It displayed three traits of meaningful community that probably sound more like your idyllic memories than your modern American consumer church: proximity, interdependence and shared mission.
You lived down the street from, or even in the same house as, the other members of your church?
You saved the money you would spend on buying tools and borrowed your hammers and drills from a member of your church community?
You were more concerned about the church’s shared mission than your own career?
It’s hard to leave a community that close.
2. Engage in Meaningful Shared Mission.
A friend of mine is an underground missionary in Southeast Asia. He told me that every few Sundays, someone gets up and makes an announcement about needing volunteers for children’s ministry.
Just like every other church. Serving on Sundays is important, but in the way that paying your electricity bill is important.
Engaging people in meaningful mission includes facilitating church programs, but it is much more.
The example of Jesus teaches us that mission is inseparable from incarnation. For a church to be a missional people, they must be engaged in displaying Christ in their unique time and place.
This means developing a vision for representing Jesus in the church’s neighborhood. It also means equipping individuals to represent Jesus in the schools, workplaces, gyms and bars they inhabit every day.
It’s hard to walk away once you’re a part of a mission