So, I've been thinking quite a lot recently about community in the church. I was reading a chapter in a book called Small Group Leaders Handbook about community in small groups and I came across these interesting statements:

Things Overheard in a Community-less Small Group
1. “What was your name again?”
2. “Well, since no one has any prayer requests … ”
3. “Did anyone meet with their one-on-one last week?”
4. “Well, since it looks like no one else is coming, let’s just forget it for this week.”
5. “I’m just here for the Bible study. I already have friends.”

Four Barriers to Community
1. Time constraints. All those jobs, classes and study sessions have to go somewhere. Relationships are hard to schedule, so they often end up neglected.

2. Individuality. When we’re taught to look out for number one, it’s hard to “look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4).

3. Brokenness. The trust necessary to build community is weak to nonexistent in those whose families have been a lot less than healthy. The many people with divorced parents have a huge obstacle to overcome. Abuse of any kind makes trusting almost perilous.

4. Immaturity. It takes some students a good year or two before they really understand (and commit to) the value of community. And before they do, they don’t know they aren’t. Much grace, patience and persistence is required.