The Product of Community

Article by: Bridgehaven Team


Counselors Reflect on Dangerous Calling by Paul Tripp
A Series to Care for the Care Takers of God’s People



“None of us is wired to live this Christian life alone. None of us is safe living separate and unknown. Each of us, whether pastor or congregant, needs the eyes of others in order to see ourselves with clarity and accuracy. And what is this daily ministry of intervention protecting us from? The answer should sober every one of us: the grace of having our private conversations interrupted by the insight-giving ministry of others is protecting us from becoming spiritually blinded to the point of the hardening of our hearts… personal spiritual insight is the product of community” (Paul David Tripp in Dangerous Calling, page 73).


Throughout high school, college, and seminary, I wrote many papers. One thing that I learned early was the importance of a proofreader. As much as I looked for errors and tried to correct things myself, I always missed something. It was amazing and humbling to give my paper to someone (that was my mom, usually because she had a knack for editing) and have red marks in places with suggestions or corrections that I just didn’t see. Because I was prone to make the same mistakes, I needed instruction to help correct them. Those corrections had to be pointed out by someone outside of myself. I was blind to them. The principle of proofreading can be applied to our spiritual lives as well. We need others to look into our lives and speak into them. They see things that we cannot (or will not) see. Though we are prone to make the same mistakes, we need the outside perspective of another.


Tripp states, “Personal spiritual insight is the product of community.” Do you see the paradox of that statement? Personal, according to Webster, is a word that means “Done in person without the intervention of another.” We have influencers that encourage the emphasis of the individual. The culture of the United States is one of autonomy and individualism, evidenced by the popularity of “do it yourself” material, and the emphasis on self-esteem and self-improvement. At first glance, it seems like “personal spiritual insight” then should be about the individual. Though the concept does have to do with the individual, we must remember that we live all of our lives before the face of God. He sees and knows all things (Heb. 4:12-13). We were created by God to worship and obey Him but our spiritual lives—especially insight into them—must involve community. God often speaks through his people. We see examples of how God uses people to admonish and instruct to his people in the lives of Jethro’s speaking to Moses (Ex. 18), Moredechai’s advice to Esther (Est. 4), Nathan’s confrontation of David (2 Sam. 12), and Barnabus’s encouragement of Paul (Acts 9:26-27). We cannot have “Personal spiritual insight” ourselves because it is the “product of community.” Community can help us see things that we do not see. As much as we would like to think that we “know ourselves,” the truth is that people may see sin in our lives that we are blinded to see. Though being known can be scary, it is necessary and essential to personal spiritual insight. 


Join us as we explore “Dangerous Calling” by Paul David Tripp.

To order a copy of your own of Paul Tripp’s book click on the link below.

535826: Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry By Paul David Tripp / Crossway Books & Bibles