How Relational Is Your Church?

Key Questions for Thom Rainer:

– Why don’t pastors realize how unwelcoming their churches are?
– What are some of the most common reasons why guests don’t return to a church?
– What do guests like to see when they visit a church?
– Can a church be too friendly?

https://churchleaders.com/podcast/325070-thom-rainer-how-relational-is-your-church.html

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How Relational Is Your Church?

https://churchleaders.com/podcast/325070-thom-rainer-how-relational-is-your-church.html

The need of community

A devotional reading today stated:

“Since my need for spiritual health is so great, the Bible teaches that I need that daily intervention of the body of Christ.” ~ David Tripp, New Morning Mercies

 

It really is true––your walk with God is a community project. The isolated, separated, loaner, Jesus–and–me religion that often marks the modern church culture is not the religion that is described in the New Testament. Many of us live virtually unknown, and many other people whom we think we know we don’t actually know. Many of them many of us live in endless networks of determinedly casual relationships, in which conversation seldom go deeper then weather, food, play politics, the coolest movie that’s out, or the latest cute thing your child did. Most of what we call fellowship never really rises to the level of the humble self–disclosure and mutual ministry that make fellowship actually read definitely worthwhile. Most of what we call fellowship is little different from what happens at the pub down the street. We should call it “pubship” and tell people that they don’t have to worry, there will be little fellowship at the church dinner.
Hebrews 3:12–13 addresses via essentiality of community to the work that God has done and is continuing to do and you and me: “ Take care brothers, let’s there be any of you and evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘Today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”
Why do I need the daily intervention of the body of Christ? The answer is as simple as it is humbling. I need this daily ministry because I am a blind man. As much as I would like to think that I see I know myself well, it just isn’t true. Because sin blinds made to me, as long as there is still sin  inside me there will be pockets of blindness in my view of me. It is actually more serious than what I have just described, because whereas every physical blind man knows that he is blind, spiritually blind people are blind to their blindness; they actually think I can see, when in fact they don’t.

Book: The Compelling Community

https://www.truthforlife.org/store/products/books-and-booklets/the-compelling-community/?src=18AISPDF1

10 Benefits Of Church Small Groups

If you’ve never been part of a church small group, or have been part of a group that was unhelpful, it might be difficult to appreciate their draw. Indeed, the case for small groups is often overstated, as in, “small groups are really where church happens.” To equate small groups with church is to miss Scripture’s emphasis on elder-led (1 Tim. 1:5) Word and sacrament (Rom. 10:14; 1 Cor. 11:17–34), and corporate worship practiced by a distinct congregation (Heb. 10:25).

Orlando Saer puts it well: “The basic ‘unit’ of the church is the church itself, not some subdivision of it.” Small groups are not the essence of the church.

But without something like a small group ministry, it can be difficult for Christians to reflect the biblical pattern of communal life. Again, Saer is helpful: “Small groups can be a very helpful means of achieving ends which certainly are demanded by the Bible of Christian churches.” The Bible does not demand “house churches.” But there is an undeniable beauty in church members meeting publicly as well as in homes (Acts 20:20; Rom. 16:5). Christ’s followers break bread together as a united family in the Eucharist and as smaller groups around tables where common life happens (Acts 2:46–47).

There are many reasons why small group fellowship meetings have been an important part of Christian experience throughout the ages.

1. Discipleship

Small groups provide opportunities for believers to learn from each other as they apply the gospel within the intimacy of relationships (Titus 2:1–8). “Who is Jesus?” (cf. Matt. 16:15) is critical to hear from the pulpit. But we also need friends to help us wrestle through that question face to face. We need people who are willing to get to know us so they can help us walk with Christ more faithfully (Acts 18:24–26).

More at: https://corechristianity.com/resource-library/articles/10-benefits-of-church-small-groups

If Paul Needed Friends, So Do We

https://churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-articles/320414-paul-needed-friends-tony-merida.html

12 Principles For Disagreeing With Other Christians

1. Welcome those who disagree with you (Rom. 14:1–2).

Concerning any area of disagreement on third-level matters [i.e., disputable issues that shouldn’t cause disunity in the church family], a church will have two groups: (1) those who are “weak in faith” (14:1) on that issue and (2) those “who are strong” (15:1). The weak in faith have a weak conscience on that matter, and the strong in faith, a strong conscience.

Don’t forget that “faith” here refers not to saving faith in Christ (14:22a makes that clear) but to the confidence a person has in their heart or conscience to do a particular activity, such as eat meat (14:2). The weak person’s conscience lacks sufficient confidence (i.e., faith) to do a particular act without self-judgment, even if that act is actually not a sin. To him, it would be a sin.

What this means is that you are responsible for obeying both Paul’s exhortations to the weak and his exhortations to the strong, since (1) there are usually people on either side of you on any given issue and (2) you yourself likely have a stronger conscience on some issues and a weaker conscience on others. This brings us to Paul’s second principle when Christians disagree on scruples.

2. Those who have freedom of conscience must not look down on those who don’t (Rom. 14:3–4).

The strong, who have freedom to do what others cannot do, are tempted to look down on and despise those who are more strict. They may say, “Those people don’t understand the freedom we have in Christ. They’re not mature like us! They’re legalistic. All they think about are rules.” Paul condemns this attitude of superiority.

Read on: https://corechristianity.com/resource-library/articles/12-principles-for-disagreeing-with-other-christians