When God formed the Universe—when He created our wonderful Earth and made it our home—He did so in community. God existed in perfect, fulfilled, eternal community long before we became a part of His creation. Being triune, He created us not out of a need for companionship—not out of loneliness—but out of an overflow of His love and desire to bless us and bring glory to Himself. And when He made us, He did so in His own image.
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, after our likeness” ...so God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created Him; male and female He created them. -Genesis 1:26-27
Having been given His likeness, we are designed to exist in a community that reflects that which God Himself exists in. The fiber of our very being, formed in His image, longs for that community. We can know with certainty that God could not exist in a more perfect manner than He does (for then He would not be God), and in His perfection He exists in community. Thus, perfect existence is communal existence.
With that, we understand how we are to relate to others, our fellow image-bearers. God's very existence, as it were, is dependent on the way in which He exists: in community. Having been created in His image, the same is true for us.
The New Testament uses the term "one another" fifty-nine times. Love one another. Encourage one another. Bear one another's burdens. Forgive one another. Instruct one another. Be at peace with one another. The list goes on. When asked what the greatest commandment is, Jesus gives two parts: to love God, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. According to Jesus, God's Son–God Himself—the most important thing we can do is to treat our neighbor as we would ourselves.
The members of the Trinity simultaneously exist in community and as one. They Created together, they Redeem together, and they will Rule together. And thus, we, in God's image, live our lives in such a way so as to reflect the perfect unity of our Creator. We don't do community; we exist in it.
We wholeheartedly believe this at BridgePoint. So, as we begin our journey together, we want to do so as a people and a church who is reflecting God's image—the image we've been trusted with. As we lay the foundation to work towards our mission, we desire to do all things in the context of authentic community.
We admit, though, man's Fall limits our capacity to fulfill the type of community-living for which God fashioned us. The sinful nature we are born with corrupts the original intent for which we are designed. We need to be restored to grace, and so, we need a new nature.
The Gospel provides.
It gives us the new nature we so desperately need and restores us back, not only to our original relationship with God, but also to our original capacity for relationships with others. We are only able to experience true community because of the Gospel, and thus, community must be, if it is to be complete, centered on the Gospel.
Our community must be Gospel-centered.