#4 in series
#4 in series

The True Community

Mike Saathoff
5 min read

I grew up with a mother who never met a stranger.

 If you have a mom like mine, you might be thinking about all of the times you stood in line at a grocery store or department store, and you would overhear her having an entire conversation with someone, only to find out later that she had only just met them. My younger self couldn’t understand or appreciate these moments, but I realize now that I was witnessing was a deep connection to community that my mother has, a sense that we are all in this together and that there is always room for one more. 

The early Church understood how powerful community was. The Church established community as a vehicle to transport the Gospel from its inception. Today, I ask myself, what am I transporting? Does my life consist of gossip, slander, jealousy, manipulation, greed, or hate? Are my days spent transporting the good news of the Gospel? 

The past two years have shaken my view of community. This time spent digging deep into the Scriptures and searching for what God desires community to be has returned its core purpose to a mission-oriented one. There are a few observations that I would like to highlight in Acts 2 that have been helpful to me during my “reset” to be on mission within community. 

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Acts 2:42-47

This passage of scripture might be very familiar, or it might not. Either way, let’s unpack the observations that we see taking place within the vehicle of community in the early Church in hopes that it might be helpful for us as the Church today. 

The first observation I want us to notice is that “they devoted themselves to teaching and fellowship.” For years I looked at these two disciplines as separate. That is not at all how I see it today. As a community, we learn and grow together. This is what we see in Hebrews 10:24 that we must “spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” This is why we believe so passionately about gathering as the local church. It’s here that, like a sponge, we are filled up with the truth of God’s word and reminded of our eternal purpose, not just for our own good but so that we can then be wrung out in our places of influence, putting Jesus on display for the world around us. We gather, and then we scatter, and in the scattering, we transport the Gospel. 

The second observation that I want us to note from Acts 2 is that the early Church valued breaking bread with one another. As a community, we are not only to gather to receive teaching but also to do life with each other. Sharing a meal is more than a social hour. It is a representation of how we value one another. 

I love nature shows that feature animals in the wild. I particularly like to watch predators. They fascinate me, as almost all of them avoid moments of vulnerability unless they truly feel secure. The most vulnerable state that they find themselves in, outside of sleeping, is when they feed. This is also true of us. When we sit for a meal and invite others to the table, it speaks to our value for them. Breaking bread is all about doing life with one another and knowing each other on a level beyond a “hi” in passing or a “see you next time.” Breaking bread says, I know you and value you enough to make time for you. 

Prayer is the final observation I want to note. If we compare community being a vehicle, we can view prayer as being the navigation system. Prayer keeps us on mission and reroutes us as needed. In community, we develop deep relationships by navigating the highs and lows together and coming together in prayer. We were never meant to do life alone, and prayer is not the last resort option. 

Prayer is primary. 

“You don’t have to trouble, trouble, to trouble you,” is a saying that I would hear often growing up, and it is so true. Life happens. It can catch us off guard. We can have a five-year plan, but that can all shift in a blink of an eye. In these moments, we can lean on the embrace of community within the seams in prayer. God is not surprised by potholes or diversions; in fact, he already has alternative routes that we can use and remain on mission. We reroute in prayer. 

When we establish a strong community, we can transport the gospel further than imagined. We do this by always making room for others, and in doing so, our lives cease to be selfishly inward, and our legacy is one of life. 

We transport the good news and invite others to be on mission with us.

We don’t back down; we step up. 

We don’t die; we multiply. 

This is community. 

written by

Mike Saathoff

Mike Saathoff is the Community Groups Leader at our 515 location. He and his wife Ashley moved from Orlando to serve on our staff team at Passion City Church and he has a heart for discipleship and building community.