If you’ve come to City Church long enough, you’ll quickly realise we have our CC (City Church)-isms; honourable mentions include the chorused ‘thanks be to God’ and the hip and chic nomenclature for what is more commonly known as fellowship – Gospel Communities (or GC, if ₦4 per text means anything to you). You may or may not also have heard the phrase ‘doing life together’ used during the weekly announcements. It is abundantly clear we like everything about community – the word, the concept and its implications.
Here at City Church, community is a key part of who we are – from the little, seemingly insignificant things like saying communal prayers together to our mission and values as a church. We strive to make our love and care for the community and its inhabitants known. It is important to us that we strive to attain a true and godly community for one main reason – it is a commandment that benefits us! (Which one doesn’t? But flow with me.) The second greatest commandment is to love our neighbours like ourselves. We also believe the church is like a body and a body is at its optimal level when all parts are in sync. Community is the way to get and keep all the proverbial body parts together and in sync.
The aim of striving for a solid authentic community is not to make us a homogeneous pool of Christians who read and enjoy the same bible version but to encourage us to develop authentic and sacrificial relationships with one another – crying, rejoicing and sharpening, when and where necessary.
Also, because God knows building true community will be no small feat; words of encouragement are littered all over the bible.
1 Thessalonians 5:14-15: and we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.
Galatians 6:2: Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
Colossians 3:12-15: Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
I can assure on one thing, the community at City Church, and anywhere in the world, is and will always be a mixed bag. We need to remember this when things eventually get rocky. Spoiler alert: It won’t always be smooth sailing.
Practical Ways We Encourage Community at City Church
- We do everything together, short of arriving and departing (but I’m sure if we could find a way we would). From the songs to the prayers – each aspect of the service is communal – even Q&A to Kingdom Prayer Days and Bible Reading Clusters.
- Gospel Communities – They are small groups where we live out the mission of the church. We SSPELLL (not a typo) together – Study the bible, Share with one another, Pray together, Eat together, Learn, Love and Laugh together. It’s the best and most efficient way to get plugged into the church. There are currently five Gospel Communities across the city: Maryland, Ikoyi, Lekki, Jakande and Agungi.
- TTT – We have a segment during the Sunday Service called This Time Tomorrow; it explores the life of a church member by asking what they will be doing this time tomorrow (Monday) when they are away from church – they talk about their triumphs and struggles at work, and we are encouraged to pray for them. The idea behind this is that we get to know people past their ‘bless you my brother / sister’ smiles.
- Meal and Fun day – It does what it says on the tin, we have fun whilst sharing a meal.
At City, we believe we are saved individually but we grow collectively – we are a community!
City Church Mission: BUILD A COMMUNITY OF WORSHIPPERS ON MISSION.
City Church Values: LOVE JESUS | LOVE PEOPLE | LOVE LAGOS
Lola [Olukogbon] writes because she can and writes for City Church because they’re family. Navigating her faith in the appropriate context without relegating it to a part of her whole has been her biggest discovery so far! She also writes at www.thelolaexperience.com BUT if you’re interested in more off-the-cuff commentary, she’s on twitter — where all her tweets are uniquely inspired by carbs, Christianity and the city of Stresselence, Lagos. (@UnOfficialLola)