FEBRUARY 17 SEMINAR - "INTERPRETING THE BIBLE" (DR. ROB PLUMMER) - REGISTER HERE

compelling.PNG

Several of you have asked how you can personally grow in deepening your relationships with others in our church since we do not have Community Groups as a formal ministry currently. In this post, I want to think through some ways we as a church can invest in relationships outside our weekly rhythms of Celebration Gatherings on Sundays and Mid-Week Gatherings on Wednesdays. 

A Biblical Mandate

Scripture tells us that love for other Christians shows us to be true Christians (1 John 2:10–11). Love for other Christians demonstrates the power of the gospel to the watching world (John 13:35). Love for other Christians makes for an eternally rewarding investment (Luke 16:9). Love for other Christians is primarily how we live out the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22–23). Love is a relational term can only be understood properly in the context of interpersonal relationships. This can seem hard to introverts like me because these commands imply that it is impossible for a true Christian to be isolated, to not open to others, to not be interested in their lives – their joy and sufferings.  In our church, we want to see relationships where it is normal to talk about spiritual things and intentionally encourage one another towards Christ.

A Gospel Motivation

If we are to grow in our love for one another, we must look at the gospel as our motivation. Specifcally, our disposition toward one another ought to be foundationally rooted in and flow from considering Christ and his disposition toward us.

Therefore, welcome one another as Christ as welcomed you, for the glory of God. (Romans 15:7)

Our heart toward one another ought to be one of welcoming one another, embracing one other, being patient with one another, listening to one another, encouraging one another. Why? Because Christ has welcomed us, he has embraced us wholly (in spite of our sins and weaknesses), he listens to us, he encourages us, he strengthens us. The nature of Christ’s welcome came as great cost to himself. His very body broken for our sins, his soul crushed under the wrath of God – immense sacrifice. So it should not surprise us that our welcome of one another will cost something – cost us our comfort, our preferences, our tendencies avoid those we find difficult, our inclination to only care about our needs instead of others. Brothers and sisters, this ought not be the case for the people of God, we ought to welcome one another AS Christ has welcomed us, for the glory of God.

How Can You Grow?

  1. Pray – We need the Holy Spirit to fill us and motivate us to welcome one another as Christ has welcomed us. There is no other place to start since the Spirit is the source of our love for others.
  2. Act – We must take steps to obey Christ. Below are a few ideas of how anyone in any season of life can grow in welcoming one another by welcoming one another into our lives as Christ has welcomed us.

Ideas for Welcoming One Another

For Families

  1. Invite another family over for a meal or coffee. One of the simplest ways to get to know other families in the church on a deeper level. If finances are tight, consider having people over for coffee or making something very simple/cheap.
  2. Invite a single person over for a meal. Single people can often be overlooked in the church. Consider how you can welcome a few college students or an older single person in the church by inviting them over for a meal or taking them out for a meal.
  3. Invite yourselves over but bring the meal. This is a good idea if you are aware that it is hard for the other family to go out. This is a great idea for singles to consider as well!
  4. Invite more than one family over at once. Not only is this a great way to work on relationships between you and others, but you can also facilitate relationships between others.
  5. Invite a new church visitor over for lunch after the church service. You could Make a meal (crockpot or timed bake) that will be ready after church and have extra servings. You could also invite a new visitor to our church to lunch with you if you already plan to go out to eat after church. You could also ask What a wonderful way to welcome a guest the first time they visit our church!
  6. Use the food from Common Pantry Room for hosting an event. This ministry has already been a blessing to many families in the church. Reach out to Joy Bice for an event you are planning to host and she will be able to help save items for meals for your event. 

For singles - young and old

  1. Ask an older person in the church if you can go out for coffee or a meal to hear about God’s faithfulness in their lives. Our hope is that younger believers would feel comfortable asking older mature Christians to encourage them in the faith.
  2. Invite a younger person in the church to regularly meet and read the Bible together. We desire older mature Christians to be looking for ways to intentionally invest in younger people in the church.

These are just a few ideas. What other ideas do you have? I would love to make this list longer!

Intentional Spiritual Conversations

We desire to be a church where it is normal to talk about spiritual things. This does not mean we cannot talk about sports, politics, football, or kids – but that it would be unusual to have a conversation about anything without a spiritual grounding from which all our life ought to flow. We want relationships to go deeper and feel comfortable speaking about spiritual things but spending time just getting to know others and showing interest in whatever they want to talk about is not wasted time. However, if our conversations consist of everything except spiritual matters, we would want to encourage you to take things deeper. Below are some questions to consider making a part of conversations as you seek to grow in relationship with one another. Think about some of these questions before getting together with people. Think about what you would like to know about them. What do you think would encourage them? How do you think you could serve them?

For People You Are Initially Getting to Know

  1. How did you become a believer?
  2. Tell me about your family and upbringing?
  3. How did you end up deciding to come to our church?
  4. What is something I could pray for you for in this season?

For People You Know Well

  1. How have you seen the Lord’s faithfulness in your life recently?
  2. How has the Lord used the sermons recently to encourage you and challenge you?
  3. What is an area of your life that you are asking the Lord to help bring change in your life?
  4. What is something I could pray for you for in this season?

Praying, Reading, and Singing Together

We desire it to be normal for people in our church to pray together and sing together in a variety of everyday life contexts they find themselves in together.

  1. Sing a song or read a psalm before eating your meal together.
  2. Read a Daily Meal Liturgy from Every Moment Holy before the meal and then using the discussion prompts to transition into talking about ways you see God working.
  3. Ask how you could pray for each other and spend time praying for each other and encouraging one another with God’s promises from
    his Word.

Conclusion

One aspect of our mission statement is that we want to display in a small way the beauty of the gospel. Our sacificial and joyful love for one another ought to be a mark of this church and may it be a means by which visitors and guests would see a compelling community of Christans and give glory to God.