We at the Talmidei Yeshua Fellowship have been deeply convicted to gather together not as the typical congregation but as a Believing community. There are many important differences between these two concepts. Understanding these differences and realizing why we should assemble as a community as opposed to a typical congregation is critical to both individual and collective growth, to spreading the Word, and to serving others as Yeshua commanded us.
The first distinction is found in the very purpose of assembling. While a great deal of emphasis has been placed on assembling together throughout the millennia, the idea of a congregation does not pay much attention to why believers should gather together. Many people will answer saying that it is a Biblical order (for indeed it is) to do so, but they do not truly understand the heart of this commandment. Some find it an effective, entertaining pastime for an otherwise long, tedious day without work. Others believe it is a place to learn new things about Scriptures. Still others believer it is a place to socialize with people of similar belief and priorities.
None of these emphases, though, properly align with the Scriptural explanation. The idea of a community, on the other hand, is based on Hebrews 10:24-25: “And let us be concerned for one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging, and so much more as you see the Day coming near.” In a community, believers are told by the Word to focus themselves on encouraging and helping each other to prepare vigorously for the coming Day. Believers gather to learn from each other, to be encouraged by one another, and to compliment each other’s abilities to better glorify our Father, not through mere attending of services but through working together continually to further the Kingdom of Heaven.
To make the community possible, believers must recognize a critical obstacle that will inevitably be met – slander and gossip. These two sins of the tongue (which reflect the evil of the heart, Luke 6:45) are the root of nearly all strife and quarreling in both congregations and communities: “Where do fights and strivings come from among you? Do they not come from your pleasures that battle in your members?” (James 4:1) Surprisingly, vanquishing these two destructive vices is very simple, though very challenging: “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Master, and He shall lift you up” (James 4:10). The key to fellowship in the Body of Messiah is to set aside one’s pride and to selflessly live for others, serving one another, as our Master demonstrated.