Here is sound advice for growing healthy Kingdom communities.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s, Life Together, never fails to satisfy, or to pique some new insight to what it takes to build a Kingdom community. This is a book for church leaders to read and study together. I’ve read this book several times, but having just finished reading and discussing it with the Brothers of the Fellowship of Ailbe, I think it’s a good time to reflect on some of its many positive points.
Bonhoeffer argues that community and mission go together. If either is lacking, the other will suffer. The more fervent we are about each, the stronger and more evident the Kingdom will become in our midst.
Kingdom community is life with others – living, working, worshiping, and enjoying one another in the Lord. It begins in the lives of individual believers, as they seek the Lord Jesus through the disciplines of prayer, solitude, and the Word. We will not have the vision or strength to work for the Kingdom and community of Christ unless we begin each day immersed in Him. Here Bonhoeffer especially emphasizes the use of the psalter in growing in the Lord together.
The chapter on ministry is worth the price of the book all by itself. Bonhoeffer’s view of ministry is that every saint is called to it and must be equipped for it. Ministry occurs in the course of our daily lives, as we follow the Spirit and draw on His power to extend the grace of God to the people in our lives, especially those who are members of Christ’s body.
As we grow together, we can be transparent with one another about our sins, and this will help us to increase in Christ, especially as we meet with Him in communion together.
I wouldn’t call Life Together a profound book. Rather, it covers the basics of what pastors and church leaders should be working for with all the members of their churches. If we follow Bonhoeffer’s prescriptions – which follow the Word of God closely – we may expect to see more of the righteousness, peace, and joy of the Kingdom experienced and expressed through our church and its members.