One of my personal goals is to strengthen how we build relationships in our church. How can we be more thoughtful and helpful to the people in our community who need Christian brothers and sisters?
Jesus left us three sources of help when He established the church: the Holy Spirit, the Bible, and one another. These are our comfort, power, guidance, instructions, and support for the Christian life. We need all three in every season of life.
Last year I suggested the book Sticky Church to one of the members of the Community Life Group Council, and our staff has read part of the book together, reflecting on one chapter a week. It opened my eyes to how important close Christian friends and “small groups” are in a church.
Think about all the “one another” passages in the Bible (there are between 46-55, depending on how you count them). In John 13:34-35 it says:
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
We just memorized these two verses this summer!
So let me ask you, can we accomplish that on a Sunday morning within a one-hour service?
Paul told us to be devoted to one another, and honor one another (Romans 12:10). Can you do that without knowing each other?
Peter says to live in harmony with one another (1 Peter 3:8) and to offer hospitality to one another (1 Peter 4:9). This means pursuing peace, hosting, and serving one another.
In Romans 14 and 15, Paul tells us to welcome and accept one another, yet still instruct one another. To the Corinthians, he encouraged them to wait for one another before they eat (1 Corinthians 11:33). To the Galatians, he urged them to serve one another (Gal. 5:13) and carry one another’s burdens (Gal. 6:2). In 1 Thessalonians 4 and 5, Paul inspires them to encourage one another. All throughout the New Testament we are commanded to forgive one another.
We just finished our James series; didn’t he prompt us to confess our sins with one another and then pray for one another? How can we do that with strangers? Don’t we have to become close enough to understand and love one another, including our faults?
The point is, you can’t “one another” unless you get together in smaller, more relational groups or settings. Community Life Groups are not the ONLY way to do that, but they are Grace’s standard method of helping those within our church body connect with other believers in a closer way.
[Editor’s note: If you are interested in joining a Community Life Group, come to Grouplink this Sunday at noon in the Fireside Room!]
We can’t be the church God designed us to be without real community. I encourage you to develop more intimate relationships with other believers in the church. Ask God to help you identify and maintain godly friendships. How can you be a good friend to others?
This Sunday Pastor Dave will be preaching on 2 Timothy 3. He, Jeff Reimer, and Ricki Greer are gearing up to teach an apologetics class at Grace on Sunday mornings this fall (I wish I could attend also!).
I am praying for you, dear church. I’m glad to be brothers and sisters in Christ, uniting together for the same purpose: to love God, love people, and lead others to do the same.