Relationships: Why They Are The Most Neglected But Important Resource In The Church

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Cliff Notes Version!

For the short bullet point version of this post click the button to the right.

I’ve been involved in the church for most of my memorable life and if I had to choose one thing that I’ve seen impact the church the most; it would be relationships.

Now I know, some of you have that small shoulder angel that is saying, “well Brandon, relationships are fine and dandy but the most impactful thing in the church is Christ and His Spirit, so let’s not forget that.”

Yes, your shoulder angel just said “dandy.”

And, I absolutely believe the core of the Church is built on Christ but so often we forget where His heart is in our attempts to be “Christian.”

The Greatest Commandment

We shouldn’t forget that the greatest commandment was two-fold, love God and love people (paraphrased).

I believe it’s impossible, as the church, to do the work of Christ without relationship with Christ.

So often, however, that relationship is seen as something that we do such as going to church, singing during service or helping others.

Love For One Another

All these things are great but scripture is clear, in John, that people will know we are His disciples, not by how Christian we look but instead by how we love one another.

There is beauty in unity.

The Father, Son, and Spirit are in perfect relational unity with one another. If we want to be like Christ then we should be striving for unity in the church.

Unity cannot happen outside of relationship… That’s called conformity, and conformity is a pale replacement for relationship.

The Back Seat

I say all this because relationships seem to take a back seat in our weekly services. We have our 5-minute “meet-and-greet” but if we are honest, how many relationships are really built in 5 minutes where we never say anything more than “how are you” and never expect an answer more than “fine.”

Relationships are like fasteners that hold a house together.

A house cannot be built without some sort of fasteners. Fasteners make the many parts of the house act as one.

Sharing The Load

When a storm blows by the fasteners share the load of the pressures and as one keep the house from blowing apart. When a house is torn apart by storms, it’s typically because at some point a single fastener took too much of the load itself and buckled under the pressure; causing a chain reaction.

As the church, we bear one another’s burdens.

When a storm blows by, we carry the weight together. Relationships are what our fasteners are made of.

Why You Feel Disconnected

I would venture to say most of the time when someone feels disconnected, disappointed or discouraged in the church those emotions can be traced back to a lack of relationship with others in the church.

Relationships help us to bend and work together when times seem tough but they also strengthen the church body in such a way that when working together they provide shelter for others in the storms of their lives.

Relationships matter just as much as sermons, worship, and VBS.

Christians are giving up on the church left and right and the church has never in history had more money, reach, communication and resources than it has right now.
Doing Something

So… What do we do with this information?

My suggestion is to try something.

The church body I serve with has decided to set up a table with small snacks outside the sanctuary after every Sunday service. We have moved the order of service around to give time to build relationships with one another, and it is beautiful.

Something wonderful happens over the tables in our lives. When we eat together, share our stories and struggles we grow as the body of Christ and take small steps into being known for our love for one another.

Saying Hello And Finding Christ

My encouragement to you today is to be intentional about building relationships. You don’t have to say hello to everyone in one day. Start small, use this as an opportunity to be intentional in going to meet that person on the other side of the sanctuary who you have seen for the last 6 months, but know nothing about.

Ask them about their life, where they work, what they like to do for fun and you’ll build the foundation to see Christ through relationship.

Reconnecting

If you feel disconnected with the church, take it on yourself to be intentional on meeting some people you have never met. Don’t be afraid, just go up and say hello. I promise, if you do this enough you will be surprised by how connected you will begin to feel again.

The church has replaced the natural God-given need in us to build community because she has deemed it as not being “holy” or “spiritual” as teachings and worship. Making it where she has literally programmed, sung and taught herself into irrelevancy.

In my opinion, the greatest war of evil against the American church is not one of oppression but one of relationship. Christians are giving up on the church left and right and the church has never in history had more money, reach, communication and resources than it has right now.

Programming Ourselves Into Irrelevancy

So what is the problem?

The church has replaced the natural God-given need in us to build community because she has deemed it as not being “holy” or “spiritual” as teachings and worship. Making it where she has literally programmed, sung and taught herself into irrelevancy.

But it doesn’t have to remain that way.

It Only Takes One

One Christ follower can change this road by simply being willing to walk across the room and say hello.

You can be that type of Christian who is known by how much you love others.

I’ll leave you with this little nugget God showed me last week:

Through teaching the church is edified and equipped. Through worship, the church is encouraged and given room to express our thankfulness but it is only around the table that we grow in our love for one another.

Be Intentional

This coming Sunday be intent on growing in your love for one another. Don’t be afraid to embrace the awkwardness of meeting someone you don’t know. God is this act just as much as He is in anything else.

You are loved, now go give that love to someone else.



B-Points | Cliff Notes Version

1. It’s impossible, as the church, to do the work of Christ without relationship with Christ.

Relationship with Christ is more than just singing a song, listening to a sermon or helping someone. These are all good and worthwhile things but Gods heart is that we will love one another and we can’t really be known for our love for one another if we don’t know anything about each other. That kind of love isn’t very deep and far reaching.

2. Unity cannot happen outside of relationship.

That’s called conformity, and conformity is a pale replacement for relationship.

3. Relationships are like fasteners that hold a house together.

Most of the time when someone feels disconnected, disappointed or discouraged in the church those emotions can be traced back to a lack of relationship with others in the church.

Relationships help us to bend and work together when times seem tough but they also strengthen the church body in such a way that when working together they provide shelter for others in the storms of their lives.

4. If you feel disconnected with the church, be intentional.

I have been blown away by how many people feel disconnected and discouraged in the church. Many leave, many stay and remain disconnected. It doesn’t have to be this way.

If you have felt this way, be intentional about building new relationships. Embrace the awkwardness of asking someone you don’t know what they do for a living, where they are from and what they like to do in their spare time.

What you might find is it’s not as awkward to do as you might think but the lasting relationship that is built from those moments kicks that feeling of disconnection to the curb. People living life together in relationship don’t feel disconnected because relationship is rooted in connection.

5. Relationship building is just as “spiritual” of an act as teaching and worship.

In my opinion, the greatest war of evil against the American church is not one of oppression but one of relationship. Christians are giving up on the church left and right and the church has never in history had more money, reach, communication and resources than it has right now.

So what is the problem?

The church has replaced the natural God-given need in us to build community because she has deemed it as not being as “holy” or “spiritual” as teachings and worship. Making it where she has literally programmed, sung and taught herself into irrelevancy.

6. You can make a difference.

One Christ follower can change this road by simply being willing to walk across the room and say hello. You can be that type of Christian who is known by how much you love others.

I’ll leave you with this: Through teaching the church is edified and equipped. Through worship, the church is encouraged and given room to express our thankfulness but it is only around the table that we grow in our love for one another.