Let’s Build Churches With Real Relationships!
by Ron Maggard
In a day when most of us have closer friendships on Facebook than we have in our real face to face lives it is little wonder that we have difficulties conveying the profound and eternally significant truths of God’s word to those in our world today. I have become very accomplished at posting something nearly everyday on various social medias. Many of us do that. But does this have an effect upon our abilities to personally interact with others? Are these links, friends and tweets the making for better relationships?
Recently our church in Jupiter, Florida moved again. Costs for rents or to buy are tremendous here. I hope we have moved for the last time, but only God knows. In this move we are a few miles away from where our core membership lives. It is a bit more of a challenge to them to come to the new location and it can be challenging to invite others to come out too. With that in mind, I went to the Word of God to see how I could encourage them with biblical truth concerning how they could better live out their Christianity and do that important job of witnessing.
My studies took me to 1 John 1. As John writes he explains something that I believe is absolutely essential to our Christian lives and to true salvation. He said, we have heard something, seen something, contemplated on something and we have even touched or felt something – that is, the Word of life. They had spent quality time with Jesus!
Today, when you ask people if they know Jesus you may get various answers. It is true that some have seen something about him. Some may have heard something about him. Some may have thought or have some impressions about him. And some have in some experience or another possibly felt something. But few have all these things together like the disciples did. They heard, saw, contemplated and even touched him. John could say, I laid my head on his chest! I was close to him.
With these experiences they could say in verse 3, we have something to declare to you. We have an important message, a life giving message, a message of eternal significance. This is why people listened to them. Their experience of close fellowship with Jesus prepared them to reproduce this fellowship with others. See verse 3: “that you also may have fellowship with us.” This was Jesus’ model for reaching them and making them to be disciples. This was His discipleship. They went out and did what they had learned from Jesus.
Your ministry and witness will never be effective if it is just a casual invitation to come to your church or to hand out a tract or a minute of two at the front door of a neighbor’s house. The paradigm of your effectiveness will change when it is based on your fellowship with Jesus when you can hear from him, see him, think on him and feel him. And your effectiveness as a witness will change when you have a real relationship with someone. Fellowship is important. Then you are ready to declare the message and they will be ready to hear the message. It will make a difference. New Testament era churches were built on this fellowship, on relationship, and churches today must be built in the same way. You can get a crowd and still not have a church. I want a church.