“We make this mistake quite often in our approach to church. It’s an interesting dynamic. Someone says to you, ‘Where do you fellowship?’ Then you mention the church you attend. But let’s be honest, most of us don’t fellowship there—we attend there. Fellowship doesn’t happen when we show up just barely on time for church, hang out in the lobby for a few minutes afterward, head to our cars, drive home, and then do it again the next Sunday. We come to call this group of people that we see in passing once a week our ‘church friends.’ But the relationship we have with them can hardly be called ‘fellowship’ in a biblical sense. These are not the kinds of life-on-life connections we need with each other. God has so much more in mind. We are designed for deep and genuine friendships. The church is meant to be a place of great connection and community with each other.” – Excerpt from Quit Church, by Chris Sonksen
The Bible places a high emphasis on growing deep, meaningful relationships in church. That is a big part of why we humans were put on this earth not to walk through this life alone, but to be in community, and to walk together in every area of life. Christianity is about relationships. God loves us and wants us to love Him and develop a relationship with Him. God also wants us to form meaningful relationships with others. Church is a place where we can experience the amazing gift of healthy, meaningful relationships and be a part of something significant as we serve the purposes of God’s Kingdom together. “A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.” (1 Corinthians 12:7)
The church should be known as a place where great friendships can be found, and where those relationships can develop and flourish. The question is how well are we connecting with people in the church. Social media and technology can give us the impression that we are connecting with people more than we really are. Growing spiritually doesn’t happen when we know what Jesus says. It happens when we apply what he says. Application happens best within the context of community. To grow spiritually, you have to be connected relationally.
If you haven’t already done so, consider joining a small group. Small groups meet regularly to study and get to know each other. Or start serving: When people engage in service, it leads to life change. Whether you serve on a ministry team in our church, in our community, or in the world, God calls us to serve one another.
Examine your life and the relationships you are engaged in and answer the question: Am I really connecting with people or am I just scratching the surface? The way we answer this question could very well give us some insight into how effectively we serve the risen Savior.
- How many relationships do you have with others in your church? Can you see the difference in your life when you’re in healthy relationships in the church versus when you’re not?
- How can you be more effective relationally in your church body?