Julian Goldswain and friends, hiking in Cape Town

Article | Building Kingdom Community

Right from the start of creation, Jesus modelled community as he, God the Father and the Spirit hovered over the waters. A love for community is an integral part of our King’s nature. As we surrender more of ourselves to Him, a desire to build and be in community with other people will become part of our new nature, too.

I’ve learned that surrounding myself with people far further down the track in any pursuit inspires and teaches me what is possible.

Before my baptism, I wanted to be a Springbok dinghy sailor and regularly travelled South Africa to compete against the best.  Now, my ultimate desire is to be the best example I can be for other Christians.  I count myself privileged to have experienced a small taste of the community that Andrew Selley and a few friends began living out in his Port Elizabeth home some 21 years ago – just before he planted Joshua Generation Church.  We braaied, laughed, surfed, did crazy Spring swims, cried, experienced the Holy Spirit moving and spoke prophetically over one another.

Jesus was always including people completely different to him.

He called out the gold in others.  He focused on the unlikely ones.  I know I’m a trophy of his undeserving grace and that I’m one of those least likely to follow Jesus. In fact, I ran pretty hard in the opposite direction of church until he called me back in a mental hospital from near self-destruction.  Just like Jesus consistently loves, prays, gently reminds me of how to live purely, I’m learning to do the same for others.

At this point, you might be asking, “But how did you build community?”.  There’s no easy formula.  It starts in your heart with an honest desire to do what Jesus has done for you.

Moving day with Darryl and some of his employees

As you have been discipled by Him and other godly leaders, so you can disciple one other person to be more like Jesus. Start there. The world changes one person at a time.

Back in 2005 our family of three relocated from Melkbosstrand and started meeting with two people (a Burundian car guard and an unsaved acquaintance) in a Greek restaurant in Sea Point.  Within three years, two turned into 40 frothing Christians packed into our massive lounge, as one person discipled another.  Ten people, including Ryan and Lelani Kingsley, relocated to Cape Town’s city centre and all 50 of us started City Bowl congregation in Sea Point, on the promenade. They’ve since planted out two more congregations.

This year my wife, Chantelle, and I heard the Holy Spirit to move to the Wynberg congregation and we relocated again from Pinelands to Fish Hoek with our two sons.  Recently we started up a new community group in a support role and have now taken over leading the Fish Hoek community.  We have a renewed fire and urgency to build with new friends and strangers.  

A family braai with some friends from the Wynberg congregation

We’re really just loving one person at a time into family. From showing grace and love to the manifesting demoniac at the public library (he literally was cursing me for no reason just after our move) to spontaneously inviting the neighbours strolling past our gate to our housewarming, people are coming into our home and experiencing Jesus.

We’re living out the example life and they’re experiencing Jesus through us. It could be a prophetic worship session on a Wednesday, an early morning breakfast building a bridge with a youth leader from another church, inviting our unsaved neighbours to a housewarming, or discipling a young couple over dinner.

Whatever you’re doing next, think about how you can include new visitors to church, the lonely or the lost into that hike, gym session, or mundane weekly shop. We’re thinking outward, including people into our lives and prepared to go wherever the Spirit leads.

Julian Goldswain

Julian Goldswain

Julian is a pro photographer, the husband of but one wife Chantelle and father to two skinny teenagers. They're "living the dream" in the quaint seaside resort of Fish Hoek, Cape Town, where they're loving neighbours, friends and the unlovables into family.

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