Last week I shared that the theme of this week’s Conference is “Next Steps.” In Mark 3:14 we find some next steps Jesus took in his ministry – “He appointed 12—He also named them apostles—to be with Him, to send them out to preach.”
From this passage we are asking ourselves three questions:
- How can we be more intentional? (He appointed…)
- How can we be more relational? (…to be with Him)
- How can we be more missional? (…to send them out)
Today’s blog is some of what I taught about the importance of relationships, that second question.
How can we be more relational? Jesus invited the disciples to be with Him. He knew it wasn’t enough for them to hear his words, he wanted them to see his life. Ministry is all about relationships, nothing more, nothing less –our relationship with God and with each other. I believe that we are only as healthy as our “one anothers.”
We are only as healthy as our “one anothers!”
In fact, the phrase “one another” is used over 40 times in the New Testament. The Bible says we are to love one another, care for one another, encourage one another, support one another, forgive one another, be kind to another and the list goes on!
As I’ve visited our churches, one thing stands out, we really love each other and are committed to one another in our churches. My only concern is that we may be too inward focused. We must look for ways to improve the community to include others.
Pastors, we may think (and hope) people to come to church because of preaching, but in reality, most people come to and leave a church because of relationships. This is especially true among younger people. Millennials are looking for authentic the community, the very thing we can offer them in the church.
Recently I read this from a Millennial blogger:
Of the entire church experience, there is only one aspect which cannot be commoditized: the sacrificial love of biblical community. You can listen to a sermon podcast on your Monday morning commute. You can download the latest Hillsong album and worship while you do the laundry. BUT… You cannot stream, download, or otherwise replicate the sacrificial love expressed in the community in the local church. (by Chris Martin)
This is why relationships are so critical and should be a priority in building a healthy local church.
BEFORE YOU GO…
At Conference, we are challenging one another to take some next steps. I didn’t get a chance to share some next steps to help with our relationships, so here they are:
- Plan a personal spiritual retreat.
- Be part of a prayer meeting. (A lifeline for me was a pastors’ prayer group which met over the years. They became my best friends in ministry.)
- Join a small group.
- “Hang out” with people.
What are some other ways we can strengthen the “one anothers” in your life and church?