TOPIC 4: LIFE-GIVING COMMUNITIES
SESSION 1 It’s WE Who Build Community
- If we say societies are only as good as the families that they are made of, the community is only as good as its members, including its “weakest link.”
- Assessing Where Our Community Is At
Ask these questions to get you started in assessing your community (household, unit, chapter, all of CFC-FFL)
- How’s the membership? How many and is it increasing monthly, quarterly, yearly?
- What is the profile of your members?
- How are the relationships of your members with each other?
- How’s the attendance in gatherings?
- How many of actual members are active in activities and service?
- How involved are members in the work of evangelization?
- How many of them are active in the parish? As CFC-FFL or as parishioners?
- Do your members know the mission, vision, charism and core values of CFC-FFL?
- Do your members live out the mission, vision, charism and core values?
- How is the witness of your members? Are they good Christian witnesses growing in holiness and love?
- What keeps your members staying in the community?
- Do you get regular feedback from them?
- How is the prayer life of your members?
- Do you have a strong, active and regular intercessory group who pray for the community and its members, as well as for the Church and the world?
- How convinced and convicted are your members about the defense for family and life?
- What are the major problems, concerns, issues of your community?
- What are the expressed needs of your members?
- Is there a balance of the 5 tools of growing in the Spirit prayer, study, service, fellowship and sacraments) in your community?
- (study, prayer, service, witness
- The Ideal Christian Community: Acts 2
“Peter (said) to them, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is made to you and to your children and to all those far off, whomever the Lord our God will call.”
He testified with many other arguments, and was exhorting them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”
Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand persons were added that day. They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their property and possessions and divide them among all according to each one’s need.
Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple area and to breaking bread in their homes. They ate their meals with exultation and sincerity of heart, praising God and enjoying favor with all the people. And every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved. (Acts 38-47)
- What were the qualities of the early Christian community in Acts 2?
- They devoted themselves to:
- Teaching (They were eager to be mentally nourished with the teachings of Christ through the apostles.)
- Communal life (They came together united by Christ, with the same spirit of love that Christ lived and died for.)
- Breaking of the Bread (They came together to celebrate the Eucharist and be spiritually nourished by Christ.)
- Prayers (They prayed together.)
- They were in awe because of the many wonders and signs through the apostles. (Because they had so much of the Holy Spirit in their leaders, the community witnessed many wonders and signs. Miracles occurred and people were amazed!)
- They held things in common, divided them and shared them, each according to their need. (There was such an amazing unity and love that they just wanted to share with everyone. What belonged to one person belonged to everyone. They gave according to need, not right.)
- They met together and broke bread in each others’ homes. (They assembled/congregated because they felt they had so much to say and share about their love for Christ and the love that bound them. They had a wonderful relationship of friendship that made them eat together and share their stories with one another as friends and brothers and sisters.)
- They ate meals with exultation and sincerity of heart. (They ate with great rejoicing. Their joy must have been so infectious. And they were sincere in what they thought, said and did.)
- They praised God and enjoyed the favor with all people. (They had hearts of gratitude, clearly telling God how wonderful and awesome He is. And because of the joy, sincerity and gratitude, they drew others to themselves. People wanted to be like them. They attracted others by their witness to want to join the community.)
- Every day God added to their number those who were being saved. (They just kept growing in membership because of their great sense of community that others witnessed. People wanted what they had.)
- When we look at what the early Christian community did, how much of our community is like them or unlike them? Do we see the same things in our community today or not?
- Practical Tips To Making Our Community More Like the Early Christian Communities, and Thus, Life-Giving and Spirit-Filled
- SHARE – time, talent, treasure. Be generous.
- MEET regularly. The more you assemble in the name of the Lord, the more He can bless you as a community.
- BUILD relationships. Build the love, get to know each other’s stories.
- BE a people of JOY and HOPE. Sincerity, too. It’s infectious. People will want to have what you have. They also can tell if you really care or not.
- BE forever GRATEFUL. A grateful heart feels no sense of entitlement but counts his/her blessings and sees God working in his/her life all the time.
- Other tips:
- Person-to-Person is the only way to go. You build the community one person at a time. Every soul, every person counts.
- Genuine Love must be your driving force as you interact with members of the community.
- Witnessing of elders and leaders is important. Members are always looking to you for inspiration, guidance, etc.
- There has to be a balance between teaching, service and socials.
- Intercede for your members/fellow members and the community. We need protection from the Evil One.
- Train even the new members. Give them responsibilities.
- We need teachings for nourishment, as well as spiritual nourishment from the Eucharist, other sacraments and prayers.
- Strengthen the outreach dimension but don’t let it overpower everything else.
- Encourage occasional intergenerational activities so the WHOLE community can come together and bond.
What of the early Christian community kept them filled with the Spirit?
What can you bring to our community to make it more life-giving (either based on the talk or according to your own ideas)?