How well do you know some of your fellow church members? I don’t just mean their name, that on most Sundays they’re doing “good”, and a few standard facts about them. I’m not advocating for knowing more about people. I’m suggesting that it’s time to invest ourselves into deeper relationships with our family in Christ!
While there are many negative views of the church in our society, and regretfully among Christians as well, the New Testament has a very high view of the church, demonstrated by the value placed on it by Jesus, who “loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25), who also proclaimed, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18)! Yes, the church has failed all too often, even in the New Testament, but that is our call not to abandon the church, but to rise up and step out in faith to be the prevalent church that Jesus has ransomed us to be!
What that means in a society where relationships are failing miserably is to stand out with strong relationships, first, with God, and second, with one another. The Bible contains 59 “one another” commands to guide us in proper relationships with our fellow church members. The foundation of all of those commands is bearing a sacrificial love for one another as characterized by the love of Christ Himself! However, that love does not even touch its full potential if we do not first seek to know one another more deeply!
How do we look as a church? How are your relationships with other church members? How well do you truly know them? How well are you truly known? Here are some ways we can grow in our relationships together to build deeper relationships that portray the depth of Christ’s love:
- Get together! Believe it or not, Hebrews 10:24-25 does not merely apply to Sunday mornings. Go to lunch together, have a coffee before work, run together, pray together, or find some common ground on which you can spend some time together.
- Come to church! The gathering of believers to worship God corporately is, however, a vital place to regularly build up one another as we grow together. To neglect this for all other pursuits of relationships is to miss the beauty of the sum of the parts!
- Go out of your way to talk to someone new! Don’t just dwell in old friendships. Few lives would be changed if new relationships were not regularly pursued! Make a difference by reaching out to an unfamiliar face, having a conversation with a senior member or even a child, and caring about everyone.
- Be vulnerable! You don’t have to spew complaints, but share part of yourself in a way that commits trust to others. You can’t be truly known with your guard up secure. You might even find some reciprocation and the opportunity to get to know someone else more deeply as well.
- Come alongside someone! Noticed someone was down? Seeing a need you can meet? Take the time to invest a listening ear and ask how they are doing! Go out of your way to help others and be a blessing!
- Call or text someone – just because! It’s always a nice surprise to hear from someone without strings attached. Ask them how they’re doing. Let them know you are praying for them, and that you appreciate them!
- Invite someone over! Letting others into your home shares a different part of you and can create opening to connect on a different level. This is where you do life, and you are interested enough and care enough about them to include them.
Being a community in Christ is abundant in blessings. Let us not miss the riches of relationships with our spiritual family by being withdrawn, private, or too busy. Let us know and love each other to enjoy and experience God’s blessings more fully!