Only in recent years have I come to see the Doctrine of the Trinity as essential to a full understanding of community among the faithful and healthy group formation. The interaction of Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer—Father, Son, and Spirit—in the Godhead provides fresh insight into God’s expectations for any community of believers.
In Discovering the Other: Asset-Based Approaches for Building Community Together, Cameron Harder points out that although we have been baptized in the Triune name—“Father, Son, and Holy Spirit”—we fail to acknowledge it, especially in the way that we function in community. Harder suggests that “God’s Trinitarian life is, at least in some ways, the source and model for our human community.” (p. 21). This suggests some principles for building humanity community (pp. 22ff):
is built out of conversation.
conversation is adjustment to the other.
is a web of relationships.
is at the heart of community.
is normal and necessary in healthy communities.
multiplies when it is distributed.
These principles certainly apply to the development of a healthy group. If we are aware of these principles, we will be more intentional in providing a climate in which the Spirit of God can work.
Molly Marshall expresses the process in this way in an article in the Review and Expositor journal: “When the community expresses its life as Imago Trinitatis, certain practices ensue: Generativity, Humility, Hospitality, Diversity. . . . Trinitarian life is shared life; it is welcoming of that which is other—even the humanity of the incarnate one.”
The example of the Trinity calls us to the highest and most productive expression of relationship.