Cheers was a popular television sitcom that ran from September 30, 1982 to May 20, 1993. The weekly half-hour program appealed to viewers on many different levels. The spirit of the show was perhaps best captured by the theme song titled, “Where Everybody Knows Your Name.” A neighborhood bar located in the Beacon Hill area of Boston, Cheers was that place to know and be known—a place where friends connected and had meaningful conversations over a few beers. Cheers was the place where imperfect people hungry for human connection got a taste of community.
Better than a neighborhood bar, the church is the place God designed for believers in Jesus Christ to experience deep and authentic levels of biblical community. Take a moment to read Acts 2:42-47 and drink in a cool, refreshing snapshot of the early church in community. Are you thirsty for real community?
The church is the place to know and be known, love and be loved, serve and be served, celebrate and be celebrated. The bride of Christ is the hope of the world because of the gospel she proclaims. In its many local expressions, the church is also a grace-filled community where real human connection happens.
Author Eric Wright says, “Let’s dream of a community where the weak are welcome, where the lonely find friends, where the poor feel rich and where the rich are poor in spirit, where practical help and prayer go hand in hand, where concern for others breaks down barriers and pours out into local communities and to the end of the earth.” Can you dream of a place like that?
Mark Zuckerberg recently proclaimed that Facebook is the place where real communities will form in the future, replacing what the church and little league baseball teams have been doing for years. Not so fast Mr. Zuckerberg! Technology is a wonderful tool in today’s world, but it will never replace God’s plan called the church. One thing the success of Facebook and Cheers does reveal is the deep human desire for community.
God created us with a deep longing for human connection. More than fifty “one another” statements in the New Testament bear this out. In the church, we love one another, encourage one another, confess our sins to one another, bear one another’s burdens, and so much more. Authentic biblical community also addresses the alienating affects of living in a fallen world. However, the power of community is underappreciated by many Christians and misunderstood by our culture.
Like millions of people around the world, are you connected on Facebook? Better yet, are you connected in a local church?