The Work of Christ Community, East Lansing, Michigan
A member of The Sword of the Spirit: sos-nar.com.

What is Christian Community

New Testament Christianity

Before He returned to heaven, Jesus made a promise to His followers. “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). This promise was fulfilled shortly after His ascension.

 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled the house where they were sitting…and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4).

 The lives of Christ’s disciples were transformed when they were baptized in the Holy Spirit. They allowed God to give them a new life and to use them to form a new society. God’s people became a visible and united family of believers. They lived a common life, a life devoted to Jesus Christ. Through their love for one another, the first Christians were able to convince others of the reality of Jesus Christ.

 All who believed were together and had all things in common. They sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need. Day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they partook of food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number those who were being saved (Acts 2:44-47).

 Contemporary Society

 Our society has changed a lot in recent decades. Unfortunately, much of this change is in opposition to the Christian way of life and Gospel values. Crime, dishonesty, abortion, broken marriages, drug abuse, the breakdown of neighborhoods, sexual promiscuity, materialism, and cynicism have increased at an alarming rate. There is no way to measure the emotional, psychological, and spiritual damage that is being done. Stress, anxiety, and worry have become part of the “normal” experience. Many people lack purpose and have few lasting, supportive relationships – they especially lack relationships that will help them love Jesus and live fully for Him.

 Our modern society has placed tremendous pressure on the churches. Fewer and fewer Christians are able to stand firmly in the face of moral decay. Many simply adopt the values of the secular society in which they live. Vision for and experience of a full Christian life lived in the context of a loving community of God’s people has, for the most part, been lost by today’s Christians.

 A New Society

 But, the Lord has not abandoned His people. He is actively working among Christians to restore among them the life He came to give. He is looking for men and women to be His disciples, to proclaim His Gospel, and to build His kingdom. Through the Holy Spirit, men and women can have a personal experience of God. They can receive power to dedicate themselves to Him and to live a life that glorifies Him. They can receive power to respond to the commandment of Jesus Christ: “that you love one another as I have loved you” (John 13:34).

 One result of this renewing work of the Holy Spirit is the rebuilding of Christian community. In community God’s people share their whole lives with one another in an environment of love and support: a new society - a new family - in which men, women, and children live “all out” for Jesus Christ and experience the abundant life that He came to give.

 What is Christian community?

 Christian community is created when people who have committed their lives to Jesus Christ agree to live for Him and serve Him together. People in community share their talents, their resources, and their day-to-day lives. They make a stable, often life-long, commitment to love and serve one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. They agree to work together in the mission God has given them to do. Single people, couples, and families find in Christian community an environment that helps them to grow in Christ and to live faithfully for Him.

 How did the Work of Christ get started?

 In the late 1960’s, a movement known as the Charismatic Renewal began to sweep through Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox churches. The Charismatic Renewal helped millions of Christians have a more personal and vibrant experience of the Holy Spirit. They began to exercise the spiritual gifts and found new freedom to praise and worship Jesus Christ.

 One of the earliest charismatic prayer meetings took place in East Lansing, Michigan. Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox Christians, many of them students at Michigan State University, would gather every Wednesday evening to worship God and share the love He was putting in their hearts for one another. This love continued to grow and so did a compelling sense of purpose and mission.

 In June of 1974, 87 people made an agreement, a covenant commitment, with one another and with the Lord to live fully for God as members of the Work of Christ Community.

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