Christian community is a caring, sharing gathering of people who:
•Worship and praise God, and listen to God's word.
•Are sacramental: Baptism marks our adoption, and the eucharist our unity in Christ.
•Show what it means to live in God's kingdom.
•Aim for common ground and win-win resolutions.
•Embrace the diversity of all people, regardless of race, culture, gender, age, political views, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status.
•Embody civility and cooperation.
•Invite and welcome all.
•Accept all with unconditional, nonjudgmental love, including those society may shun (the alcoholic, cheating spouse, ex-offender, homeless).
•Model side-by-side, not top-down leadership models.
•Share a common set of values, with the core belief that God rules and we are God's children.
•Come together anywhere, anytime, wherever two or three are gathered in Jesus' name. Community members also desire their circle to grow, unlike a clique.
•Know community is more than a feeling. It's a conscious way of orienting one's life.
Source: Robert Hoyt, former director for program and new congregations, ELCA Division for Outreach.
© 2013 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers