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Rick Warren: What Does Biblical Community Look Like ?

The fifth aspect of “what does biblical community look like?” is a critical one of the building blocks of biblical community: genuine fellowship. If you want deep intimate relationships with other people in your group, in your family or anywhere else:

5. Sympathy

In fellowship we support each other when we’re in need. We support each other when we’re in pain. We support each other in our feelings. The Bible says in Colossians 3:12 “As holy people whom God has chosen and loved, be sympathetic.” It says be sympathetic, kind, humble and patient. What does it mean to be sympathetic? Sympathy simply means to understand and affirm your feelings, to understand and affirm your problems, to understand and affirm your pain. That’s what it means to be sympathetic.

6. Humility

This is key because next to fear, pride destroys relationships more quickly than anything else. That’s why 1 Peter 5:5 is so important for us as believers: “…clothe yourself with humility towards one another…” Humility means being honest about my weaknesses because I have them. Humility is being willing to admit it when I’ve made a mistake because we all do. Humility enables us to say the four most difficult words, “I need your help.” The three most difficult words, “I was wrong.” The two most difficult words, “Forgive me.”

7. Honesty

Most people don’t have anyone in their lives who loves them enough to be honest with them, to be frank with them, to tell them the truth. The Bible says, Speak the truth in love.” Being candid and being connected go together. Healthy relationships and healthy groups are built on honesty and not on flattery or on faking it.

8. Mercy

The fact is, every fellowship is composed of imperfect people so people are going to be hurt. The issue is, how do you handle the hurt? It’ll determine whether the fellowship splits up or stays together. How do you handle the honesty of life, the conflicts of life? You must make allowances for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you so you must forgive others.” The motivation for mercy? God’s been merciful to me. If you call yourself a Christian you have to show mercy to people when they ask forgiveness.

9. Confidentiality

Fellowship is built on confidentiality. You’ll never develop any close fellowship in your small group without confidentiality. In fact, the quickest way to destroy a small group is gossip. There are dozens of verses on gossip. God has a lot to say on gossip. He says, “No one who gossips can be trusted with a secret, but you can put confidence in someone who’s trustworthy.” The church and small groups ought to be the safest place in the world.

10. Unity

This is the 10th and the highest of the building blocks of biblical community. What does biblical community look like? Unity. Unity is the ultimate pinnacle of fellowship. Where do we get unity? We discover unity around God’s purposes, not around a personality. You can have unity without uniformity. Does God want us all to be alike? No. Does God want us to be unified? Yes. Ten times in the first five chapters of Acts it says, “They were of one accord. They were unified… They were all together… They were of one heart…of one spirit.” When we have the unity of the book of Acts in our church we will have the power of the book of Acts in our church.


This article on what does biblical community look like originally appeared here and here.

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Dr. Rick Warren is passionate about attacking what he calls the five “Global Goliaths” – spiritual emptiness, egocentric leadership, extreme poverty, pandemic disease, and illiteracy/poor education. His goal is a second Reformation by restoring responsibility in people, credibility in churches, and civility in culture. He is a pastor, global strategist, theologian, and philanthropist. He’s been often named "America's most influential spiritual leader" and “America’s Pastor.