For all the above stated reasons, it is incumbent upon us to foster relationships for all members of our churches. Perhaps the most important ministry in any church is the ministry of connecting members to one another, or to put it another way, to build relationships in which ALL members can grow.
For all their faults and weaknesses, the earliest disciples conquered any situation by falling back on their relationships. That’s why the most important thing a Bible study class leader can do is see to it that every member is involved with other members. In so many situations we do not know anything about all our fellow class members. That was certainly true in the class I teach, until I took steps to correct the situation. I doubt seriously if many in our class knew that we had three PhD’s in the class. That represented about 10% of our attending membership. These people were strong scholars in their chosen field, but most of our class did not know it. So, I started a program of taking a few minutes before each teaching session to allow our members to introduce themselves to the rest of the class and we got to hear their “stories”.
Part of having a relationship that is meaningful is knowing about the persons involved.
On a broader scale, church members should know about other members, So, one way to make that possible is to give opportunity to tell their “How I came to Jesus” story in a personal testimony sometime during the service. Just having one story a week would be helpful, or one story in each service. It is difficult to get to know people until you know some of what made them who they are.
We learn from the writings of the early church fathers that relationships can help us through hard times. At least it did the early church members. They often fell back on the support of their comrades in the faith when the going got hard. Faith in God and the support of fellow members will go a long ways towards helping us out of the hard times in life. But, it is hard to rely ion the support of fellow Christians if you do not have a relationship that makes it possible.
So, my word today is help your church members relate to their fellow members. Build mini-families within the membership. These little “family” groups are the b5read and butter of a church. Without them there is only the shallowness of the worship experience on a lonely seat in the sanctuary.