What We Can Learn from Jesus and Video Game Designers

Core Value Three: Authentic Community

A few weeks ago, as I scrolled through the daily news stories on Yahoo, I came across an intriguing article from Business Insider on a man named Markus Persson. What caught my attention was the headline, “I’ve never felt more isolated: The man who sold Minecraft to Microsoft for $2.5 billion reveals the empty side of success.” For those of you not up on your video game culture (like me), Markus Persson is a Swedish video game programmer and designer who reportedly has a net worth of a paltry $1.5 billion. Yes, that last word is with a B and not an M.

In one of his more transparent tweets he shared, “Hanging out in ibiza with a bunch of friends and partying with famous people, able to do whatever I want, and I’ve never felt more isolated.”

O.K. before we go too far thinking this is an isolated case or something we can’t relate to, let me tell you that Markus does have a valid point – that you can be around people all day long and still feel isolated and lonely because interaction does not guarantee connection.

According to a recent article titled, Loneliness Is Deadly author Jessica Olien states that close to 40% of adults in our country indicate they are lonely -a number that has doubled in the last 30 years. In another study, The National Science Foundation reported that more than a quarter of the people they interviewed indicated they have no one with whom they can talk about their personal troubles or triumphs. If you take out immediate family members that number also doubles. It is the great irony of our age that we have never been better connected, yet more adrift.

So what does this have to do with church planting and Renovate Church Austin? A LOT! You see, community is one of the central themes throughout all of scripture and one of our greatest needs as people. Think about it, community existed even before the beginning of time and is rooted in the very nature of God. We were created for relationship. So fundamental is the need for community that even in the most perfect environment mankind ever experienced, the Garden of Eden, “alone” was deemed “not good” (Genesis 2:18).

Furthermore, Jesus’ entire journey was undertaken through community. He modeled togetherness by starting community with twelve disciples with whom he did life and ministry. Not only did Jesus’ model community but the early church modeled it as well: “every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:46-47).

This all came home to me at our last core team meeting on Sunday night as we went through a group exercise to better understand the needs of people in our community. Almost every person identified the most important need (other than the gospel itself) as genuine relationships and community due to the thousands of people who move to Austin every year and the fast paced culture. As one of our close friends commented, “most people in my world have relationships that are an inch deep and a mile wide. They could probably count on one hand the number of people who would truly be there for them in a time of crisis.” For these reasons we’ve chosen authentic community as one of our most important core values. It really is about relationships!

Have a great week!

Dave and April