Last week, I published a post called “What do you want to talk about?” In that post, I asked my readers what topics (related to the church) they would like to discuss.
In some ways, I was surprised at the responses in the comments. Usually, when I ask a question like that, I hear responses like “elders/pastors/leaders,” “the Lord’s Supper,” “church discipline,” “preaching/sermons,” etc.
But, the responses that I got this time were quite different:
“I’m just wondering if other believers are as discouraged and concerned about the decay of real community and fellowship even in the churches small group settings?” -from Glenn
“Maybe some concrete examples, suggestions, and tips on how to build relationships and friendships with people in our community, …especially when you live in a new area and don’t know anyone.” -from Jeremy
“I would be interested in hearing stories of how others are going about making disciples in their neighborhoods.” -from Mark
“Open fellowship is great, and the Lord does work sovereignly in that context, but there seems to be a difference when the headship of Christ is collectively sought. I’d love to hear your thoughts on how that can be more intentionally pursued and lived in by a body of believers.” -from David
Did you catch the common theme? Relationships. But, I think each of these commenters would agree that they are not interested in just any relationships. They are interested in relationships which are centered on Jesus Christ.
So, how do we pursue relationships with one another while continuing to pursue Jesus Christ together? What if we do not know anyone in our area (perhaps we are new to the area)? How do foster those relationships into mutually discipling relationships (or is that automatic if our relationships are centered in Jesus Christ)?
I think these are good questions – much better than the questions that I usually see people asking about the church. I think these are foundational questions. And, I also think that if we do not seek these kinds of relationships (centered in Jesus Christ), then it doesn’t really matter how we answer the earlier questions about elders/pastors, the Lord’s Supper, etc.
Relationships are easy to discuss on a theoretical level. But, in reality, they’re much harder to live. They’re messy. How we share our lives with one another (or don’t share our lives with one another) is a very good indicator of our relationship with God, however.
So, I’m glad that my readers are interested in discussing real relationships with one another which are centered on Jesus Christ. It’s a scary topic however…