The following quotes are from Larry Crabb’s The Safest Place on Earth which was rereleased in 2007 as Becoming A True Spiritual Community: A Profound Vision of What the Church Can Be. The three subheadings are mine:
We Were Made for Spiritual Community
“That cry from your heart is your longing to be part of a true church, to participate in spiritual community, to engage in spiritual conversations of worship with God and of co-journeying with others. You yearn for a safe place, a community of friends who are hungry for God, who know what it means to sense the Spirit moving within them as they speak with you. You long for brothers and sisters who are intent not on figuring out how to improve your life, but on being with you wherever your journey leads. You want to know and be known in conversations that aren’t really about you or anyone else but Christ.” (pg. 19).
“God has given us everything we need to develop substantial spiritual community, if not with many, then at least with a few. Most of us are not coming close. The tragedy is that many Christians think they are.” (pg. 158).
Communion With God Must Precede Community With Others
“…Worship is the heart of community…that true relationship with each other-what I call connecting or spiritual community-is not possible without rich and abiding communion with God…No one knows or is known fully by another without entering more fully into God’s presence” (pg. 39).
“I agree with Eugene Peterson that the job of the pastor is to teach people to pray, to lead Christians into worship. Everything else-evangelism, discipleship, youth ministry, everything-flows from worship…only a worshipping community will ever become a connecting community. We must meet God before we can share Him with others. A group of people who first connect with God and then pour into each other the passions that gush out of that encounter becomes a spiritual community. Worship is of first-order importance” (pg. 164).
“Spiritual community is always a miracle. It cannot be programmed into existence…We must therefore pray…Nouwen once pointed out that our approach to prayer is so different from our Lord’s. When He lived here, He prayed first, sometimes all night. Then He gathered a community around Himself. Then He sent them out to minister. We have it backward. We plan what we want to happen, complete with vision statements, short-term and long-term goals, and strategic initiatives, then we organize a team to help make it happen. And finally, with our plans in place, we commit them to the Lord. Spiritual community starts with prayer” (pg. 167).
Community Is A Safe Place To Own Our Need For God
“A central task of community is to create a place that is safe enough for the walls to be torn down, safe enough for each of us to own and reveal our brokenness” (pg. 11)
“Why is spiritual community so rare? I suspect it has to do with the requirement of brokenness. We’d much rather be impressively intact than broken. But only broken people share spiritual community” (pg. 27)
“Only a certain kind of community, what I am calling spiritual community, can cut through our commitment to safety from people and allow us to enjoy safety with people” (pg. 29).
“A spiritual community, a church, is full of broken people who turn their chairs toward each other because they know they cannot make it alone” (pg. 32).