“The physical presence of other Christians is a source of incomparable joy and strength to the believer.”

As a freshman in college, I was assigned the reading of Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Like most 18 year-olds, Bonhoeffer’s writing was far beyond the grasp of both my attention and my comprehension.

Years later, now, while working on the SERVE 2017 theme materials, I fell more and more in love with the very concept we’re trying to reiterate, Authentic Community. Seeking other resources that speak into Authentic Community, I naturally landed back at Bonhoeffer’s Life Together, The Classic Exploration of Christian Community. Older and hopefully wiser at this point in my life, I gobbled the book up like a good meal and started using quotes from it, asking questions about it and encouraging others to read it.

While Bonhoeffer faced trials that appear to be much different than those we face today (living during the Nazi regime and, ultimately, becoming a martyr) many of his thoughts, musings and observations collected in Life Together are still eminent today.

“In the community of the called you bear your cross, you struggle, you pray.”

The book ventures through four different aspects of Christian community; the day with others, the day alone, ministry and confession & communion. Each aspect is broken down into timeless pieces of advice that lead us back to our call to live in community and how we are to execute doing so. When reading, my constant thought was yes, this is what I want to be a part of. I want to be a part of a community who’s faith is so deeply rooted in Christ that it is all that matters.

“The more genuine and the deeper our community becomes, the more will everything else between us recede, the more clearly and purely will Jesus Christ and his work become the one and only thing that is vital between us.”

We so often get caught up in the media, soaking up every truth and falsity that comes our way without remembering our place in this world as Christians. Bonhoeffer’s book is a reminder that we’re a people who are called. We’re a part of a bigger story than what’s on the news, a part of the story of Christ on earth. Being a part of that story calls us to live, respond and interact in certain ways, and Bonhoeffer repeatedly points out that the Scriptures are very clear about what those ways are.

“We are the reverent listeners and participants in God’s action in the sacred story, the history of the Christ on earth.”

Because of its connectedness to the theme of SERVE 2017, the Youth Unlimited staff took the time to read through Life Together as well and to discuss together its many implications for SERVE and the experience students have during that week of their summer.

We’re so grateful to be able to give students the opportunity to experience Christian community at SERVE – the opportunity to begin each day in God’s Word, to worship together, to work for the Kingdom, to share meals together and to genuinely do Life Together. We’re grateful to be able to open the space for students to enter into koinonia, and we can’t wait to see the impact of SERVE 2017!

So would I recommend the book? I’d give the book 5 stars out of 5, so I would definitely recommend you read it, and then I’d say to be sure to follow along on our Facebook and Instagram pages this summer as our students study, grow in and learn Authentic Community. It’s going to be a special summer!