Communitas vs. Community

One of Gateway’s small groups in the central Austin region has been going through Vince Antonucci’s Guerilla Lovers: Changing the World Through Revolutionary Compassion.  We had an insightful and powerful discussion last night on the issue of community vs. communitas.

Antonucci makes the following distinction to make his point:

“In community people bond, but the reason they’re together is self-interest. It’s ‘community for me’ not ‘me for the community’ as it is with communitas….  In communitas our purpose for bonding is to have a life-altering adventure we can engage in together.”

When have you experience true biblical community or “communitas” as opposed to what we have falsely claimed to be “community” which is more about a place to “huddle and cuddle”?

One of the exciting aspects to the discussion and the next steps includes a genuine move on the parts of our small group towards serving each other and serving others through our networks.  A network is made up of several small groups who come together to grow and serve through monthly events called Crowded House as well as through opportunities to serve .

Here is the official definition of a network: “a community of groups and individuals who serve holistically and grow spiritually as they do life together, tied together by cause, neighborhood, or affinity.” A shorter version is that “a network is a group of people who are the church to each other and to the world.”

Networks are where people are cared for and have the opportunity to care for others.

When have you experienced “communitas” rather than “community”?

Showing 2 comments
  • Ryan M Daugherty

    What a great challenge to engage with others for the sake of life-altering adventures. I wonder what the world would look like if that was everyone’s purpose for engaging.

  • Nic Nelson

    I came to Christ in college and experienced “communitas” first through InterVarsity, then as summer staff at a Christian camp on Catalina Island (Campus By the Sea), and again during almost 14 years with World Impact. Since leaving World Impact in 2003 it has been surprisingly difficult to create communitas again! It is more alchemy than chemistry, more art than science: it isn’t a matter of having the furniture arranged properly or doing the right things in the group, or saying the right words in the right way. All those things can posture a small group for communitas, but they don’t call the lightning.

    To experience genuine communitas, there needs to be three deeper things going on: a genuine hunger for God, even if it’s small as a mustard seed; a genuine openness to other people in the group; and a genuine act or movement of God.

    So if it is happening for you, don’t take it for granted! If it is not happening for you, seek God’s intervention as well as Eric’s wisdom!

Free Consultation

If you're interested in a free 30-min consultation with me, simply fill out this form and I'll contact you!