The strength of your church or small group’s community determines who you will reach out to and who you will exclude. If your church or small group is spiritually fit enough to hold people accountable, to encourage people after they fall, and to confront them with their sin, to listen to them, then that community is being built by the Holy Spirit to last, sustaining not only the vision of the church but the conformation of the disciple into the image of Christ.
A strong, Christ-centered community does not punk and run from the drama in their neighborhoods and cities, whether that drama is related to drugs, sex addictions and perversions, or greed. Those churches are mature enough and have a strong enough foundation in the Word and in Christ to take in the chiefs of all sinners that they will meet.
Weak communities, however, cannot deal with other people’s drama and most likely not even their own. They create rules by which to determine who is in and who is out because other people’s sin makes them uncomfortable. Besides, having to help people through their relationship with Christ is just too darn hard. Legalism loves communities and churches like this and such can do little other than tell you how crappy you and your so-called life is. This kind of community will eventually fade because it does not give life. Frankly, it does not receive the life-giving power of God’s grace and will ultimately die off.
That is why some churches still have the same twelve members they had seventy years ago. “We preach holiness and folks don’t want to be holy!” No, sir or mam. Folks just want to experience the grace and truth of Christ through you.
Is your church or small group built to last? It is if Christ is the One doing the building.