At the same time, as soon as the service is over, we don't stick around to try and meet anyone, we head straight to the car and leave. So it seems kind of pointless to complain or point this out when we don't even make an attempt to meet new members or build up new relationships doesn't it? I've come to a new realization, as the body of Christ grows in a church, meaning that the number of members increases, we tend to begin acting like a high school; umm, say what now? Have you ever noticed that nine times out of ten, the same group of friends will always sit near each other, talk with each other after the service, and kind of avoid going outside of their social circle? This is exactly the kind of behavior that goes on in a high school, how do you think this kind of behavior appears to those who are new visitors; bad right? The exclusion to this rule lies in small churches with less than 25 members or so, because everybody knows everybody and gets along well.
Now, something our church does have that goes on outside of the regular service are meetings in smaller groups, which they've termed life groups. These meetings have a dual purpose to them, giving us a place to continue growing as a Christian and a place to meet with fellow members of Christ. I recently joined one of these groups myself and meet with them once a week on Tuesday nights. The first night I was there, we all kind of palled around for a little while, ate some food and conversed a bit; afterward we watched a short film produced by a pastor who teaches out in Texas. After the film was over we discussed what we thought about it, talked a little longer, and all went our separate ways. Now, the following Sunday, where I was never able to pick out more than one or two people I knew, I could now see this group of guys, pick them out by name, and see how they're involved in the church. That's a huge difference over just going each Sunday and leaving after every service, correct? You begin to feel like your a part of something much bigger than yourself, at least, that's how I feel.
As Christians, we're not called to keep to ourselves, we're called to reach out to other people by spreading the news about Christ; as well as reaching out to one another, especially newer believers! I can give you a perfect example of how the church body should operate, this is exactly what has happened in my life, none of it is fabricated.
After rededicating my life at the beginning of this year and starting to attend church again, which is called Lifepoint, I decided that I would email the pastor of the church. I'd gotten the idea in my head to begin reaching out to others through the Internet and wanted to see if the church could use something like that. Unfortunately, I was informed by the assistant pastor, Aaron (Shout out!), that this area wasn't part of their vision, so he struck up a conversation with me about other things when he could have just left it at that. He suggested a book to me, called Walking with God, which I read cover to cover and got back to him as soon as I had finished. I'm not sure why he felt led to do this, perhaps he was surprised I'd actually read the book, but he offered to meet with me for coffee and get to know me a little better. During this meeting, I actually found we had a bit in common, even a few things from different perspectives in our marriage; which I thought was surprising. The cool part came after the meeting, he decided he'd like to meet with me again so we could continue our conversation; I thought it was awesome just to get to sit down and meet the assistant pastor one on one, I never expected it to happen again. Following our second meeting, which also led to a third, he invited me to join the life group he had started.
Now, here is where the story starts to shift a little bit, which will pick up at the second meeting; I've already told you about the first one. For some reason or another, Aaron couldn't make it, I believe he was busy with a few things at the office; so the assistant leader took over for the night. About half way through, I was called out to share why I was just now joining the group and to talk about my testimony. At first I was a little nervous, I don't really enjoy speaking out around a group of people, but as I continued I was filled with confidence. As the meeting was coming to an end, I was called out again to close in a word of prayer, my reply was "who me"?! I followed through though, closed out in a word of prayer, and headed outside to leave; where I had began to have a conversation with one of the other members of the group, Chris (Shout out!). We talked for a while, had a conversation about what was going on in our lives, when the Lord compelled me to pray, yet again, over Chris and his marriage; at first I pushed the feeling away, but later on gave in and laid hands on him before we went our separate ways for the night. I can remember getting in my car grinning from ear to ear, although it felt weird to pray over someone else out loud and in person, it also felt amazing and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Fast forward to this past Tuesday, we were supposed to be meeting again when Aaron voted we go ahead and cancel our meetings until the next group of meetings starts back up; keep in mind I've only attended two meetings after just being invited, so I was a little disappointed. After kind of pointing this out to everyone, Chris offered to meet with me on our own terms and continue learning together. It sounds good in theory, but we wouldn't have a plan for what to study, and it would be kind of awkward to sit there and just read from the Bible then talk about it; I mean we could, but it just seems a little odd to me I guess, not saying it's a bad idea. Upon having this feeling, I was reminded of the three times I had spent with Aaron out at the coffee shop, so I offered this suggestion to Chris as well as everyone else in the group. As of this moment, I've only been talking to Chris, but you never know when other people may contact me and ask to meet with me sometime in the near future.
Here's the point which I'm trying to get across to you, when you become a Christian and you're seeking to grow and mature in your spirituality/relationship with God, there comes a point when you must go beyond just seeking knowledge; you must begin reaching out to other believers and non-believers alike. To give you biblical proof of this, in Acts chapter 14, at the end of the chapter, Paul and Barnabas return to the cities which they had already taught at. Sure they went back in hopes of reaching more people and possibly to replenish their supplies, but they also returned to continue teaching their fellow believers and to also set elders in places of leadership in the church; this was done so that the newer believers would have someone more mature and knowledgeable to turn to and seek as a godly example. If men of God such as Paul and Barnabas, two apostles who did amazing things in their time, spent much of their time reaching out to fellow believers, should we not also do the same thing?
I would challenge you to do this, next time you're at church, approach someone you've never spoken with before and at least learn their name; start small and work your way up to reaching out in larger ways. If you enjoyed this article feel free to share it with whoever you'd like, there are share buttons located at the top of each page. Feel free to leave me a comment or some feedback below, also, please consider voting me up with a plus one.
To continue reading about the Lord, consider reading Writers Block and Faith in God!
Thank you and God Bless!