As we say goodbye to an eventful summer and head quickly into fall, I’ve been ruminating on the memories of our various gatherings and big moves over the last number of months. I must say that I’m encouraged by so many things that I see transpiring within and outside of Communitas.
When the board asked me to accept the role of President/CEO, the first thing I said was, “Are you nuts? Another white middle aged American man?” And they said yes – not based on being white and middle aged, but because of what I promised I would try to accomplish in this role.
There are three top priorities that arose then and drive me now and all of them are in various stages of development currently.
1.To attain a financial position that will support Communitas now and well into the future.
2. To recruit, equip, train, and release next-generation leaders into the mission field.
3. To bridge the gap between what has been and what is to come.
“Bridging the gap” is a really perilous place to be and from which to lead. We have 50 years behind us as an organization, and hopefully many decades in front of us. But I think those of us who have been around for a while can agree that culture, world dynamics, technology, etc., have changed dramatically, not only in our lifetimes, but especially in the last 10 years.
So, how do we hold to the foundations of the past while welcoming in the future with the assurance of the hope of Jesus which has been unchanging for over 2,000 years? There is not a simple answer. However, there are some invariables that I want to make clear.
First, there is a war among us. Words are co-opted, weaponized, and brother and sister are turning against brother and sister on non-essentials. I encourage all of us to re-read the Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. Ultimately, the thing that saves and conquers the world is the Love of God (yes, both are capitalized, because God is Love – proper nouns for both!).
Second, despite the cultures we find ourselves in, there are some non-negotiables. Primary is the authority of Scripture. “Authority” is VERY different from “authoritarian” or “authoritarianism.” Authority is based on TRUTH. Authoritarian and authoritarianism are structures instituted by man to control a populace.
The revelation of God through the Scriptures is TRUTH. AND, the revelation of God (through on-going experiences, answers to prayer, visions, dreams, even hardship) continues to this day (extra-Biblically, if you will) to those who follow Jesus. Communitas has been, is, and always will be an organization that seeks wisdom both from the ancient Scriptures and from the on-going movement of the Holy Spirit among us.
Third, especially now, people are drawn to authenticity, love, communion, community, and mission. People are not drawn to and, in fact, avoid, dogma, fear tactics, “authoritarian” structures, and all that has caused pain and trauma in the past.
Friends, I choose to stand in the gap. I believe the world has never been more ripe for the love of Jesus than it is today. What do we do? We start and shape communities of faith that LOVE like Jesus in their neighborhoods. Why? To transform lives, transform neighborhoods, and to transform the world.
The work IS hard, the challenges are mighty. But take a look around our family of co-journeyers and see, hear, smell, and taste the aroma of Christ that is overwhelming among us. Listen to the Communitas Podcast to hear such stories. Share them openly with others. Together, we can bridge the gap between what has been and what lies ahead, all in the name of the Love of Jesus.
Keep going, my friends. Keep going.
Geoff Rinehart, president of Communitas, is passionate about building teams and helping to create authentic community. Geoff leads Chi Rho, a faith community focused on discipleship and “being the church” with an emphasis on seeing real-life change. He brings this experience into his leadership of Communitas and enjoys assisting people read and understand the Scriptures in their historical, literary, and linguistic context.