early church and its community, I’ve been wondering about the story of Peter striking someone down for not contributing the entire amount made from the sale of land. It kind of frightens me. What do you make of this story? It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

    Thanks for your input!

    Best wishes,

  11. Shaun,
    I agree. A lot of people who are focused entirely, or mostly, on doctrine clain ‘Study to show yourself approved,” do not get that it does not says,’ Study to show others approved.”

  12. Hi Mary. thought on Anannias and Saphira. Peter didn’t strike them down, he just told them what what about to happen. Still, I agree it’s a very confusing incident. I’ve taken little glimpses from it over the years, not to say I understand. He clearly told them they were not required to give (wasn’t it in your own power?) The twisted part is that they set up this deception to make themselves look good. They must have been deeply entrenched in religious thinking. I still don’t understand how that ended up getting them zapped, and that’s one of the things I look forward to asking Jesus when I see him face to face.

    One of my take-aways on this record is that they were each individually held responsible. In my first marriage, my husband often did things that I thought were deceptive, and I was supposed to be the submissive wife because he was my head. Yuck. When I realized Saphira wasn’t “covered” because she was just following her doofus husband, I found the strength to assert what I thought was right and stick to my guns.

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