Three years ago, I wrote a post called “Relationships and Ministry.” I think this post goes well with my focus on edification this week. By the way, the young man in my story below did find a group of believers to spend more time with, and we also managed to maintain contact and fellowship with him. He moved out of state not too long ago, and we still keep up with him and see him from time to time.
A young man who is a part of our fellowship recently told me that he was having trouble building relationships. He lives about 30 minutes away from others in our fellowship. Several of us suggested that he look for a group of believers who live closer to him.
Why would we do that? Do we want to break fellowship with him? Absolutely not! And, we are not breaking fellowship with him at all. Don’t we care about growing the church? Certainly! But, we recognize that we will not grow the church. Only Christ will grow the church. Why would we suggest that someone meet with other believers?
First, we recognize that the Christian life is designed by God to be lived in fellowship with other believers. This cannot happen for this young man if he only meets with his Christian brothers and sisters for a couple of hours on Sunday. This is not fellowship… this is attendance. There is a difference. We desire more for this young man and for all brothers and sisters in Christ. We desire to see all believers developing real relationships (maturing relationships) with other believers.
So, I saw this young man a couple of days ago. He has had a great time getting to know some Christian men who live near him. Besides spending time with them, he has also started ministering to his community with them. They are playing basketball at a local partk, getting to know some of the other young men there, and sharing Scripture with them.
What a joy to see real ministry (both to the church and to those outside the church) growing out of fellowship with other believers!