Beloved Family: the Intimacy of Church Community

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logo 1Over the next few weeks we’ll be producing a blog series titled “Building Bridges Across the Generational Divide.” As you read a variety of perspectives from women from different walks of life and different generations, we hope that you’ll feel encouraged and challenged to reach out with grace, understanding, and empathy to connect with those in a different generation.

Beloved Family: the Intimacy of Church Community

By Sarah Beliveau

After we tore ourselves away from them … Acts 21:1

The Intimacy of Church as Family

Tore. When I read that for the first time in context, it tore my own heart up and set my eyes to leaking uncontrollably.

The chapter prior describes a group of leaders weeping, kissing, embracing, and grieving at the idea that they would not see Paul again. A graphic image of heartbreak that cut to my heart. With that image came the ever-growing revelation: That is what Jesus came to establish. A Church that loved one another so deeply that it would tear them up to lose their brother.

They will know we are Christians by our love for one another! He meant for there to be a deep, intimate kind of love and affection between the children of God that would reflect the deeply intimate love and affection between Christ and the Father.

As I ponder this idea of deep familial love, I can’t help but comment on what I believe to be a major, if not the major, mode that God designed in order that this level of affection might develop: our actual, literal homes functioning as the center for “ministry.”

It has been a common thought in the American Church that ministry happens in the church building, or at a soup kitchen, or in an office designated for counseling, and home is a sanctuary away from all that draining work.

I just have a hard time seeing that model in Paul’s life. He actually lived with the Ephesians. He worked side by side with them and lived in such a way that after just three years, there was such a great love that they wept and grieved deeply when they had to say goodbye.

This kind of affection develops when you’ve invited someone into your actual, real, “mundane life” and let them see what it looks like to live as Christ, as well as how to love in the midst of all the real-life scenarios that are bound to occur while on your home turf.

Ponder: Do you live your real life with your church family? Older generations: Are you inviting people into your homes, showing them what real life looks like, and allowing for deep love to be developed in a family context? (In Ephesians 3:17-18, Paul prays that “they would be rooted and firmly established in love, and will be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love.” That requires actually knowing one another!) Younger generations: Are you searching out the mothers and fathers in your church family, the teachers and wise ones who have gone before you, and truly becoming disciples that eat and drink with them?

Prayer: Father, I pray that each generation of Your children would understand the kind of love You have for Your Son. I pray that they would see the reality of the Church and that those in it are meant to love one another with the same kind of love – developed in the way you designed: family. Homegrown love with Christ at the center. Amen.

Beliveau Sarah

WELCOME, FRIENDS. I’m Sarah Beliveau, a creative soul who loves Jesus! I’m most interested in seeing the gospel lived in the everyday moments, and I long to express beauty and truth through the creative arts. I live life together with an amazing community, in the perfect (well, in my ever so humble opinion) New England region. I am a chronic pain overcomer, traveling hair stylist, mental-health advocate and caretaker, mentor, artist and designer, aspiring actress, writer, and basically lover of all things creative. I’m so thankful you’re here, traipsing together through the wild journey we call life. You’re loved, and oh so welcome.

Sarah is a member of by design’s WeConnect Leadership Team. Read more about WeConnect!